On the second day of the international shared learning event on water integrity in Nepal, practitioners from Pakistan, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Benin and Bangladesh explained how they are promoting transparency, accountability and participation within water programmes and projects in their respective countries.
Madagascar – presented the ‘Accountability Triangle’, which showed how municipalities, water users and private water companies keep each other in check with regard to water service delivery and appropriate billing systems.
Ethiopia – explained how they are working in the Amhara region of Ethiopia and are using a participatory community auditing approach including institutionalisation, ownership building, establishing downward accountability and sustainability.
Benin – explained how the flow of water fees works in the context of Benin and the role of citizen watch. Moreover, it was explained how municipalities, communities and other stakeholders interact within the billing as well as the operation and maintenance system.
Pakistan – introduced how water users and local authorities are engaged in developing and coordinating the implementation of the Water Use Management Plans based on water rights and collective accountability in water catchment areas.
Bangladesh – presented how the Integrity Management Toolbox (IM Toolbox) has been applied for Bangladeshi WASAs – Water and Sewerage Authorities, particularly how the IM Toolbox was piloted in the Khulna WASA.
Two main, connected entry points were identified for water integrity promotion: the media and communities.
Working with the media
Participants stressed the importance of mainstreaming integrity through the media and pointed out possible first steps. By identifying existing journalist networks, creating incentives for journalists to increasingly work on the topic of water integrity and corruption in the water sector—for instance by creating a water integrity journalist award— were some of the options considered. The first priority is to make sure enough evidence of the need for integrity and the impact of integrity on service delivery should be made available for journalists to use in their stories.
Ensuring participation and inclusion of communities
Participants discussed the importance of appropriate context analysis, and the need to increase policy advocacy and access to information for sensitization. It was seen as essential that the most vulnerable be aware of their rights. Community audits can be one way to raise awareness.
Participants agreed that besides the implementation of water integrity projects, it is important to show the impact these projects and programmes are having on the performance of the water sector. Documentation of knowledge, good practice and results is therefore key and should be strengthened or integrated as an essential part of programme development from early on.