From Projects to Services:
WASH Sustainability through Whole Systems Approaches
For decades, WASH programs have followed a “business as usual” approach of implementing projects that have largely remained focused on the project and under emphasized the broader context. In the rural sub-sector external funding often finances a WASH project that is expected to be maintained entirely by the local beneficiaries. In urban areas, the sustainability of services is often threatened when resources are limited to infrastructure and are not provided for developing and strengthening the capacity of critical institutions.
While external aid can be an important part of the solution, such support too often fails to make links with the broader ecosystem critical for ensuring sustainability. This system normally includes mandated authorities, private sector companies, national and global systems and tools, and local institutions among which the intervention is situated.
This Symposium will break down the silos of WASH projects by exploring methods for evaluating the context in which these interventions are situated, exploring political economy topics and examining how this whole system can be engaged with to ensure that services last over time.
June 20: Open Houses
Nine organizations across Kampala and beyond will open their doors for unique “open houses”, sharing their work with the global community attending the Kampala WASH Symposium. This is an exciting opportunity to get to know organizations based throughout Kampala. Additional details on the open houses are available here.
June 21: Exploring a Whole System Approach
Following welcome remarks, participants will look at topics such as identifying challenges in service delivery and understanding stakeholders in a complex system. These sessions will be run in parallel, with one track looking at the topics through a lens of water services and the other focusing on sanitation services. Ultimately, these sessions will result in a conceptual framework for applying whole system approaches. The day will conclude with an innovative partnership exposition, providing an opportunity to network with colleagues and highlighting the role partnerships play in advancing whole system approaches.
June 22: Catalyzing Change within a System
Building on the foundation established previously, the focus for this day will be moving towards approaches for improving systems where needed. Following a keynote from outside the WASH sector, four case studies will be explored through parallel sessions. Each case study will look at how to develop complex theories of change, leveraging evidence for influence, and engaging governments. During lunch, a set of fun lightning presentations will provide diverse perspectives on WASH Sustainability. The afternoon will open with a panel of government officials discussing their perspectives on how to effect change within a system. The day will close with a session providing concrete strategies for influencing change within a system when that system is bigger than the WASH sector.
June 23: Applying the Learning through Field Visits and Side Events
Participants will be invited to visit sites around Kampala where they will be able to engage with whole system approaches that are currently improving WASH services. Several official side events will also be held during and following the field visits.