Synthesis Document - Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

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  • lalit
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Re: Theme 1 - Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation

Thanks Nitya,
yes panchayats need to own the responsibility and at the same time it is important that we clearly understand their present capability and potential of how much more capability they can earn through trainings etc. And accordingly we find the ways to meet the rest. We have been working with panchayats for other issues not for water and sanitation because we were not sure that panchayats will be able to deliver for many reasons.

Government is talking to deliver water through FHTC confidently to deliver. I know it is not easy particularly on quality front because typical solution is not going to work solution has to be location specific. I agree with you to go for point of use water treatment, in the short- and medium-term.

We partner with CAWST, Canada for conducting trainings on HOUSEHOLD WATER TREATMENT, COMMUNITY WASH PROMOTION, DRINKING WATER QUALITY etc. We have been conducting trainings for NGOs and practitioners, these modules can be adopted for PRIs also considering their limitations.  

I strongly feel that PRIs should be prepared first to deliver the water through FHTC and water safety planning and based on the performance decision should be taken on quality aspect. Till then govt should recommend and subsidise the adoption of point of use solutions. 

Regards

​Lalit Mohan Sharma
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Principal Scientist, Water Research and Training[/font] 
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  • Marine Chief Engineer by profession (1971- present) and at present Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, Chennai, India. Also proficient in giving Environmental solutions , Designation- Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Head- Environment, The Vigyan Vijay Foundation, NGO, New Delhi, INDIA , Consultant located at present at Chennai, India
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Re: Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear Nitya.

I am trying to source the Kerala Govtt. Officials for info on support volunteers who aided during floods in 2017, 2018 and at other occasions.

The data will be very useful for us in this aspect.

Well wishes.
Ajit Seshadri.
SuSanA Member
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Head-Environment , VigyanVijay Foundation, Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others)Located at present at Chennai, India
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Re: Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear all,

I hope to be able to move this conversation along a bit. An example from a field visit -

In Odisha, I visited a remote adivasi hamlet in the Debagarh district. There was a sarpanch Bholeshwar Nayak, a middle-aged man, who was literate. He had a few ward members, unlettered. He was ably assisted by Gurubari, the local self-help group secretary and also head of the local water committee. What the ward members lacked in formal education they made up with general knowledge of the terrain and climate. They knew where the water flowed when it rains and the ideal places for installing a well. They understood that having a water source downstream of a toilet would eventually contaminate it, as the village was in hilly terrain. The toilets in their village were on the opposite side of a ridge that divided the village from the wells. On the toilet side, there was a handpump with a broken platform and a spring some distance away that the handpump had tapped, so the sarpanch said. But they used covered wells for drinking water.

A NGO called JEETA, supported by WaterAid, had helped locate and build the toilets all of which were disabled-friendly. The NGOs had given both Nayak and Gurubari extensive support and training on WASH and helped set up the local water committee. The NGO also worked with block and district officials on inclusive WASH, since this was a remote adivasi district.

Their project helped to improve water supply in the village from seasonal to perennial. And provided all households with a hybrid toilet. This took several years because of the remoteness, recognising the process of changing attitudes was slow. The remoteness meant developing in-situ sources for water, and low cost toilet options. An added benefit was most houses got solar panels and a light through a government programme. Apart from the infrastructure, I found the village clean. The adults and children said they washed their hands before eating at least, though were less sure of other times. The toilets seemed to be in use. Handwashing places had soap with soap marks.

