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close this book25 Steps to Safe Water and Sanitation - Experience and Learning in International Cooperation (SKAT, 2000, 42 p.)
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View the documentCommunity-oriented stepwise approach - A Step-by-step approach in drinking water and sanitation projects
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View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsPART I - BACKGROUND
Open this folder and view contentsPART II - SALIENT FEATURES
Open this folder and view contentsPART III - NEW DIRECTIONS
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Community-oriented stepwise approach - A Step-by-step approach in drinking water and sanitation projects

25 steps to safe water and sanitation is an account of the experiences gained and lessons learned by Helvetas and local communities in Nepal in the execution of the Self-Reliant Drinking Water Support Programme (SRWSP) over the 7 years it has been in operation (since 1993/94). The most notable change SRWSP introduced is the importance given to the process of social change combined with the delivery of safe drinking water and sanitation. In addition, gender equality, participatory decision making at the local level, and user-friendly technology have all a prominent place in the programme.

The key factor in the success of the project is the community-oriented step-by-step approach of SRWSP. Through this guided stepwise approach to the preparation, construction, and maintenance of the drinking water and sanitation facilities, people in a community are forced to think in ways which encourage critical awareness. This facilitates a process of change. While initially the change may be somewhat superficial, the seeds for a deeper and lasting process of empowerment are implanted.

The community-oriented stepwise process

The SRWSP step-by-step model combines seven advantages:

· It consists of a series of activities and benchmarks that safeguard the integrity of the project process and increase community ownership.

· It requires a series of activities and/or criteria to be fulfilled by the community. Operations are undertaken in sequence: as one is completed, attention moves to the next.

· It is a tool for participatory planning and monitoring.

· The process looks in a holistic way at technical and social aspects of drinking water and sanitation.

· Involvement of women and marginalised groups is encouraged.

· Operation and maintenance are an integral part of the whole project.

· The step-by-step model ensures predictability - for the community as well as for the project.

Experience is needed to follow this step-by-step model:

· Facilitation of the process is important and critical to success.

This model, however, is not a “black box” solution for everything:

· Source conflicts are impossible to completely resolve by the approach alone.

The external evaluation of 1997 (see references) states that SRWSP is a pioneering and highly innovative programme, albeit with a relatively small coverage, well worth advocating to a larger group of interested people. However, Helvetas does not want to take sole credit. Several key features of the present SRWSP approach are also being used by other organisations: what makes SRWSP different, however, is the way in which it combines many 'best practices' from such existing programmes. For this reason Helvetas has decided to publish this account of one of our successful projects: To share the lessons learned and to promote the step-by-step approach in rural drinking water and sanitation projects.

25 steps to safe water and sanitation takes the reader, in non-technical language, through the various stages of the programme, with explanations and examples where necessary. In addition, issues raised, problems faced and answers found by the communities and programme staff working together are reviewed. The brochure also provides an outlook to the future development of the approach: the major change planned is the move towards Integrated Water Resources Management, including drinking water and sanitation facilities.