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Action Research on Scaling Up Community Managed Water and Sanitation Project:
                  The Researchers, Training and the Research Agenda
                                           Plan Ethiopia
                                              July 2004

  Practitioners expressed a pressing need for concrete suggestions about addressing many of the
  obstacles to scaling up, particularly those related to generating political consensus and
  overcoming resistance of implementing organisations. The best practice literature gives scant
  attention to such challenges, while the prescriptive literature was too general to be of practical
  use. Developing a series of case studies that focus on issues of scalability – including candid and
  detailed discussion of both successful and failed strategies – would be a valuable contribution
  toward helping existing initiatives reach more communities – Davis, J. and Iyer, P. (2002) Taking
  Sustainable Rural Water Supply Services to Scale: A Discussion Paper. Washington DC: World
  Bank Water and Sanitation Program, p. 24.


  The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for water supply and sanitation have
  put many developing countries for an immense task: to reduce by half the
  proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and
  sanitation by 2015. This means that coverage has to be increased dramatically
  and in a speed unknown so far. But it is not only coverage that needs to be
  increased. The sustainability of implemented water and sanitation systems must
  be ensured to be able to deliver water and sanitation services not for the lifetime
  of a project or a system, but indefinitely. These are the two goals of “scaling up
  community management of rural water supply and sanitation”.

  Community management has become the main model for implementing water
  and sanitation services in rural areas. Most donors are using the model in their
  projects and many governments now have taken up community management as
  the preferred option for rural water and sanitation service delivery.
Community management has proven to be a successful and effective model for
water and sanitation provision, but it also has its problems and constraints.
Community managed water and sanitation systems are vulnerable. They are
vulnerable to a range of technical but most importantly social constraints. Water
committees lack capacities, trained committee members or operators leave the
community and are not replaced, the community is not a unity, women and
marginal groups are excluded from decision making and water use, technologies
are too complicated, spare parts are hard to find, there is not transparency in
book keeping and decision making, financial resources are misused. Some
communities do a god job, even years after system completion, but many
communities struggle with their water management tasks.

For true sustainability, for ensuring a continuous water flow form the tap,
communities managing their water and sanitation services need support. It is not
fair, not effective and a disinvestment to leave communities on their own after
handing over the newly implemented water and sanitation system. Support
should come from what is often called an enabling environment. From favourable
policies, translated in legislation and rules and procedures. But it should foremost
come from the administrative level in between the national government being
responsible for policies and legislation and the community. This so-called
intermediate level – so crucial in decentralisation - has different names and
shapes in different countries: district, local government, municipality, ward,
department etc. It is the level closest to the community that is the focal point for
flexible support to community managed water and sanitation services. It is also
the level that often lacks major capacities.

Institutional support mechanisms, policies, legislation, proper monitoring and
capacity building, these are all elements of a water and sanitation service to rural
people. The service ensures sustainable water provision, equitable water provision
and water provision to all. That is much more then putting in place infrastructure.

Communities are the preferred managers of such a service, but they can only do
a good job if these elements have been taken care of and support is in place.
Within such framework both sustainability and coverage can be addressed. That
is what is often referred to as scaling up.

Institutional strengthening is the key for increased sustainability and coverage of
community managed water and sanitation services. How should this institutional
support look like, who should be part of it, how are roles and responsibilities
divided, which levels should be addressed, how should linkages between
communities, districts and government be made, which capacities are needed at
what level? Although there are a lot of lessons learned in many countries for
example South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, India, the Philippines, Ghana but also
developed countries such as Switzerland and the USA, in every country, in every
context these questions must be addressed distinctively.