This example shows
  1. Panchayats need support over the medium- to long-term. One-off training sessions that are usually provided will not do.
  2. In addition to training, they need practical support. A series of meetings to work out where to site toilets, source water, arrange for distribution, etc., are needed. This takes time.
  3. While the hardware discussions are on, sensitisation about the rights and entitlements are needed so people understand what government programmes can and should provide, and how to get them.
  4. People need to understand the benefits of using a toilet and what safe water means. Then they need to be reminded to use the toilet regularly, and handle drinking water safely.
These are some pointers. Will provide more examples soon.
Regards
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Re: Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear Ajit
Did you find the source?
Regards
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Re: Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

I wish to bring the following points to the discussion, based on the experiences of working in rural sanitation and drinking water sector in rural Odisha (and a few other States) over the last three decades. A lot of what I say here is contextual; immediately relevant to the central Indian hilly region, particularly areas in the Eastern Ghats. The rural drinking water service delivery is, very wrongly I hold, considered to be a technically complex sector. System design and planning has been heavily centralised in all these years, and I do not think JJM has, at least so far, been able to dent this.  Having helped village communities build and maintain piped water supply systems (with three tap connections in every households, and 100% coverage of households in every habitation) in more than 1200 habitations across a wide variety of geographical and socio-cultural contexts, the one thing that we have learnt is that “small” is indeed “beautiful” and easily manageable. Ownership with little stake in design The way JJM implementation is panning out today, the Gram Panchayats (GP) or user communities are likely to have very little say in the way the piped water supply system is designed and built. They will be made responsible for its operations and maintenance once the construction phase is over. While travelling across several Eastern Indian states as part of a task force of the Jal Jeevan Mission, we came across the pitfalls in this approach. The non-consultative design and building process means that the GP or the User Committee (UC) is made liable to manage a sub-optimally designed system. In several places, the contentious matter was the way distribution pipelines were laid. Had the Panchayat or community been consulted while the distribution layout was being prepared, they would have advised on the most suitable routes to take. What was actually done meant that the GP or UC had to find additional resources (not easily available, so far) to correct the mistakes in the distribution system. Given that JJM needs to achieve the twin objectives – of 100% FHTC everywhere and, community ownership, I believe we need to strategize and plan for these not happening simultaneously. It will be wrong on our part to sit back and demand that everything work out in the ideal manner. The larger support system in the rural drinking water sector needs to plan for enabling GP and UC to take over and manage PWS systems that are likely to have serious design flaws. Settlement pattern based system design Where it is possible to influence the design and building phase, we need to gear up to influence the powers that be to consider and push decentralized mechanisms– single village systems in this case. The settlement pattern can be a good indicator to base certain assumptions in this regard. There are three types of settlement patterns that need to factored in. 1.     Nucleated settlements – seen in many parts of Central / Eastern India where the houses in the habitation is clustered around a central node and the distance between houses is relatively less2.     Non-nucleated settlements or ribbon settlements – seen mostly along the western coastal regions, where the houses in a habitation do not have an obvious central node, but are spread across a greater lengths3.     Transforming settlements – where one is seeing increasing urban characteristics in the way the habitats are laid out. This will be applicable across all States of India in the peri-urban areas and the increasing number of Census Towns that are not statutory towns Our experience is that in areas where water quality is not an area of concern (Fluoride, Arsenic or high Iron content) or already suffer from serious water stress, the first category – nucleated settlements can actually manage their own single village systems. The user community for a given system can be easily delineated and very often there will be existing social/cultural community systems that manage common matters. It may not make sense to think of larger design (multi-village or bulk water transfer-based systems) in such cases, rather it may be expensive and unsustainable to manage.
For areas with water quality or quantity stresses, alternatives will have to be thought of. Similarly, for most areas with ribbon kind of settlements or where the rural to urban transformation is taking place, single village systems may not be feasible in the long-term.
 Differentiate transmission from distribution In cases where multi-village or bulk water transfer based systems are envisaged, it will be wise to distinguish between the responsibility for transmission and distribution, similar to how electricity transmission and distribution are separated. In case of rural water supply, the distinction has to be between bulk transfer of water (from the source to a common delivery point) and distribution (supply to the households from the common point). This is critical in terms of the GP or UC being able to manage the service delivery in a sustainable manner. If the PHED or a service provider takes care of the bulk water transfer up to a common point for the habitation, the last-mile supply can be managed easily by the GP or the UC. The supplier can charge the UC on basis of a bulk meter at the level of supply. The UC can thereafter manage the distribution system and carry out O&M and service fee collection at a much manageable level. Differentiate ownership and management This, I believe, is a very critical matter. Conventional wisdom, of the top-down variety, seems to consider the Gram Panchayat as “community”. Thus, ownership and management by the GP is seen as ‘community management’. Our experiences do not bear this out. There is a clear distinction between the GP (as the local government) and the users, caused by several factors – social, cultural and political; and, in cases of the hilly central Indian areas, geographical (where there is a long distance between the Gram Panchayat and the habitations). JJM would do well to design the institutional framework considering this. The current guidelines of JJM seem to mix up the GP, VWSC and UC without much clarity. The GP is the local government and the mandated level for ownership of drinking water supply. In most States of India, the GP has limited abilities to manage the supply system and it is wishful thinking that these can be built overnight. Wouldn’t it therefore make better sense to differentiate between ownership and management? Can the system be imagined such that, the GP owns the system and outsources the management to a User Committee? It could be a village level institution bringing together all users, or it could be an alternate village institution such as  self-help group (SHG) of women. The VWSC is added to this mix creating further confusion. Most VWSCs that exist in the States are a relic of the Sector Reforms/Swajaldhara period and is essentially a user committee. In some States, the VWSC is a sub-committee of the Gram Panchayat and has different characteristics. It may be worthwhile to mandate the VWSC as an organ of the Gram Panchayat as a body consisting of GP elected members and representatives of the various JJM User Committees or PWS Management Committees in the GP.
I believe that any discussion on strengthening the institutional systems and capacities in the context of JJM goals need to factor in the above points. This will help develop better support systems.
Gram Vikas
Odisha
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Re: Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

