Water and Sanitation

Is capacity the biggest bottleneck to achieving universal access to water and sanitation?

Craig Laird
Started by Craig Laird on
03 Jun 2015 at 03:25
Communication Consultant, Global Water Operators' Partnerships Alliance/UN-Habitat (GWOPA)
Know-how: Water

Is capacity the biggest bottleneck to achieving universal access to water and sanitation? Although infrastructure remains a big challenge in the developing world, it seems that years of programmes and initiatives have not been fruitful, perhaps developing resident capacity in parallel with hard investment is the way to go?


Kevin Shane
Very good question Craig. From my experience with sanitation programs in India, approaching the crisis through a purely infrastructural lens (the "if you build it, they will come" approach, if you will) is wildly ineffective. Behavior change and capacity building activities with beneficiaries/end-users is certainly vital, and there is an ever-more increasing focus on this with associated media coverage, but the real missing link in the chain lies within the implementation agencies and government bodies tasked with providing, and more crucially maintaining, sanitation infrastructure. Above and beyond capacity-bulding, though, is the need to build in a sense of accountability and transparency into the equation. I was well and truly shocked at how often government officials simply didn't care enough to do their jobs, nor fear any sort of reproach for their lack of action. Infusing a sense of empathy is a controversial topic, but I am firmly on the side calling for it. Failing to engage implementers on an emotional level, what is needed is some sense of incentivization to drive positive behavior (and punish negative behavior) by those who are supposed to build and maintain infrastructure. The latter is of particular concern as, far too often, facilities that are mere months old are no longer useable due to no maintenance or provisioning of utilities such as water and electricity. There needs to be educational outreach to infuse an understanding of the importance of hygienic sanitation habits, but that must be done in concert with a fundamental shift in how those building the infrastructure view and approach their work.
lyseconcept jean Marius

More and more post, as above, recognize that everything that is done on sanitation is far from being productive. USAID has launched a challenge to it.
But it might be go forward to search for the cause. Yet it is very simple: In this vector we stayed at the origin of life on earth: defecation in the open.
The excrement deposited at the place of defecation pass through installations on several points without one sees appear less processing function, and end on the floor waiting for a hypothetical treatment. Same defecation in the open in a disguised form.
Except that in the function of defecation in the open excrement deposited on the ground are feces but in the current situation excrement became mud with excrement: a poison for the environment.
The real question we must ask why they become feces mud with excrement?
To this question two answers
1) because the technology used is not at all adapted to the characteristic biological 'excrement since nature eliminates fecal matter in 10/12 days
2) because the human mind remained in a primitive state, I put my excrement and I'm leaving it up to mother nature to accommodate in. Nature mother refuses thing today.

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