Learning from success and failures in the past, learning from community
management models in use in the country, investigating key factors for success
and failure, analysing the strengths and weaknesses of a country’s water and
sanitation sector, knowing the gaps in terms of capacities, policy and legislation,
investigating the country’s institutional set up, these are some of the aspects that
need to get attention. Action research is an appropriate model to dive into these
questions, reflect on the outcomes, design actions to overcome problems and
gaps, test them and monitor their impact. Action research combines critical
reflection, with acting, testing and trying things out. Action research enables

For scaling up all relevant stakeholders in rural water supply and sanitation must
be involved. They must all be part of the learning process, because they can all
provide lessons learned and they can all profit form the outcomes. Bringing the
stakeholders together and creating platforms for reflection, discussion and action
is a crucial part of action research. Action research is not only for the academics;

it is predominantly for those with a stake in solving the problems. Together they
search and test.

For sharing lessons learned, for sharing outcomes of action research, proper and
systematic documentation is needed. Only then others can be part of the
learning process. These are the core elements of this action research programme:
learning, implementing (testing), multi stakeholder involvement, documentation
and dissemination.

Action Research on Scaling up in Ethiopia

The majority (85%) of the Ethiopian population lives in rural communities. It is
estimated that only 24% and 12% of the population have access to sustainable
improved    water    source   and   sanitation   respectively   (UNDP,   2004).   The
functionality of the systems in use is often doubted. Lack of access to safe
drinking water and sanitation places a heavy burden of morbidity and mortality
on children who are especially vulnerable to diarrhoeal disease. Repeated bouts
of diarrhoea are not only debilitating for the patients but also increase the
burden on caregivers, family livelihoods, and ultimately the community. The task
of scaling up community managed water and sanitation systems is therefore
immense. All stakeholders in Ethiopia regard community management as the only
viable option to provide safe water and sanitation to more people.

There are many organisations working in the Ethiopian rural water sector
including government, UNICEF, World Bank, international and local NGOs. There
is therefore a long experience in rural water service provision and most
stakeholders use community management approaches. These experiences are
very relevant. They include successful community management of schemes
providing water to 150,000 people and more. However, experiences are scattered,
not shared and coordination is not optimal – systematic capacity building of

   intermediate support levels is not sufficiently addressed. The few happy
   communities with improved services are islands of success but in a see of
   problems. The challenge will be to bring experiences, approaches and models
   used together, to learn from that and to pilot improvements. Concerted action of
   all stakeholders will be needed to move forward.

   Under the leadership of the government, in Ethiopia many initiatives have been
   taken to guide the sector. The government of Ethiopia has done so as well and
   community management has also been incorporated in Ethiopia’s PRSP as the
   preferred option for rural water supply. A long-term strategy and development
   plan has been developed, there is a master plan for the sector and the World
   Bank recently started a major water and sanitation programme. Decentralisation
   in Ethiopia is well advanced. The action research will take place within these
   opportunities and boundaries. It needs to build on them and where possible
   improve them. The action research acknowledges the leadership of the
   government in the sector and the national steering group will therefore be lead
   by the department of rural water supply. The action research process is cyclical
   See figure 1.

   The action research will take place in pilot district – to learn how to strengthen
   institutional structures and support community-managed systems in specific,
   representative settings – by relevant stakeholders. But an important part of the
   action research will also take place at the regional and national levels, to
   disseminate the lessons learned in the districts, to make sure that the action
   research links to ongoing programmes, strategies and policies.

Figure 1. Action Research Process

                     Action                                        Research


                                  Overall objective
   To conduct action research on community managed water and sanitation
    projects/services so as to bring up coverage to 100% and contribute for indefinite
    sustainability of community managed rural water supply and sanitation services

Project purpose
To do action research (reflect and act) to learn what is needed in particular how to
strengthen institutional support mechanisms for community managed rural water supply
and sanitation services to be able to provide indefinite sustainability and 100%
coverage to rural populations.

