Agenda for Change members working on systems approaches
WaterAid supports government-led collective action by identifying and promoting government champions, cultivating a sector culture of continuous learning, and building institutional capacity. Their work touches on all the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) system building blocks, and focuses on interactions and overlap between building blocks.
WaterSHED aims to shift the mindset of everyone in the system – including government, product suppliers, NGOs, and consumers. They utilize a market-based approach to support dynamic, resilient WASH products with a focus on the whole system.
Systems strengthening activities
Cambodia is one of the focus countries for WaterAid’s SusWASH programme, where the organization is working predominantly with provincial and local governments to support their increased responsibilities in WASH service provision, as part of the ongoing decentralisation process. This involves supporting the provincial government in Kampong Chhnang to assume new roles and responsibilities for operation and maintenance of water supply services and sanitation promotion. Together with provincial and district officials, WaterAid is working to strengthen their capacity and leadership and to address a number of key gaps, including improving WASH coordination mechanisms, integrating SDG indicators into the existing monitoring and planning systems, strengthening the national Monitoring Information System, supporting the development of the new national Hygiene Behaviour Change Communication campaign, and assessing the market for safely-managed water supply options.
WaterSHED’s approach involves taking the role of an industry facilitator, engaging the private sector and government to lead improvements in WASH sustainability, access, and behaviours. WaterSHED believes that a sustainable outcome requires the facilitator to progressively exit as its role is succeeded by private and public sector actors. The goal is to minimize external intervention and to reduce the barriers to market entry and increase the likelihood that demand creation and growth of supply will continue after the project interventions cease. WaterSHED works in several innovative programs that support various dimensions of capacity building in Cambodia. WaterSHED Ventures is an independent social business in Cambodia that offer consumers innovative, aspirational WASH products at a low price, thereby accelerating the commercial uptake of toilets, water filters, and portable sinks by partnering with over 70 local retailers. Additionally, WaterSHED’s Civic Champions intensive program fosters the emergence of transformational leaders. It stands apart from conventional capacity development programs because elected officials apply to join, pay to participate, and drive the process themselves.
How strong are the systems?
To determine how well systems are working, we rely on data derived from Building Blocks, which are manageable ‘sub-systems’ that can be supported and strengthened. Certain building blocks may be more strongly developed or applied at district or national level. Interactions between building blocks are essential.