Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

  • boorso
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  • Chief of Executive Officer of WDC
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Re: Introduction to Theme 2: Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

Dear Folks

Thanks for the above subjected question is actually fantastic. Kindly note yes of course the local leadership can can play that rule while there is no strong leadership at all, because you know Somalia was without strong central government more than two decades and the role to achieve sustainable improvements of sanitation in the absence of strong leadership and local ownership? Therefore i had a good experience for this we WDC NGO based south Somalia especially Gedo region Juba land state more than 18 years with UNICEF. Definitely everybody aware this matter especially the international potential donors whom were dedicated to sacrifice their soul to help these people for long. Somalia was exceptional for this situation because we had established in every main villages and district in Gedo region WASH committees whom were selected by the local leaderships among the communities.
Regards
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  • martaede
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  • A senior engineer with 35 years experience in rural and urban water supply, sanitation, community organization and institutional strengthening.
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Re: Introduction to Theme 2: Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

This is an exciting topic - without local leadership, which responds to grass roots aspirations and needs, a change in sanitation is like a pipe dream. However, I feel that leadership needs to be a direct expression of grass roots needs.
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  • boorso
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Re: Introduction to Theme 2: Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

Dear martaede

The Local leaderships are those in charge the grass root levels every where and those who are directly targeting the needs in the area are the same local leadership
Thanks
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  • egelkhuu
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Re: The local leadership

Hello.
Yes. The question is very interesting. Let's look more close-up question. Local leaders are local leaders, they know everything and everyone believes them. From his abilities and experience it all depends. He must be purposeful. He should be able to organize the people. The other side of the issue is funding. This question is difficult in the province. Here leadership. Now in our province Bayanchandmani, Mongolia is the question. People come, the population of the village increased. Now in the center of the village of 2,500 people live. Sanitation is very heavy. Toilet construct a method of digging the ground. Outdoor toilet. Smells and others. Sanitation and hygiene should be observed. Build a general drain. How? The climate is harsh. In winter, minus 45 degrees Celsius. In the summer of 35 degrees Celsius. Now the most important is Rocco appropriate technology and financing. The approximate budget for 1200 000. 00 Dollar USA. Such is the case. Leadership is needed. Leaders need. That management and financing. What should be the leader.
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  • ggalli
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  • PhD Candidate (Wageningen University) on Sanitation Governance in Gemena, DRC. Interested in governance, socio-technical approaches and politics of sanitation.
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Re: Introduction to Theme 2: Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

Dear all,

Interesting questions.

1) How crucial is the role of local leaders? Is it possible to achieve sustainable improvements in sanitation in the absence of strong leadership and local ownership?

This is a rather rhetorical question.
Local leaders are extremely important to have on board. However, these need not necessarily only be the 'official' leaders. They could also be respected members of the community. Without the support and active involvement of these leaders, the improvements, if there are any, will only be temporary.

2) What role can development partners play to nurture and develop local leadership? Are they playing their role as triggerers, catalysts and supporters? Is it enough?

Here it starts to get interesting. I think that development partners need to recognise that:
A) 'doing good for the community' is not necessarily the sole motivator of a leader. Important motivators could be related to retaining or increasing local power and control, or to financial needs. It is therefore important to understand these 'motivators' and realise where they can be an obstacle or a stimulus;
B ) where there is one 'development partner' there are usually more, or there have been others before. Local leaders may appear involved, but in fact just going from workshop to workshop. Or they may be disillusioned by previous experiences and frustrate a project. Taking mutual accountability serious at the local level is therefore important.

3) How to move forward in areas where local leadership and local ownership are absent?

Here it starts to get a bit worrying.
A) I do not believe there is such a thing a an absence of local leadership. The world is not a tabula rasa that can be filled in by development projects. I'd like to think that those days are over. If you honestly think there is a lack of leadership, open your eyes and look again. It may not be the leadership you like, but it's the one you'll have to work with.
B)Local ownership by the people of your project may be absent. In that case, you may not be addressing their needs. Who is being consulted and involved? Did your project look for a a problem to match your solution, or was it the other way around?

