Agenda for Change members working on systems approaches
CARE focuses on scaling and strengthening the management capacities of the OMAS (municipal water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) offices) to improve urban and rural WASH services in Guatemala.
Helvetas has introduced work approaches for systemic change into the delivery of WASH services in the Western Highlands region, focusing on more equitable water management and more direct participation and influence of the end-users over local WASH governance.
Water For People works to promote long-term sustainability of water services, by advocating for a national water law and working to establish district water and sanitation offices in every district across the country.
Systems strengthening activities
At the national level, CARE, Helvetas, and Water For People work together as part of a national network advocating for official implementation of the OMAS (municipal WASH office) model across the country, known as Red de Agua Potable y Saneamiento de Guatemala (RASGUA). Through this network, NGOs are using data collected by municipal governments to make the case for establishing OMAS, while also advocating for a model that has been developed and promoted by multiple agencies in Guatemala. The model puts women and marginalized populations at the center to ensure they have a strong role, they are consulted, and are integrated into defining sustainability.
OMAS are now found in nearly 100% of the municipalities of the San Marcos department. After the first 3 were co-funded by CARE, the remaining 25 OMAS were funded entirely by local government budgets. OMAS were also established in the 4 municipalities where Water For People implements the Everyone Forever model in Quiché. Overall, 125/340 municipalities have recently established OMAS. Beginning in 2007, as an outgrowth of the Proyecto Mi Cuenca (My Watershed Project) with CRS and Helvetas, there are now over 117 OMAS (out of 340 municipalities) nationwide.
Helvetas works to improve governance of the water and sanitation services in the San Marcos department through strengthening of integrity in the sector. This includes efforts focused on empowering local organizations to manage their water services and giving them tools and training to advocate for basic service delivery for all. Additionally, Community-Led Total Sanitation was piloted beginning in 2016 by Helvetas, with support from UNICEF, reflecting the activation of 93 communities in the covered municipalities. As a result, 6 communities have been certified and declared Open Defecation Free (FIDAL) and important progress has been made to achieve more FIDAL certifications soon.
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.