The SDC-funded Multi-Country Water Integrity Programme (MCWIP) was a water governance and water integrity programme for rural water implemented in Guatemala, Kenya, Nepal, and Mozambique from 2012 to 2019. The overall progamme goal was to increase the engagement of water users and decision-makers to change both individual attitudes and the institutional behaviour of public, private and civil society stakeholders. Water rights holders would be thus empowered and duty bearers held accountable, leading to effective water governance as well as equitable and sustained access to water and sanitation.
The programme was implemented in collaboration with Swiss organizations working on water and sanitation, including Helvetas Swiss Inter-Cooperation, Caritas Switzerland and cewas. Partnerships were established with local organizations to develop and support local programme activities. The MCWIP focused on remote regions where service levels are lower and engaged directly to empower vulnerable communities using a framework of Transparency, Accountability and Participation (TAP). Social accountability mechanisms were introduced in particular, as a key component of the programme.
From 2015 to 2019, MCWIP in its third and final phase focused on collecting and structuring the knowledge gathered during the programme both to feed sustainability and to reflect on lessons learnt.
One category of lessons relates to enablers, or conditions, that support the effective launch and implementation of water integrity projects. As considered through the four elements of the WIN Integrity Wall, TAPA, these lessons include the value of media involvement in boosting Transparency and accessibility of information; the importance for Accountability of clear rules and regulations, mechanisms for gathering evidence, and open platforms for dialogue; the need for Participation to include all stakeholders and an increased proportion of women, youth, and other marginalized groups; and the value of slow progress in Anti-corruption using a collaborative, solutions-oriented, non-confrontational approach.
The second category of lessons relate to the challenges of implementing a multi-lateral programme such as MCWIP. These include:
- the importance of understanding the broader country context to the ability to deliver at programme level;
- the value of a multi-stakeholder, solutions-oriented approach in increasing the impact of water integrity programmes;
- the need and effectiveness of explicit actions to amplify the voices of women and youth; and
- the importance of sharing knowledge and building the capacity of national and local stakeholders in improving uptake of integrity tools and increasing impact.