Best,
Giacomo

Giacomo Galli
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  • snel
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Re: Introduction to Theme 2: Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

Glad to see more of a debate emerging especially in these busy times with upcoming WASH conferences and other WASH related work. Based on my own experiences, and coming from an urban & regional planning background, to me the role of local leaders is absolutely critical in making any step forward in the whole systemic change in reflecting on sustainable urban sanitation services. Three points: (1) The role of local leadership is not only a formal one, as cited by Giacomo, but more often than not an informal role of selected leadership which determines the progress that take place. (2) What surprises me in this time and age is that there are still a number of implementing NGOs and other parties working on their programmes stating they are working with local leadership (whether formal and/or informal) but in reality this is more lip service than sincere commitment. (3) In countries such as India and Ethiopia, in which I have had the opportunity to work in quite often over the years, the role of formal local leadership is much higher than other countries based on various factors ranging from historical to socio-political reasons. I appreciated hearing from our WDC colleague and would love to hear from some of our other southern colleagues (or others) on their experiences/examples were this has worked well or not, and why?
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  • hajo
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  • Director of catWASH: consultancy, advice, training in WASH. Late but not too late I have founded my own consultancy hoping to provide useful advice and training in construction, O&M, management and governance of water and sanitation in Rwanda and in the region.
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Re: Introduction to Theme 2: Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

dear all,

I am not really sure but I feel that we have to differentiate in this discussion between the urban and rural context. The topic has been opened relating to leadership in urban sanitation although the header unfortunately does not express it.

But while reading the posts, I felt that contributors related more to village settings and rural sanitation where 'informal' leadership may be sometimes more relevant than 'formal' leadership, while in towns there is always a mayor or municipal director 'in charge'.

S/he may not be interested in sanitation and as such 'leadership' in this field is lacking but it may be difficult to promote action in sanitation in a town on larger scale using 'informal' leaders, or?

ciao Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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  • ggalli
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  • PhD Candidate (Wageningen University) on Sanitation Governance in Gemena, DRC. Interested in governance, socio-technical approaches and politics of sanitation.
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Re: Introduction to Theme 2: Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

Dear Hajo,

I completely agree that maybe in an urban setting the formal leadership may be better established, but:
1) which institutional level to take into account? Only the mayor, or all the heads of wards etc?
2) formal leadership does not exclude informal leadership, these two may well co-exist. While working in a slum of Mumbai I noticed that the local informal leaders are very powerful are really need to be taken into account.

Best,
Giacomo

Giacomo Galli
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  • rezaip
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  • Market-based City-wide Sanitation Services and Resource Recovery
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Re: Introduction to Theme 2: Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

I see leadership in urban sanitation and faecal sludge management (FSM) coming from four different actor groups: one of them is the national government and the three others: local authorities, communities and private sector. Sanitation, particularly FSM, has a somewhat weaker role (e.g. non-visibility to the voters) while pursuing ‘political assets’ in emerging economies. In terms of priorities, it comes after agricultural productivity and subsidies (directly linked to food price), healthcare, housing and so on to national political leadership. However, it’s again the leadership that can prioritize FSM, linking them to other priorities e.g. resource recovered from FS can feed on farming activities as organic input being an excellent source of soil conditioning and nutrition; greater awareness on water-seal, FS spillage and safe discharge can prevent diseases and malnutrition; and upgradation of toilets and/or containments and proper housing plan can facilitate easier collection, transportation and / or processing of FS.

The role of national government, in most cases, comes in the form of formulating Policies and later, Guidelines. The Gates-funded FSM project managed by SNV in Bangladesh made a success in adding FSM clause in national water and sanitation policy in Bangladesh. The next comes officials in related Departments under the Ministries. Endorsements from all of these actors are crucial to success at the national and eventually local level implementation.