Project objectives

   Document     sector    experiences,   evaluations,   strategies   and   master   plans   to
    consolidate experiences to date with community managed water supply and
    sanitation services.
   Document the process of the action research and the lessons learned.
   Disseminate outcomes of the action research and make sure that the knowledge
    gained is shared and discussed for replication.
   Improve sector coordination, improve communication between the levels and
    promote a learning environment.
   Come up with discussed and agreed upon proposals and recommendations for
    strengthened community managed water supply and sanitation in Ethiopia.
   Make sure that past experiences and lessons learned in the action research are
    documented and made accessible to all sector stakeholders.
   Enable exchange of experiences and lessons learned in the action research on
    scaling up with other Plan country offices and with other international sector

Programme strategy
The strategy is to learn about improved community management by action research in
a pilot district in Ethiopia together with local stakeholders and by creating a learning
and coordinating environment for national stakeholders.

Programme organisation
National Steering Committee with Plan Ethiopia as Secretariat will coordinate the
programme. The programme will be carried out in a national partnership with major
Ethiopian sector stakeholders. The programme will be supported with specific expertise
and skills of staff of Plan International Headquarters, Plan Regional Office and
International Research Centre (IRC).

The Researchers
A community of action researchers needs building
   International: Plan International and IRC (Simon Heap/Ton Schouten)

   National steering committee supported by the Technical Advisory Group (TAG)
   Secretariat: Plan Ethiopia supported by Research Co-ordinator, secretary/casher and
   Regional: Regional Steering Committee supported by Plan Shebedino PU and
    Research Officer
   Community: Community Action Researchers (committees, implementers)
   Master’s students from Water Technology Institute, Arba Minch University seem a
    good choice.
   Debub University, Awassa and Awasa Vocational Training College also need
   Addis Ababa University / Institute of Development Research
   Other organizations/ individuals suggested by National Steering Committee

The Training
Action Research: the theory and the practice, with examples
Interviews, Focus groups, PRA techniques
Meta evaluation method and report structure
Writing case studies
Documentation and dissemination
The research tools:
       Several different research tools should be used;
       All stakeholders should be able to use the tools;
       Tools are generally common to the qualitative research paradigm – journals,
        document      analysis,   observation,   questionnaires,   semi-structured   interviews,
        Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools (village mapping, priority ranking, Venn
        diagrams, wealth ranking etc) and case studies;
       Quantitative approaches where necessary will complement qualitative approaches

International mentoring/supervising role will be front-heavy then change to low
maintenance over time.

The Research Agenda
Start with action research to learn about how to scale up community management of
rural water supply. What will be part of this action research and how will it be done?

Main research aspects and questions
The questions that need to be addressed in the action research include:
      What are the necessary structures and institutions needed to implement and
       support community management in the long term (training, facilitation, auditing,
       spare parts, etc.)?
      Who are the organisations best suited to implement and provide long term
       support to community managed water systems (NGOs, local governments, private
       sector, a mixture?
      What are the skills and capacity requirements for their employees?
      What are the cost implications of developing the necessary support structures: in
       terms of personnel, transport, training needs, capacity building, etc?
      What are the lessons learned to date in successful/unsuccessful community
       managed systems within the target district: a) within the community b) external
       to the community? What has worked, what has not and most importantly why
       and why not?
      What is the role of indigenous community institutions in the management of
       water and sanitation services? What is the level and quality of cooperation
       between these institutions and “modern” institutions responsible for water supply
       and sanitation management?
      What tools can be used to establish the need for, and help decide the shape of,
       external support to communities? Tools should be based on needs, resources,
       and stakeholder analysis.
      Once coverage with community-managed schemes begins to be significantly
       increased, does the local level private sector become more involved? Do
       communities begin to support each other? Are there economies of scale?

      What can we learn from the process to scale up: how to create incentives, how to
       overcome resistance, how to coordinate and overcome lack of coordination and
       competition, how to increase ownership and commitment to scale up?
      During analysis, the action research will examine critically the technical and
       financial sustainability (technical and design issues, financial management and
       cost recovery) gender issues, enabling environment including policies and
       procedures and aspects of monitoring and evaluation

The level of the research
The research on the level of the district means that the partners involved need to learn
about what is needed and how to scale up. The lesson learned must be fed back to
country level: national government, other agencies etc. Once the lessons learned are
shared and agreed, other districts can be scaled up etc.

