The Sustainable Operation and Maintenance Project for Rural Water Supply (SOMAP) in Zambia
Contact: Juichiro Sahara, Advisor, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan,
Sustainable Operation and Maintenance Project for Rural Water Supply (SOMAP) is the project under
Ministry of Local Government, Housing, Early Education and Environmental Protection (MLGHEEEP) of
Zambia supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). SOMAP spearheads the Operation
and Maintenance (O&M) Component of National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme
(NRWSSP) to reduce downtime (time between breakdown and repair) of hand pumps by introducing
O&M mechanisms (SOMAP O&M model) at district and sub-district level. Although “SOMAP” started as
the name attached to the specific support from JICA to MLGH, it should be highlighted that it is
nowadays more recognised as the name for the national approach to establish and implement O&M
mechanisms under the O&M component of NRWSSP.
In 2004 JICA conducted the Follow-up Study on hand pumps constructed by JICA between 1986 and
1997, to identify the conditions of hand pumps. Results of the study showed that 81% was functioning
and providing safe water to communities. However, it also indicated many issues to be tackled in order
to assure sustainable O&M of hand pumps. Based on this study, the Government of Republic of Zambia
(GRZ) requested JICA for technical cooperation to establish O&M mechanisms so that existing hand
pumps will be maintained appropriately by the stakeholders. In response, JICA supported MLGHEEEP to
implement Sustainable Operation and Maintenance Project for Rural Water Supply (SOMAP) which
aimed to establish sustainable O&M mechanisms.
SOMAP (2005 ~ 2007) was implemented in Monze District (Southern Province) and Mumbwa District
(Central Province), with a goal to shorten downtime of hand pumps as well as improve operational rate
of hand pump in rural areas. Also within the two districts, spare parts supply chain was established by
providing a bulk of spare parts as the seed stock to start the revolving system for sustainable supply
chain. Further, relevant stakeholders (including Area Pump Menders (APM)) at different levels were
sensitised and trained accordingly. In 2007, GRZ officially launched NRWSSP, where SOMAP O&M model
officially became the bases for the O&M activities of rural water supply.
SOMAP2 (2007 ~ 2010) aimed to refine SOMAP O&M model along with necessary manuals and to
disseminate the model to other districts. SOMAP2 directly assisted 4 Districts in Central Province as well
as to monitor Monze and Mumbwa District for further review, refinement and dissemination. SOMAP2
provided technical support in planning and designing O&M mechanisms with various manuals.
Under NRWSSP, GRZ is rolling out SOMAP O&M model to entire country until 2015. To continue to
support this, JICA is implementing “the Project Support in National Roll-out of Sustainable Operation
and Maintenance Programme (SOMAP3, 2011 ~2015)”. In SOMAP3, the project will directly support 4
Districts of Luapula Province to establish the O&M model. Further, the project will review the past
performance and improve the manuals and guidelines and assist the country-wide rollout by supporting
every Provincial Support Team (PST), which is the governmental organization responsible for provincial
level implementation of SOMAP O&M Model.
Description of the Case Study – Approach or technology
The SOMAP O&M model consists of establishment of five O&M mechanisms described below. The
package of activities and outputs which could facilitate the establishment of the mechanisms is
identified and compiled in manuals so that District Local Authorities (DLAs) can develop their own O&M
action plans by combining these activities and outputs considering each situation. Therefore, SOMAP
O&M model refers to this approach of DLAs developing and implementing their own O&M action plans
to realise five O&M mechanisms at district and sub-district level by utilising the package of activities and
outputs to guide them.
1.Community Contribution and Management Mechanism
This mechanism is to secure 100 % cost contribution on O&M by communities. The DLAs and relevant
stakeholders and committees will collect and manage community O&M funds through trainings and
community sensitisation. Communal bank account management could be considered and introduced as
alternative ways to manage O&M funds.
2.Supply Chain of Spare Parts
This mechanism is to establish supply chain of spare parts at district level to improve accessibility of
spare parts. Building adequate institutional framework of management of spare parts shop, provision of
seed stock spare parts, and developing skills to properly manage the sales and replenishment of the
parts are covered under this mechanism.
This mechanism is to develop and sustain a repair work system to monitor and reduce downtime of
hand pumps. The APMs are trained on their roles and responsibilities, and the unified repair fee to be
paid to APMs is introduced to establish adequate relationship among district and community level
4.O&M Tools Management
This mechanism is to properly distribute and manage tool kits for repair work at sub-district level by
introducing rules and guidelines. The rules cover the registration of tool kits, collection of tool kit user
fee from APMs and management of user fee for possible replenishment of tools.
This mechanism establishes monitoring system for O&M activities. Bottom up approach is
recommended where (i) APMs submit the repair work forms to relevant committees each time they
conduct the repair works, (ii) the committees submit quarterly report to DLAs, and (iii) DLAs compile
the data based on the repair work forms and reports. DLAs will need to provide adequate feed backs to
committees based on the reports submitted by them.
To realize the mechanisms, the rollout involves 3 stages of implementation described below.