But the dynamics are completely different at the local level (local authorities). Interestingly, we find that local level sanitation tax (a fraction of the wealth tax) would be a smart way to pay for FSM services but what if the wealth at local level is heavily undervalued. The leadership in question here may now come with a solution to whether instead of collecting sanitation tax (which would be too little to offer anything in return), the authority would rather allow private operators to collect periodic / one-off fees to offer FSM services in exchange to the city-dwellers. This appears a little less sensitive to the local authorities, in a sense that people can just not confront them to get an explanation why the fees have been raised etc. etc. We have been advocating for revising the prices to reflect cost since the beginning of the programme and it started happening lately that the concerned officials and local representative within the concerned city authorities are now showing a sense of understanding and interest to revise it for the greater fees for the service to be charged. There now we see the leadership among the councillors and the city officials without whom this consensus would not have been reached.

So, does local leadership belong to the local authorities only? Not really! We found some excellent community leaders who shoulder the enthusiasm and responsibilities to mobilize the community to make themselves aware of FSM. The FS spillage protocol made the community aware of the severe health risks getting in contact with the sludge. Community leaders were also crucial in our effort to promote occupational health and safety. Looking closely at the traditional manual emptying jobs getting inside the containment by primarily Dalit communities in the Indian sub-continent, Bangladesh is perhaps one of the first places to document occupational health and safety measures for the emptiers. We found the community leaders’ here were crucial in mobilizing the emptiers for the training which in future is likely to lead certification of the emptiers as observant of FSM occupational health and safety measures.

One last but not the least, local leadership lies in the hands of the entrepreneurs and investors. Unlike the rest of the leaders, business leaders are hard to be found – they look for solid business fundamentals! But even after all this, we see local entrepreneurs interested to offer CSR fund as a first attempt to contribute to establishing commercially viable public toilets. The project is experimenting whether businesses based on solid waste collection that are contracted by the local authorities can be trained and groomed up to add a new service line – FS collection and transportation.

There are still some areas where leadership is absent. Here, we have the laws with punitive actions against households / institutions that have connected their containments to municipal drains. Question is, when there is hardly any implementation of those laws nationally, how we would find a leader facilitating the enforcement of those laws nationally, as well as, locally. Enforcement of these laws would instantly make a range of FSM businesses commercially viable overnight. Development projects also face the challenges in nurturing leadership. Sometimes we see the officials / councillors we promoted as leaders and advocates of change get their offices changed / transferred and thus find themselves at odds to remain so.

Reza Patwary
WaSH Business Advisor
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  • scottchen
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Re: Introduction to Theme 2: Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

Dear Colleagues,
Yes,the local leaders are very important in urban Sanitation,especially in China.
The school toilet must meet the national standard which is still against the ecological toilet.
Without the permit from the local government leaders,no UDDTs can be built within China.
best wishes
Scott

Chen Xiang Yang, an apple dealer,is growing apples and cherries with the human waste collected from 31 school UDDTs donated by SOHO China Foundation, based in Tianshui City, Gansu Province , China. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., tel:0086 151 9380 3972
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  • Nivedita
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Re: Introduction to Theme 2: Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

Hi All,
The raised questions are really important and relavant to make change in the saniataion sector. Yes,the role of local leader is very important as they act as implementing agency and it is their responsibility too. they provide finance and other operations for the same.
the local authority play cruical role of supporters in terms of finance and operation and maintaince, with the help of other organiations like NGOs.
in areas where the local leadership is absent, support could be taken from the NGOs as we have seen in many areas like Community Led Total Sanitation.
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  • Nivedita
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Re: Introduction to Theme 2: Local Leadership to Drive Change in Sanitation

Hi All,
I am working for improving the snaitation facilities for the poor people, specially for the slum dwellers. we are also trying to aware school children for the regarding the imporatnce of washing hands by using soaps. Also,we are envolving school teachers and parents and also the school adminstration.But neither the local authority,school authority and local people are participating in the campaign. Neither the users nor the infrastructure providers are co operating and the disappointing thing is that people are not bothered about the consequences.I would like to ask any suggestions regarding how to generate the awareness among the users and also how to involve local authority into this..
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