Empowering Local Government to Improve Sanitation

Increasingly, the worldwide trend toward decentralization has seen the mandate to provide key services, such as rural sanitation, shift from national to local governments in many developing countries. This delegation of responsibility holds promise for improving rural sanitation as functioning local governments exist throughout most countries and they have the infrastructure in place in terms of staffing and resources. Thus, while there are many challenges to address, a central premise of the Water and Sanitation Program’s Global Scaling Up Sanitation Project is that local governments can provide the vehicle to scale up rural sanitation.
Since its launch in 2006, the Global Scaling Up Sanitation Project has applied a model of working through local governments, with the support of resource agencies, to build the capacity of local government to carry out its role in rural sanitation. A new working paper, Building the Capacity of Local Government to Scale Up Community-Led Total Sanitation and Sanitation Marketing in Rural Areas by Fred Rosensweig and Derko Kopitopoulos, examines this model and shares lessons learned from India, Indonesia, and Tanzania—the three countries where the project has been implemented to date.
To guide the study, Rosensweig and Kopitopoulos constructed a comprehensive data collection framework. For each country, the report analyzes the:
  • Arrangement of the institutional framework, including national and local strategies, legal frameworks, and political will;
  • Allocation of roles and responsibilities for activities such as planning, promotion, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation;
  • Availability of resources, including financing, human resources, supplies, and equipment; and
  • Arrangements for capacity building, including training strategies, training of trainers, training materials, etc.
Among other findings, the authors recommend that the role and responsibilities of local government must be better defined in order to prevent gaps. They offer a universal or common framework that defines seven distinct roles to use as a starting point for country specific iteration.
In addition, the authors recommend a standardized approach to training. According to Rosensweig and Kopitopoulos, “Capacity building is an integral and essential component of (increasing access to basic sanitation) and training is the cornerstone of the approaches used to build capacity of local governments.”
The paper also includes a framework that defines the essential elements of an effective approach to training.
For more information, please contact Eduardo Perez, wsp@worldbank.org or visit www.wsp.org/scalingupsanitation.