(Posted on behalf of Poonam Sewak, Safe Water Network)

1.     Introduction
Outputs without requisite Processes are unsustainable and so the Processes without expected Outputs are futile. Striking a balance between the Processes and Outputs to achieve not only Efficiency but also Effectiveness is the need of the hour. We need to shift from project mindset to ‘Outcome’ based results. This alone can shape the long-term solutions for institutionalised and integrated drinking water and sanitation management with GP a Unit and fulcrum of the Governance. Jal Jeevan Mission (Rural) JJM (R) and Swacch Bharat Mission (SBM) have provided ample space for multi-stakeholder platforms in the policy with good learning of varied levels of outcomes as of now. Still there is a long journey ahead while Governments, GPs, CSOs and other Private Agencies have to travel together  as part of JJM and SBM II to further the achievement of goals. Against this backdrop, the focus of this article is on the Participation and Capacity building needs of GPs in the changing context of policy environment with emphasis on Service delivery and Sustainability.

2.     Participation
As rightly pointed out by the facilitator of the discussion, the central question is, how can they (GPs) be empowered to work as equal partners, not contractors or funders, with the local governments and service providers. This means that the achievement should be no less than enabling the GPs to climb the seven level ladder of Participation from Passive to Self Mobilisation for collective action and capability to mobilise as well as engage with relevant resources. This, of course, involves crossing five more broad levels of participation, viz., through information sharing, through consultation (situation analysis), material incentives (incidental), functional (engaging informal or formal groups) and interactive (action planning through external facilitation). Empowerment of GP as institution in other words is the constant withdrawal of induced external facilitation where GP is either equipped with required human and financial capital or at least has the capability to mobilise on its own as per the need.   

3.     Capacity Building
Capacity building of the GPs in this direction is therefore not limited to preparation or execution of an action plan for sustainable drinking water supply. An Action Plan may emerge after a thorough situation analysis and external facilitation in a given context. But ensuring the continuum of effective utilisation of resources along with Operation and Maintenance requires a different set of capabilities for an elected body like GP. Taking into consideration the dynamic status of Blue, Green and Grey water resources, both in terms of quantity and quality, assessment and planned use of the same, on a concurrent and ongoing basis is inevitable. The human resources and human capital available with GP may not be adequate for this and thus bringing forth the key dimension of the service providers.

