Agenda for Change members working on systems approaches
Concern led the Democratic Republic of the Congo Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (DRC WASH) Consortium from 2013-2019, which provided sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene services for more than 650,000 people living in rural areas of the DRC. The Consortium was a 5-year £30 million GBP rural WASH programme funded by DFID. Other partners involved in the Consortium included Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Action Contre la Faim (ACF), ACTED, and Solidarités International. The programme was active in rural areas of seven provinces: Equateur, Mai-Ndombe, Kwilu, Kwango, Kasai Central, Sankuru, and Tanganyika.
Systems strengthening activities
The Consortium complimented the national programme “Health in Schools and Villages” by supporting communities to achieve the “Healthy Villages” status according to the seven national standards of WASH in rural villages. The Consortium’s work developed and tested alternative approaches in order to improve sustainability in the long term, building on the experiences and expertise of the five-member agencies. Knowledge Management and Learning activities were at the centre of the Consortium’s approach and allowed flexibility in the programmatic approach.
Based on evidence gathered, the project conducted advocacy campaigns to influence the Water Law content and to encourage the DRC parliament to promulgate the Water Law, which had been in a draft version for years. The Water Law, promulgated in early 2016, was a decentralisation reform of the water sector in DRC, which devolved several tasks and responsibilities from the national level to local authorities. Once the Water Law was voted upon, strong support was provided to the Decentralized Territorial Entities (ETDs) newly in charge of WASH services, including a capacity building programme in 2017-2018 designed for a subset of ETDs in Tanganyika.
Consortium actors also developed the “Economic Approach,” a way of steering village-level WASH Management Committees to take very high ownership of their WASH services, by preparing them to take on the ongoing costs of maintaining their water point.
Entities of the Central Government
Ministry of Health, Ministry of Planning
Provincial and local governments, local healthcare authorities
Action Contre la Faim (ACF), ACTED, Solidarités International, UNICEF
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.