To introduce myself, my name is Peter Burr, and I am a research associate on the WASHCost project and also I am delighted to have been invited to work with Jonathan as one of the two new co-chairs of this working group.
I see much cross-over with the work that we - at IRC - have done as part of the WASHCost project and the core questions of the working group; specifically on the harmonization of methodologies for the collection and analysis of cost data. I therefore hope to be able to contribute constructively to these and other questions.
By way of background, since 2008 the WASHCost has focused on the financial analysis of water and sanitation services compared against the level of services different schemes/facilities or service delivery models provide. The has been done through the analytical framework of a life-cycle costs approach that seeks to account for the full costs of service delivery i.e. including implementation and construction costs as well as the costs of monitoring, maintenance and eventual renewal of services. This has attempted to determine the full costs of sustainable service delivery to inform better financial planning and budging by a range of sector stakeholders. The scope of the project is large with research teams spread across four countries both collecting data and testing and refining the methodology.
For those that want more information of this methodology and how to put it into practice – there is an upcoming free online course on “costing sustainable services” designed for sector professionals. This course is split into three modules (1. What is a life-cycle cost approach? 2. Using a life-cycle cost approach and 3. Analysing a life-cycle cost approach) and more information can be found here: www.washcost.info/page/2205.
In my estimation, however, even with the significant data collection that has taken place, it is clear that there are still many areas for further discussion and research, such as: facility life-spans; pit emptying costs (direct and indirect) and general operation and maintenance cost. I hope that through discussions in this group we will be able to swap experiences in some of these areas and link up with different ideas and streams of work with discussion group members for mutually beneficial discussions.
Outside of this, I would be very interested to learning more about current interests and work flows of other members of the group, especially on topics like: integrating both financial and economic analyses, the assessment of different service delivery approaches to sanitation and the practical implementation of sustainable financial planning in the development context. Indeed, my ongoing PhD studies at Cranfield University touches on a number of these issues.
I look forwards to exchanging ideas with members of the working group over the coming months and hope to be able to contribute towards an active, dynamic and useful discussion platform.
Just to update you that the first WASHCost training is now full due to popular demand. However there is a second training scheduled to start on the 19th November 2012. Again the course if free and you can apply here: www.washcost.info/page/2151