Capacity building doesn’t end with the completion of events to train different stakeholders but encompasses a larger canvas of networking and federation. As is obvious, urbanisation is rampant and several GPs are getting converted to Urban Local Bodies either due to the growing population or their proximity to the Urban Agglomerations. Strategy for Census towns with population more than 10000 is yet another area of focus by the Government. Strategies need to be developed as per the typologies considering various parameters.  Keeping in view this trend, GPs have to gradually mould themselves to the emerging need of engaging service providers. State and regional level efforts have to be made for creating a pool of skilled service professionals, who in turn will engage at GP or Cluster of GPs level as per the need within an institutional structure of GP, local CBOs like SHGs and Professional Service Providing Agency for over
all coordination and support.  

4.     Service Providers
In continuation of the discussion initiated in the preceding paragraphs, GPs are of various sizes and located in diverse socio-ecological systems with varying proximity and access to the urban areas/services. The need and scope of designing and managing Water and Sanitation systems therefore also varies widely. As it deals with Water resources, the Unit of planning often may exceed the GP limits resulting in planning for cluster of GPs. For instance, it could be a Local Drinking Water Grid depending on a surface water source or setting up Solid Waste Management or Faecal Sludge and Septage Management system for a cluster of habitations.

In the context of Urbanisation, it may be also important to note that it is not just definition how an urban body is categorised. It may be also relevant in the emerging scenarios to consider the ability, absorption capacity and aspirations of the community to access the services similar to that prevalent in urban areas. The inclination and ability of several users to procure drinking water from private treatment plants in rural areas is one classic example. Safe or Small Water enterprises are playing a key role in several states providing safe and affordable drinking water to the rural communities. Role of Service providers at GP level, cluster of GPs level, Block level, District level, regional level and State level becomes much more prominent to realise the revised objectives of JJJM and SBM.  

5.     Few pointers in moving forward
a)      Enhancing the level of Participation of GPs in the spirit of Gram sabha in planning, implementation and monitoring of DW and  sanitation interventions from series of events to that of string of processes.
b)      Promoting Self-Monitoring mechanisms among the grassroots institutions for periodic self and peer evaluation will create a healthy
competition and learning.
c)       Building the capacities of the human resources at GP level for periodic and holistic quantitative as well as qualitative assessment of
surface and ground water resources in terms of the availability, use and users. It is much more significant in the water stressed areas as notified by the Government/s, time to time. These service professionals may work in coordination with grassroots functionaries like SHGs or any entity engaged by GP while working for Facilitation or Support agencies at different scales of operations.  SWNI is working with MoHUA on Urban City Water Balance studies, which can be similarly replicated with necessary modifications at appropriate scale of planning in the rural context.   
d)      Government/s to make adequate efforts for constantly building the pool of men and women professionals through Skill development Programmes on drinking water and sanitation, equipped with techno-managerial skill sets at State and District levels.
e)      Enhancing the efforts in engaging with CSOs and Private Sector participants for promoting location specific appropriate  technologies through Challenge fund. This also includes the replication and adaptation of urban models in suitable GPs.
f)        Promoting collaborative learning and sharing efforts among CSOs through platforms created for specific purposes. For example, SWNI is steering Sustainable Enterprises for Water And Health (SEWAH) in collaboration with USAID for promoting Safe and Small Water Enterprises. The Knowledge Centre at Safe Water Enterprise Alliance shares tools, promotes knowledge exchange amongst the sector stakeholders. These can be viewed at www.swealliance.org SWNI has also initiated Water Knowledge Resource Centres(WKRC) for sharing the collective knowledge and experience for collective good. 
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Re: Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

We are keeping this topic open for another few days. Please provide your answers to the questions asked earlier.
Thank you.
Nitya
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Re: Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear all
This is posted on behalf of Kaustuv Bandyopadhyay and Anshuman Karol from PRIA.
Nitya
  1. What technical and managerial capacities are needed in panchayats and VWSCs for them to discharge their obligations under SBM II and JJM? How can this be achieved? 
To discharge the institutional mandate for effective and efficient implementation of SBM 2.0 and JJM by Gram Panchayats first of all we need to understand the current gaps and challenges as follows:
 
