2000 RWA: Evaluation of the Government of Rwanda - UNICEF Water and Environmental Sanitation Programme
Author: Osodo P.; Rwamugema H. Regional Centre for Development Management and Research; Industrial Innovation Maintenance and Consulting Services
The genesis of the WES Programme can be traced to a number of specific country events and situations:
- The 1994 civil war and genocide, which resulted in the destruction of most of the pre-existing water and sanitation infrastructure in the country and a massive dislocation of needed human capacities, and a subsequent emergency restoration intervention, which placed little emphasis on the sustainability of restored systems
- The new government policies of decentralization and group resettlement which, respectively, shifted the greater responsibility for development management to the regions and relocated populations on hill tops and along the roads and new schools, making access to existing water facilities, located at the valley bottoms, very difficult, particularly for women and children
- Assessed inadequate access to potable water and sanitation facilities and low levels of improved hygiene and environmental sanitation knowledge and practice in rural Rwanda
Joint consultations led to a three-year Bridging Programme, seeking to improve access to Safe Water and Environment Sanitation Facilities in 66 Communes, which was formally launched in 1997.
Purpose / Objective
In line with the M&E framework of the WES programme, a final end-of-project evaluation was carried out in the third year of project implementation.
- Taking into account the fact that access to safe water is a human right, analyze the role of government, communes and WES committees in promoting improved access to safe water, hygiene and environmental sanitation services
- Analyze to what extent the provision, management and maintenance system of community-based WES facilities were achieved
- Assess the level of community contributions and ownership towards project management and sustainability
- Assess the level of women participation in the planning and management of WES project
- Analyze the impact of the WES project on the status of children and women in targeted areas
- Assess the impact of the WES project on the status of Women and Children
- Analyze the effectiveness, relevance and functioning of the WES Committees
- Formulate recommendations on the relevance of the WES project during the new country Programme 2001 to 2006
- Propose the tools for internal monitoring of the project
- Determine the relevance of WES in the new Country Programme 2001-2006
The evaluation focused on the performance and impact of the Government of Rwanda-UNICEF Water and Environmental Sanitation (WES) Bridging Programme implemented in 66 of Rwanda's 154 Communes during the period 1997-2000. It entailed process and performance assessments in selected 10 communes of 4 Prefectures with completed and on-going WES Projects.
A broad range of methods and tools were applied. These included:
- National level interviews with departmental directors, staff of UNICEF, NGOs, Bilateral and Multi-lateral Aid agencies
- Regional level interviews and discussions with prefecture authorities, commune leaders and communities (users). Specific methods employed here included focus group and SWOT Analysis discussions, structured questionnaires and interviews with individual opinion leaders
- Visits to, and interviews with, local health center staff
- Household and source water sample tests
- Secondary data and information analysis
Key Findings and Conclusions
Overall, the evaluation concludes that the goals and targets set for both the Provision and Management of Community-based WES facilities under the WES Bridging Programme were too ambitious to be accomplished over the designated three-year implementation period. The goals and targets were subsequently only partially realized. The Programme is assessed under-achieved in terms of the total number of WES Projects completed.
However, a consideration of all implementation and management elements and factors leads to the conclusion that significant establishment and development achievements were realized. In the areas where the WES projects have been completed, the objective of improving access to potable water is assessed as well achieved. The greatest achievement of the WES Programme consists perhaps in the strengthening of the local capacity for operation, maintenance and management of water infrastructure and related services. The training and equipping of a wide range of government- and community-delegated personnel in nearly all designated WES Project areas, the establishment and development of the local self-management system of the Regie Associative, and the associated cost-recovery system have not only had the immediate effect of improving the delivery of water services at the commune level, but also provided a needed capacity base whose further development and consolidation should greatly enhance the execution and impact of this service in future. While still nascent in many areas, the establishment of the Regie Associative Management System is clearly a major success of the decentralized, community self-management experience and the WES Bridging Programme in Rwanda. Over the short period of its existence, one can technically and, in real terms, talk of local self-management and people paying for water and receiving related services at the commune and community level. These developments offer hope for eventual, complete local ownership and successful commercial management of rural WES infrastructure.
While these achievements speak well for the delivery of water services, examined evidence across all the 10 Communes evaluated lead to the conclusion that the hygiene and environment sanitation improvement component of the WES Programme was not effectively implemented, and yielded little, effective impact. The reasons behind the weak performance of this component consist in the lack of an effective organizational and institutional framework for implementing this component consistently and sustainably on the ground, the lack of a sound policy guide, and the weak technical and participatory education and extension capacities among implementing agencies. Consequently, diarrhoeal and other water- and hygiene-related disease conditions rank among the major causes of morbidity and mortality in the ten WES communes evaluated, with children aged below five years particularly adversely affected.
Broadly, three factors emerge as the major causes for the overall inadequate performance and impact of the WES Bridging Programme:
1. Weak overall coordination and stewardship by the WES Project Coordination Committee and the Project Coordination Office at national level - This weakness resulted in systemically weak organizational and institutional arrangements and capacities among implementing agencies and institutions.
2. A weak Funding base, less than 50% of the envisaged funding level - The major causes for this weak base were threefold: the prevalent notion of adequate national WES coverage, which seems to have depressed donor interest in the sector; the unresolved question of counterpart funding to WES from Government; and the non-monitoring of implementing agencies to ascertain that they meet their financial and operational obligations as spelt out in the Protocols (contracts) of agreement with them. 3. Weak post-training and post-establishment monitoring and consolidated advisory support to implementing institutions on the ground
Strengthening and consolidating the still nascent implementation and management bases, and critically addressing the above three issues are clearly the way forward in terms of improving both the delivery and impact of WES services in rural Rwanda. With respect to hygiene and environmental sanitation improvement, effective intervention is going to have to address both the question of ways to reduce morbidity among the under-five year old children and the improvement of the organizational and institutional foundations and mechanisms for effective implementation and management on the ground. Sharing and cross-fertilization of experiences and lessons of best practice is seen as an important element of the 2001-2006 Government-UNICEF Country Programme development. In this regard, such tools as newsletters, electronic forums (a website or list-serve) and joint stakeholder workshops to share lessons and best development practices will clearly play a big part in enhancing overall WES Project performance and impact during the new Country Programme.
As an overall recommendation with respect to the implementation and management of the WES Programme, the evaluation report suggests the following implementation and management scenarios, pillared on the assessed need to decentralize WES Project implementation, management and ownership:
Implementation and Management Scenario One:
A Project Steering Committee working with a restructured Project coordination office and a restructured, fully functional, decentralized Project Support Unit comprising personnel from government, and reconstituted implementation and management teams at commune level. The thrust of this revised framework will be on ensuring full local involvement, management and ownership through a decentralized implementation and management structure.
Implementation and Management Scenario Two:
A Project Steering Committee working with an independent, fully established PROJECT Coordination and Support UNIT (PCSU) at the National level, with a functional Project support team at Prefecture level and fully restructured implementation and management units at commune and community levels. While also enhancing and deepening decentralized WES implementation, management and ownership, the core advantage of this option is seen in the guaranteed effective management of both the processes of, and the impact due to, development and improvement of interventions and activities.
Full report in PDF
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