Research methodology: action research
The methodology for the research will be based on action research. Action research is a
common search into the questions mentioned above, identifying solutions, testing and
correcting solutions and disseminating findings.

All stakeholder groups will be research partners. Their roles will be: design,
implementation and monitoring of the main research activities. In addition they will
provide support through identification of useful tools and methodologies, facilitation of
exchange visits, documentation of the process, design and implementation of
monitoring and assessment systems. They may also play a role in capacity building.

The research group in which all main stakeholders need to be presented is the
crucial body, with additionally specific tasks for each stakeholder as sketched above.
The research group is the body of learning, the shared and negotiated search into
problems and models. Action research aims to include all partners that can and want to
implement change and make them part and responsible for change. Action research
also involves a constant feedback and dissemination of results and outcomes to the

stakeholders in the district and national government. This to ensure that research is not
isolated from institutional realities. Research and dissemination go hand in hand.

August 2004: Actions research proposal discussed, amended and approved

October 2004: A unit needs to be created with recruitment of research co-ordinator,
research officer and community action researchers.

November    (1st half) 2004: Systems developed and capacities put in place for action
research, documentation and dissemination. Ton and Simon to visit: workshop on action

November     (2nd half) 2004: Literature Review; annotated bibliography of key texts;
secondary analysis on existing documents needs to take place: mapping out of
contextual issues. Stakeholder Analysis and institutional mapping at national, regional
and community levels.

December 2004: Meta Analysis of the evaluations of community managed rural water
projects implemented in Ethiopia by different organizations such as World Bank,
UNICEF, Water Aid, Water Action, Norwegian Church Aid, etc. by the Secretariat and
Technical Advisory Group. Data collection as well as field visits and in-depth interviews
and focus groups. The preliminary findings of the meta analysis and the situational
assessment will be implemented while the process of the before immediately

January 2005: Writing up of Meta Analysis.       Situational assessment of pilot project
district (Shebedino) by Secretariat and Core Team, with support from the TAG.

February 2005: First National Workshops for learning and capacity building will be
carried out. Followed by workshop for core group on:
 Action research tools and all other tools needed in the diagnosis phase.

            Scaling up – management models for rural water supply, case studies etc.
            Planning the diagnosis phase.
            Procedures, tools for learning, documentation and dissemination.

           Calendar year 2 (2005) will go through a cycle of diagnosis and testing and
           implementation, both at district level in the core group and at national and regional
           level in the steering groups.

   Action Research on Scaling Up Community Managed Water and Sanitation

 Proposed Budget

Item          Description       Costs (in US$)           Year 1           Year 2            Year 3            Year 4
                                                         01/07/2004-      01/01/2005-       01/01/2006-       01/01/2007-
                                                         31/12/2004       31/12/2005        31/12/2006        30/06/2007
Action         Operational     Research Coordinator               4000         13,200            14,652            16,116
research        costs for the   (senior)
programme       action          Researcher officer                 1600            5280              5808              6384
unit            research        Driver                             1000            3300              3630              3993
                programme       Assistant accountant/              1600            5280              5808              6384
                                Office Manager
                                Car                               36000                 0                 0                 0
                                Contribution to office             2280            4560              4560              4560
                                space 50%
                                Office equipment               14,527                   0                 0                 0
                                (Computers and
                                furniture etc.)
                                Contribution to                     700            1400              1400              1400
                                communication costs
                                Stationary                         1400            2400              2400              2400
                                Vehicle running and                 700            2400              2800              3456
                                Vehicle Insurance                   240            240                240              240
                                Subtotal                 64,047           38,060            41,298            44,933

Action          Learning         Local travel          5000        10,500   10,500    10500
research –       workshops        Local allowances       750          1500     1,500   1,500
NSC and         Meetings         Local meeting space    2100        2100      2100    2,100
RSC             Field visits     Subtotal              7850        14,100   14,100    14,100
                 for NSC
Action          Capacity         Local travel and       5300                5300
research –       building         allowances
core action      workshops        Local meeting space    2100       4250     4250      4250
research        Sharing and      Subtotal              7400        4250     9550      4250
group in         planning
the district     workshops at
                 district level
                Internal
                Meetings
                 districts etc.

