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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2014 Suriname: Increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene in Suriname’s rural interior



Author: B r e a n n a R i d s d e l

Executive summary

Background:

This review was contracted by the Ministry of Natural Resources of Suriname, in partnership with the Ministry for Regional Development and UNICEF Suriname. The objectives of the review as specified in the Terms of Reference were to assess the effectiveness and impact of the Government of Suriname and UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program on improving access to improved water and sanitation facilities and on good hygiene practices and WASH management in the communities in the interior of Suriname; and documentation of the positive outcomes of the program for children. 
The review focused around five key areas of inquiry:   Community ownership and understanding of responsibilities in target villages  Functioning water supply systems and sanitation facilities  Hygiene and behavior changes strategies and practices  National ownership and engagement  Areas of needs in the communities with recommendation for future WASH input
The Appreciative Inquiry methodology  Appreciative Inquiry was used as the primary methodology for the review. Appreciative inquiry is a qualitative assessment technique that combines open ended investigation with valuing. It is a strengths-based approach, and therefore seeks to draw out the best of what is and what could be.  The principle behind the use of this technique as a method of evaluation is that to achieve our development goals, we must move beyond focusing on challenges and build on our achievements. This requires a conscious mind shift away from the cyclical repetition of ‘problems’ and towards the discourse of successes and solutions.

Purpose/Objective:

The key objectives: is to review and document experiences of the implementation of the WASH program in the 16 isolated villages so to support the government (the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Regional Development) in the future investment in improving water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in the interior of Suriname.

The review will focus on the effectiveness and impact of the WASH Programme on improving access to improved water and sanitation facilities, good hygiene practices and WASH management in the communities in terms of:

  • Community ownership and understanding of responsibility (in 15 villages)
  • Functioning water supply systems and sanitation facilities
  • Hygiene and behavior changes strategies and practices
  • National ownership and engagement
  • Areas of needs in the communities with recommendation for future WASH input

Methodology:

Appreciative Inquiry was used as the primary methodology for the review. Appreciative inquiry is a qualitative assessment technique that combines open ended investigation with valuing. It is a strengths-based approach, and therefore seeks to draw out the best of what is and what could be. 
The principle behind the use of this technique as a method of evaluation is that to achieve our development goals, we must move beyond focusing on challenges and build on our achievements. This requires a conscious mind shift away from the cyclical repetition of ‘problems’ and towards the discourse of successes and solutions.

Findings and Conclusions:

The participatory methodology of the WASH project resulted in high levels of participation, community ownership, and active contributions from communities to achieve WASH objectives. This way of working, although time-intensive, was critical to achieving high quality, culturally appropriate results. Another related good practice was building relationships and keeping open channels for regular, two-way communication between villages and implementing partners.  In addition, involving communities in the planning process in several cases led to innovative solutions to problems through ideas proposed by the villages.
The evidence from the review showed the positive impacts of investing in villages’ knowledge and skills to further their own improvements to sanitation and hygiene. The success of this was bolstered by the use of specially developed, culturally appropriate training materials.  As part of the participatory methodology of this project, local people were actively placed in leadership roles and empowered to drive the process forward in their own villages. The WASH program successfully forged new partnerships between UNICEF Suriname, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Regional Development, and participating villages. These relationships now form a platform upon which future work in water, sanitation and hygiene can be undertaken.

Recommendations:

Develop a real-time monitoring/reporting system for improved rural water system maintenance;  Identify options for appropriate, cost-effective, water-efficient latrine designs suited to the conditions in the interior;  Identify the best options and strategies to address WASH needs in schools, including menstrual hygiene;   Develop communications strategies, messages and materials to promote WASH behavior change and to motivate communities to take action to address hygiene and sanitation needs;  Continue to support child-friendly education campaigns for WASH and help build children’s resilience to the impacts of climate change;  Develop a National Sanitation Policy and plan for how to improve rural sanitation and hygiene and eliminate the practice of open defecation in Suriname;  Conduct a mapping exercise to determine which Ministries, partners or NGOs are working where in the interior and look for ways to integrate community led WASH into their existing programming;  Work with communities to identify risks and develop climate change adaptation strategies to help the country’s most vulnerable people build resilience.

Lessons Learned:

There is a very high cost associated with building infrastructure in the rural interior. Future WASH interventions should take this into account in the proposal and planning phases in order to avoid delays in implementation. Greater cost efficiencies could be achieved by  re-using the methods and materials developed by this project, integrating WASH within other rural development initiatives and service delivery in other sectors, sourcing materials and labor locally, and by increasing community or household contributions. To achieve the latter, public information and social marketing campaigns could be used to increase self-initiative to address sanitation and hygiene, accompanied by practical guidance on different options and costs.  Participating villages in this project understood that if they produced community action plans, these plans would be funded, and they committed time and labor under this expectation. The subsequent unavailability of funds for water systems construction caused a sense of disappointment in target villages and loss of faith in the partnership. Greater transparency around project budgets and operational constraints at the outset of projects would have helped communities to produce action plans within financial limitations, and clearer communication around subsequent timelines and resource constraints would have helped to mitigate the risk of damage to the relationship. Working with communities could also be improved by: holding special consultations with women only; taking into account seasonal calendars, especially when working with women; holding trainings in villages; and providing guidance on financial manage



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Report information

Year:
2014

Country:
Suriname

Region:
LACRO

Theme:
Water and Environmental Sanitation (WES)

Type:
Evaluation

Partners:
Ministry of Natural Resources

Language:
English

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