First Stage: Planning Stage
The main output of this stage is the formulation of O&M action plan, which consists of Activity Plan,
Plan of Operation (PO) and Budget Plan, to be submitted by DLAs. Activity Plan is designed in a form of
logical framework so that required sets of activities and outputs are shared among stakeholders. Activity
Plan should be supplemented with Plan of Operation (Gantt chart) so that process of implementation
can be monitored by all stakeholders. Each input designed under Activity Plan should indicate the
required budget details, which should be in detail, based on quotations or actual expenditures in the
Second Stage: Implementation
Based on approved O&M action plan, those activities will be carried out under during the Second
Stage. The entire process of Second Stage is based on on-the-job training for district stakeholders. The
main objective of Second Stage is to establish the five O&M mechanisms.
Third Stage: Review and Plan
After first round of implementation, this is the stage when DLAs will request for new budget to
continue the activities through the Annual Activity and Budget Plan. To make the budget request, DLAs
should prepare detailed O&M action plan for the next year, which illustrate activities, schedule and
required amount of funds, based on the past experience.
Main results and lessons learnt
Some of the major results of SOMAP are (i) establishment of SOMAP O&M model in Monze District
and Mumbwa District, (ii) implementation of SOMAP O&M model in Central Province, and (iii)
dissemination of SOMAP O&M model to other districts and donors. Within these results, there are
specific outputs such as improved availability of spare parts, regular repair service by the APMs,
capacity development of DLAs to plan and implement the model on their own, just to name a few.
The lessons learned from the past two SOMAP are explained below.
Timing of procurement of tool kits and spare parts and development of critical path for O&M
Regarding the four Districts under SOMAP2, the establishment of O&M mechanisms was slow due to
the delay of procurement of tool kits and seed stock for spare parts, although most of the other
activities were implemented timely and appropriately. This is because one mechanism affects the
establishment of entire mechanism, since all mechanisms are dependent on each other. It can be
concluded that timing of procurement of tool kits and seed stock needs to be well planned and
implemented at the earliest stage of O&M mechanism establishment. It is also important for DLAs to
develop critical path before they finalise O&M action plan so as to come up with the most appropriate
sequence of activities to realise the synergy effect of O&M mechanisms.
Rollout approach of O&M mechanisms within the District
During the evaluation of SOMAP2, it was observed that that series of activities for establishing O&M
mechanisms were not always consistently implemented within the same areas. For example, a DLA
conducted “water, sanitation, hygiene and education (WASHE)” training in one ward while conducting
area’s development committee training in another ward, leaving both wards experiencing only one of
the trainings. This leaves future challenges from the point of view of (i) realising equal impact of five
O&M mechanisms, (ii) efficient monitoring of targeted areas under different trainings, and (iii) cost
efficiency of mobilisation for conducting various activities. DLAs need to carefully plan the areas and
activities from the above points of view.
Peer learning among District Local Authorities
The Council officers in charge of O&M activities from Mumbwa District actively played the roles of
facilitators for newly introduced four Districts of SOMAP2 by sharing their approaches, experiences and
challenges. The Mumbwa DLA’s experiences did not only stimulate commitment and ownership, but
also brought learning and insights for improvement to Mumbwa DLA as well. As the rollout of SOMAP
model continues, peer learning opportunities among DLAs should be further sought and effectively
Conclusions and Recommendations
Although there are some challenges such as timing of procurement, budget allocations and capacities
of stakeholders in district, SOMAP, so far, is evaluated as (i) totally being aligned to NRWSSP and has
made significant contributions to support the establishment, (ii) appropriately designed with guiding
documents such as manuals and guidelines, (iii) having high potentials of reaching target of operation
rate of hand pumps, (vi) having good coordination and harmonization with other donors, and etc.
The recommendations for further rollout and establishment of SOMAP O&M model, especially for
SOMAP3, are described below.
Benchmarks to assess the level of progress in establishing O&M mechanism
To properly assess and compare the level of progress of O&M mechanisms within and among DLAs,
benchmarks to readily determine the level of progress in establishing the mechanisms are necessary.
This is particularly important for the MLGHEEEP and PSTs to render appropriate support to DLAs and to
monitor the progress as the rollout of SOMAP O&M model continues to more Districts, when they are
setting goals for annual O&M action plans and confirming the status of their achievements.
Continuous refinement of SOMAP O&M model
Even though SOMAP O&M Model is a nationally accepted approach, it is recommended that the
model be continuously refined based on current discussions among stakeholders and their experiences.
Below are aspects that should be considered for improvement.
Updating of existing sensitisation tools for communities to nourish their willingness to pay
Development of selection criteria for APMs and strategy for appropriate allocation of APMs
Incorporation of preventive maintenance
Development of better mobilisation measures for APMs
Adjustment of appropriate stock level of spare parts and its calculation formula
O&M component work plan
After two SOMAPs, SOMAP O&M model and guiding documents were established and they are
utilized to roll out the model. However, there should be a detailed work plan for the national rollout,
which will be used as a road map of O&M component. The work plan may consist of logical framework,
implementation schedule and budget estimation so that implementation agencies can realistically roll
out SOMAP O&M model in different Districts.
Name of Lead Author: Mr. Juichiro Sahara Name of Second Author:
Email: Sahara.Juichiro@jica.go.jp Email: