Understanding Capacity Development : Part 1 - Journey of Urban Sanitation Capacity Development in India

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  • depinder
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  • Depinder Kapur is a senior development professional with experience in WASH, Livelihoods and NRM.
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Understanding Capacity Development : Part 1 - Journey of Urban Sanitation Capacity Development in India

This is the first of a 3 part series on Understanding Effectiveness of Capacity Development. The Paper draws on the experience of Sanitation Capacity Building Platform (SCBP) work and other national capacity development initiatives in India in the last two decades. A Capacity Development Effectiveness Ladder Framework is proposed in the third part of the series. SCBP is anchored by National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA). It is part of the NFSSM Alliance that has more than 28 members. SCBP is supported by Gates Foundation.

Comments and critique welcomed.
Depinder Kapur is an independent Senior Development and WASH expert. He was till recently leading the Sanitation Capacity Building Platform of National Institute of Urban Affairs in New Delhi that is focussed on non sewered sanitation systems( scbp.niua.org). He has worked with AKRSP, SPWD, CARE(Director NRM), Oxfam(Program & Advocacy Director), WaterAid India(Country Head) and WSSCC(National Coordinator).

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  • depinder
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Re: Understanding Capacity Development : Part 1 - Journey of Urban Sanitation Capacity Development in India

Can some of the capacity development experts and organisations and ofcourse anyone else, please respond to this piece?

Requesting Working Group 1 lead and co lead to input please.

Lets have a discussion on understanding capacity development from the experience of large capacity development initiatives funded by national government, bilateral organisations and INGOs. 
Depinder Kapur is an independent Senior Development and WASH expert. He was till recently leading the Sanitation Capacity Building Platform of National Institute of Urban Affairs in New Delhi that is focussed on non sewered sanitation systems( scbp.niua.org). He has worked with AKRSP, SPWD, CARE(Director NRM), Oxfam(Program & Advocacy Director), WaterAid India(Country Head) and WSSCC(National Coordinator).

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  • Chaiwe
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Re: Understanding Capacity Development : Part 1 - Journey of Urban Sanitation Capacity Development in India

Depinder,

Thank you for sharing this document that gives an insight into the journey of urban sanitation capacity development in India.The importance of capacity development in WASH should be emphasized, as investing in people yields long-term benefits especially in the success of WASH interventions. Often times the biggest challenge to project ownership and sustainability is the lack of capacity of the 'torch bearers' once the project development phase is over. This is also one sure way of moving from aid dependence towards long term sustainability.

As mentioned in this paper: here , there is no long term financial commitment to support urban sanitation capacity development from the central or state government level in countries like Ethiopia, most finances generated to ensure that these capacity development initiatives take place are often donor-driven. This is a gap the private sector can potentially fill. While yet again private sector in developing countries like Ethiopia is not well equipped to step in, educational institutions also try to assist. Expanding capacity building support for WASH in developing countries is one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.

I would also like to point out that CPs in Africa such as the African Development Bank, (similar to the Asian Development Bank) are the front runners in capacity development initiatives within the sector, evident in their projects here in Zambia for example. I look forward to the other series!

Regards,
Chaiwe
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Chaiwe Mushauko-Sanderse BSc. NRM, MPH
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  • dietvorst
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Re: Understanding Capacity Development : Part 1 - Journey of Urban Sanitation Capacity Development in India

Dear Depinder,

In response to your statements “[o]ld pedagogy and teaching centralized water and sanitation systems borrowed from the last century European and US context, remain the mainstay of our technical universities education system as well as the re-training programs of government officials”, and the need to “invest in development and maintenance of a mix of centralized and decentralized water and sanitation infrastructure”; do you see a role for NGOs such as CSE and CDD , which do offer training on decentralized systems? Is the government sector open to collaboration with NGOs, and if not should they be? Are there barriers in terms of accreditation or a lack of awareness, for instance?

Cor Dietvorst, InformationManager, IRC
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  • depinder
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Re: Understanding Capacity Development : Part 1 - Journey of Urban Sanitation Capacity Development in India

Hi Cor,

Yes certainly, CSE, CDD and all other institutions have a critical role to play. To connect peoples' reality and expectations with technocratic engineering solutions that tend to become alienated from reality and determined by big capital investments,  commissions and pay offs. Yes there are barriers and accreditation is not there for NGOs. But then there is a whole political economy of urban sanitation that is to blame.

Learning is the core of capacity development. What this 3 paper series, specially the last concluding final paper shows, is that this learning core has been diluted over time and replaced by institutional capacity development( that is a euphemism for restructuring and institutional change agenda disguised as capacity development). 

Government is not a homogenous entity. Various administrative, technical and regulatory bodies have all come together over a period of time, to function with common defined priorities and motives. The challenge for urban sanitation is a governance challenge. How to bring the people and their elected representatives at city and state level, to practice democratic expression of peoples will and demand accountability from government. 
Depinder Kapur is an independent Senior Development and WASH expert. He was till recently leading the Sanitation Capacity Building Platform of National Institute of Urban Affairs in New Delhi that is focussed on non sewered sanitation systems( scbp.niua.org). He has worked with AKRSP, SPWD, CARE(Director NRM), Oxfam(Program & Advocacy Director), WaterAid India(Country Head) and WSSCC(National Coordinator).

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  • Chaiwe
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Re: Understanding Capacity Development : Part 1 - Journey of Urban Sanitation Capacity Development in India

Dear Depinder,

To quote you here:

''Learning is the core of capacity development. What this 3 paper series, specially the last concluding final paper shows, is that this learning core has been diluted over time and replaced by institutional capacity development( that is a euphemism for restructuring and institutional change agenda disguised as capacity development). ''

I feel these institutional interventions are not necessarily replacing broader capacity development initiatives, but complementing them. The fact that institutions have taken the initiative to build the capacity of human resources at an institutional level to respond to their needs does not mean they are taking away from the interventions (or lack of) at the national/higher level but are adding to/complementing these efforts. After all, institutions need to function effectively in order to provide essential services. I see it more as an indication that at a higher level not enough CD is being done to ensure that implementers are fully baked enough to take up their roles without the need for further CD interventions at the institutional level.

In response to Cor, i would say the biggest barrier at a higher level (at least in the case of African countries) is not accreditation, but limited financing.

Regards,
Chaiwe
SuSanA Forum Moderator
(With financial support by GIZ from June to October 2021)

Chaiwe Mushauko-Sanderse BSc. NRM, MPH
Independent consultant located in Lusaka, Zambia
Emails: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • seshadri
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Re: Understanding Capacity Development : Part 1 - Journey of Urban Sanitation Capacity Development in India

Hi
I am a latest entrant to this discussion. Nice that this is discussed for long and many ideas are pouring in. I have been witnessing this for more than three decades. When Indian Government started constructing toilets in the 70s most of them were rendered useless. Later this followed. However, the momentum started recently with the Swchch Bharath mission. Though we could able to reach out to the level of telling we covered all citizens of India, there still exists a gap. We always assume something and try to spin things around that. Interestingly all those working out strategies are sitting in Delhi and other metros and draw up plans for the rural areas that they were not exposed to. 
India is a diverse country with multiple cultures, we must understand. I am not trying to related that to the habits of sanitation but I am talking about reaching the masses through bottom up approach. Now we have NITI Aayog and Darpan to validate NGOs and grassroot level organizations and the arm could be extended to them to reach and ask them to capture the realities in the villages.

Sanitation in Urban areas is much better considering earlier days. But, the political situation does not allow things to happen. India is also a water starved nation. Every year we encourage severe shortage of water in different pockets and many of our cities are examples. I live in Chennai. Still water is transported in lorries to different pockets of the city. The will to lay pipelines and supply water through that to all is still in question. 
I have been asking the Governments to open free toilets in different pockets of the cities (like Delhi) (in Tamilnadu at least). But, its seen as a money making exercise. Some areas like Bus stands and other areas are made free. In many pockets, this is how political people satisfy their cadres to make money. People are charged to use toilets and this also leads to corruption and poor maintenance. People think levying money is the only business and not maintenance. Many of the government departments do not have toilets and if there is one it will be kept under lock and key. As rightly said, it's the government to consider this as an important public convenience. 

True urban sanitation is a governance challenge. Now a days I see the Metro stations sport good advetisements. Why not government monetise the public toilets by inviting advertisements (allow people to use free and use the common space and walls for advertisements.  You can use best of the TVs to run ads and rent out the walls one monthly or quarterly basis for advertisements. If there is space, demonstrations also can be arranged. When we change the way the crematorium works, why not we change the toilets to work better. 
It's more of a thinking (alternative thinking) problem. People come one when there is money. Here we have the idea to make money. If Government says yes, we can show case the best toilets for the common man. Even Government can auction the toilets and monitor them through third parties too. 
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