Konradsen, F., Bjerre, J. and Evans, B. (2010). Reaching the MDG target for sanitation in Africa : a call for realism. Copenhagen, Denmark, Danida, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 50 p.
ISBN: 978-87-7087-299-7 (print version)
ISBN: 978-87-7087-300-0 (internet version)
This leaflet contains a set of Good Practice Notes on challenges in connection with provision of sanitation services from the perspective of international development assistance. It contains a synthesis paper:
- Reaching the MDG Target for Sanitation in Africa – A Call for Realism
and four issue papers:
- Building political commitment for sanitation in a fragmented institutional landscape
- Hooked on sanitation subsidies
- Challenges in supporting hygiene behavior change
- Measuring progress in sanitation
Conclusions of the synthesis paper
The MDG targets established for water supply and sanitation provide a great opportunity to advocate for both increased funding and increased political commitment at all levels of government for the sector. However, an exclusive focus on reaching the MDG targets may cause development agencies and governments to focus exclusively on coverage. This will have a detrimental effect on the sustainability of the established infrastructure and may leave out the most important components of sanitation programs i.e. the motivation to use sanitary facilities and the need to change personal hygiene practices to improve health status.
The best use of public resources in the sanitation sector is likely to focus on building demand for sanitation, establishing clear policies on subsidies, building capacity among local government entities to enable coordination and monitoring of progress and quality of service, facilitating the creation of a commercially viable private sanitation service, allocating financial resources to essential large scale sanitation infrastructure and supporting educational institutions to produce a new generation of professionals in the sanitation sector. Once the financial regime for these long term elements has been worked out, additional funding can be earmarked or sought for specific short term interventions, including hardware subsidies based on micro-credit schemes or subsidised hardware sold through commercial outlets.
Continued innovation is crucial in the field of health promotion in close collaboration among decentralised government departments, NGOs and research organisations. Overall, there is an urgent need for investment in human capacity at decentralised levels of local government, and in a broader sense, the need to build up a cadre of professional promoters to deliver well-coordinated national programmes.
International aid organizations and donor agencies can support sanitation and hygiene promotion most effectively by allocating an increased level of funds to the sector, supporting line ministries with technical expertise, assisting with the establishment of best practices manuals, building on international experiences and providing support to civil society organizations. Building regional networks and investing in research will be another important avenue in the interest of sanitation.
Support to international and national NGOs may be a feasible approach to facilitate innovation and to build an advocacy base for sanitation.