Support and monitor implementation of Operation & Maintenance/follow-up activities

Ensure that O&M/follow-up responsibilities are clearly assigned and implemented

Monitoring and supporting the implementation of an Operation & Maintenance (O&M)/follow-up is an on-going process of providing assistance to those responsible and verifying that the required O&M/follow-up activities are implemented according to the agreed timeline and quality.

Operation: refers to the direct access to the system by the user (e.g. operating the hand pump), to the activities of any operational staff (e.g. operators of motorized pumps), and to the rules, which may define who may access the system, when, and under what conditions.

Maintenance: is to do with the (technical) activities, which are needed to keep the system working. Maintenance requires skills, tools and materials (e.g. spare parts) (CARTER 2009).

Purpose and link to IQC

Monitoring and supporting the implementation of O&M/follow-up activities contributes to ensure improved services or benefits as a result of project activities. Continuous monitoring of the O&M/follow-up promotes the fulfilment of responsibilities and allows identifying required corrective measures, in case of insufficient O&M/follow-up. This increases the chances for long-term success of the intervention.

How to

1.   Check your terms for O&M/follow-up

The terms for O&M/follow-up that should have been developed as part of the project planning are a key reference for this activity. If you do not have terms for O&M/follow-up use the related template to develop them.

Contact all stakeholders with O&M/follow-up responsibilities, explain the importance of each of the tasks and re-confirm responsibilities. Discuss your O&M/follow-up plan with local government to explore how they can support its implementation (e.g. with additional information, list of suppliers, direct assistance, etc.). Update your plan if needed.

2.   Prepare monitoring templates

Develop a document that can be used by the community committee to monitor the implementation of the O&M/follow-up plan. Explain the document to the community committee and ask them to document the O&M/follow-up activities. Ideally those responsible for different activities should sign off in this document, once a task has been executed.

Example for document to monitor O&M activities for a hand pump:

Task Frequency Jan Feb Mar Apr
Patrol pipeline Each month Date & Signature Date & Signature Date & Signature Date & Signature
Discharge test Every 3 months Date & Signature

3.   List required O&M/follow-up equipment and suppliers

Discuss which spare parts are required for routine maintenance and to handle emergencies. Draw up a list of the spares that the project should have at all times. These may include: filters for oil, fuel & air; washers; materials for pipeline repairs (glue, piping, fittings); taps & tap washers; spare locks; replacement meters; valves; painting materials, solvents and construction materials.

It is insufficient to consider what spares are required without considering where these spares are sourced. To support the community committee it is advisable to draw up the list of suppliers. When some material/spare part is needed a requisition form should be prepared to start the process of procuring it.

Example for a hand pump:

Spare Name & contact of supplier Expected cost per unit on delivery
Pump washer

4.   List service providers

Discuss for which O&M/follow-up activities external (technical) assistance is required. This overview should consider possible emergency situation. Technical assistance includes services that are sourced periodically or occasional services e.g. in case a key part (e.g. a pump) of the system breaks. Draw up a list of possible providers for each required service, including their contact details (compare example below).

Example for a hand pump:

Services Name of technical assistant Contact details
Pump repair
Water quality testing

5.   Produce a monitoring report every 6 months

Ask the community to share copies of the monitoring documents for O&M/follow-up and visit the project site to check the project status at least every 6 months. Consult beneficiaries about the services/improvements that resulted from the project. Develop a short O&M/follow-up report together with the community committee and make it available for the project stakeholders (including local government).


Forms signed by responsible persons Provide copies of the forms
Project site visit Ms. Smith visited the project site on the 5th of May 2015 and certifies that the borehole if functioning, the valve had been changed in March (as stated by the responsible) and the place is reasonably clean.
Interviews with users 4 frequent users were interviewed (names: …) and were generally satisfied, but complaint that it took 4 weeks to repair the valve.
Conclusions and actions undertaken The responsible for repairing the borehole was contacted and asked for the delay in the repairs. He communicated that the supplier on the available list was not accessible and had to look for an alternative. Currently the suppliers list has been updated with information from the responsible and from the county government.
Communication of the report A copy of this report is available for the community and for the county government.


References & Further Readings

  • FAO and UNICEF-Kenya. 2012. A Trainer’s Manual for Community Managed Water Supplies in Kenya (session H)
  • SSWM toolbox.
Last updated 12 April 2018

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