Item           Description      Costs (in US$)                  Year 1        Year 2        Year 3        Year 4
                                                                01/07/2004-   01/01/2005-   01/01/2006-   01/01/2007-
                                                                31/12/2004    31/12/2005    31/12/2006    30/06/2007
Action          Data           Local travel and allowances     5200          10400         10400         10400
research –       collection     Local meeting space             2300          2300          2300          2300
research        Local          Subtotal                        7500          12,700        12,700        12,700
work             exchange
Action          Action         Software for data bases         500
research –       research       Acquisition of books,           500           750
facilities       facilities     magazines etc.
                                Building a national resource    2000
                                base on water and sanitation
                                in Ethiopia – accessible
                                through Internet and hard
                                Sub Total                       3000          750
               Activities for   The activities may vary from    18,000        34,000        34,000        34,000
               testing action   capacity building activities,
               research         improved networking, better
tion of
               outcomes.        information systems,
                                improved coordination,
                                advocacy, improved
                                communication etc.
                                Subtotal                        18,000        34,000        34,000        34,000
Internationa    Internationa   2-3 international travels per   5000          10,000        10,000        10,000
l exchange       l              year
visits           conferences    Subtotal                        5000          10,000        10,000        10,000
                Visits
                 research on
                 scaling up
Documenta       Documentat     Documentary film and video      7500          15,000        15,000        15,000
tion and         ion of         outputs for (international)
disseminati      action         advocacy and training

on     research      Journalistic support (training      7500     15,000   15,000   15,000
       process       in writing skills, writing flyers
      Documentat    and advocacy materials,
       ion of        posters, articles, creating and
       outputs       maintaining web portal etc.)
      Disseminati   Design and printing                 5,000    5,000    5,000    5,000
       on of         International conference                                       30,000
       process and   bringing together
       outputs of    international scaling up
       the action    experiences
       research      Subtotal                            20,000   35,000   35,000   65,000

Item          Description               Costs (in          Year 1        Year 2       Year 3       Year 4
                                        US$)               01/07/2004-   01/01/2005   01/01/2006   01/01/2007-
                                                           31/12/2004    -            -            30/06/2007
                                                                         31/12/2005   31/12/2006
Support IRC    Support in terms of     In total 40 days   13,600        27,200       27,200       27,200
                management and          per year
                institutional aspects   Travel             5000          10,000       10,000       10,000
                of rural community      allowances,
                managed water           accommodation
                supply and sanitation   Subtotal           18,600        37,200       37,200       37,200
                reviews, workshops
                and training)
               Support to
                (process, outputs,
                hiring capacity, film
                documentation etc.)
               Facilitation of
                national steering
                group meetings
               Providing
                experiences in rural
                community managed
Total                                                      151,397       186,060      193,848      222183
Contingency   7.5%                                         11,354.775    13,954.5     14,538.6     16,663.725
Grand total                                                162,751.775   200,014.5    208,386.6    238,846.725

 The 4 year Grand Total Cost of the Project = $ 810,000

 * Remark: Action research combines both research and action (implementation). Plan Ethiopia
 will coordinate its WATSAN activity with the action research and will utilize its WATSAN
 budget (about $270,0000 Sponsorship budget for five years) for the implementation of the

action research outcome. This will help Plan Ethiopia to improve the implementation of
evidence-based projects. In addition, Plan Ethiopia has got fund from NORAD (about 1.6
million dollar for the years 2004-07). This will be implemented in line with action research


Description: Film Making Research Proposal document sample