Permanent Solutions Require Innovative Initiatives
Municipal Capacity Building
Water For People–Bolivia has been steadily building the capacity of the municipalities so that they will be able to sustain water and sanitation services Forever. With Water For People–Bolivia’s support, each rural municipality where we work has established a Municipal Department of Basic Sanitation (DMSB) within the municipal government to support communities with water system operation and maintenance, oversee water and sanitation projects, and provide health and hygiene education. The DMSBs are comprised of several professional staff, including engineers and social workers, to permanently support technical and social aspects of service provision within the municipality. The national government of Bolivia, through the National Service for Sustainability of Sanitation Services (SENASBA), is investigating the possibility of replicating DMSBs nationally.
Water For People-Bolivia promotes a market-based approach to sanitation, where families invest in their household toilets to ensure that toilets are appropriately-designed to meet the family’s preferences and needs and get used for their intended purpose (rather than as storage sheds!). In peri-urban Cochabamba, Water For People-Bolivia has supported several small-scale sanitation businesses that construct flush toilets and eco-san latrines, empty eco-san latrines and provide composting services, and facilitate credit for sanitation. Though demand for sanitation in rural areas of Bolivia has historically been low, a social marketing campaign led by the Municipal Department of Basic Sanitation of Villa Rivero has yielded promising results in 2015. In this program 244 families have been motivated to construct household bathrooms though incentives worth about 20% of the total construction cost provided by the municipal government, benefitting 1220 people.
In 2016, Water For People-Bolivia plans to work with municipal partners and communities reach Everyone in two additional districts: Villa Rivero and San Benito. Water For People-Bolivia will also continue to push toward reaching Everyone in Arani and Tiraque, which are projected to reach Everyone in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
On sanitation, Water For People-Bolivia will begin to implement a new Sustainable Sanitation strategy created in 2015. Part of this strategy will include building on a successful social marketing campaign led by the municipal government of Villa Rivero mentioned above.
In 2016, Water For People-Bolivia’s role in peri-urban Cochabamba will change, due to significant advances of a massive government project that will extend drinking water and sewer services to the entire metropolitan area of Cochabamba, including District 9 where since 2008 Water For People has made significant contributions to expanding services in 19 “barrios” by supporting construction of storage tanks and distribution networks, which are supplied by cistern trucks. Water For People has confirmed progress made on massive hydraulic works, including a large dam and reservoir, which will allow the city water utility, SEMAPA, to supply currently unserved areas of the city. Therefore Water For People has decided to end infrastructure investment in peri-urban Cochabamba, and focus 2016 efforts on strengthening the existing water and sanitation committees (which will potentially continue to operate, depending upon negotiations with SEMAPA), and organizing a Federation of water committees to coordinate with SEMAPA. At the end of the fiscal year 2016, Water For People-Bolivia will re-evaluate the need for its continued support in peri-urban Cochabamba.