  • Low level of awareness, sectoral/scheme related understanding on the provisions under SBM 2.0 and JJM as well asthe roles elected representatives and officials specially at the Gram Panchayat level.  
  • Top down instructions and practice of preparing GPDPs with limited inter-sectoral integration and convergence.
  • Over dependence on sectoral/technical experts for conversion of plans into projects and DPRs.
  • Non- functional/ dormant VWSCs and their limited participation in the planning exercise. In fact, in many Gram Panchayats GPCCs and TSGs are not constituted to facilitate the preparation of GPDPs and where these are constituted they have limited interaction with VWSCs.
  • Capacity building of electedmembers of Gram Panchayats are limited around their roles and responsibilities as elected members and in some states the trainings of elected members are not in line with the National Capacity Building Framework. Limited hands on training and exposure visits further widen the learning gap.
  • Uneven devolution, activity mapping and enabling legal and political environment across states. Whereverdrinking water and sanitation has been devolved, parastatal bodies are still functional with limited accountability towards PRIs.
  • Lack of validated database forplanning is a problem faced at most Gram Panchayats. Further, prior information about financial resource envelope before the planning exercise still a challenge. 
Going forward, this can be achieved through:
a) A well designed training strategy in a time bound manner is required to raise awareness level.
b) The GPDP needs to be seen as an overarching plans covering Village Action plans under JJM and SBM 2.0. Capacities to prepare GPDPs in participatory and decentralised manner needs to be built with the support of ISA’s.
c) Transferring subjects as per11th schedule to PRIs alone is not the answer, training in terms of how to use it effectively, democratising the information base not only to officers at the state and district levels, but at the Gram Panchayat level is vital. Information needs to reach to the grassroots, to the common people about the different schemes so that they can effectively use it and ask for it during Gram Sabha meetings.
d) Various ministries (Ministry of Jal Shakti, Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Finance, etc.) need to find possible points of  convergence at the planning, implementation and monitoring level. Similar mechanisms are required at the state level.
e) The State may take up an exercise to disclose the financial resources available to different tiers of local self-government before the planning exercise begins.
f) During the planning process different tiers of PRI should also prepare service delivery plans and demand accountability from the district administration. 
 
2. How can the VWSCs be strengthened to effectively discharge their functions in terms of training, handholding,regular meetings, documentation, monitoring and troubleshooting? Can ISAs fulfill these tasks or we need any strengthening of their roles and structures for the same? Should an ISA be there at district level, or at block level? 

NGOs/ VOs/women SHGs/ CBOs/ Trusts/ Foundations will be referred as ISAs and will play critical role as partners in mobilising and engaging the communities to plan, design, implement, manage, operate and maintain in-village water supply infrastructure. These ISA’s needs to be categorised based on their capacities and catchment area within the overall jurisdiction of PRIs. For example, NGOs/ Trusts/ Foundations having district wide, state wide or interstate presence should closely work with VOs, SHGs, CBOs etc. and complement their capacities. For doing so a national level capacity building framework needs to be developed with inputs from states by involving NGOs/ Trusts/ Foundations working across similar domains. This  framework needs to be converted into structured training programs. Sub district level ISA’s needs to be empanelled by states to implement it. Mechanism also needs to be developed to review the progress.
 
3. Is there a recommended number of engineers at different levels per 100,000 people for water supply and sanitation?

The entire process needs to be Decentralised. For Gram Panchayat level water and sanitation projects it is advisable to develop a toolkit for the preparation of participatory DPRs. PRIA piloted this model for Water Security Planning in Jharkhand and develop a ‘ Training Manual on Community Based DPRs ’.
 
4. How can the district authorities ensure that they achieve necessary coordination between the SBM 2.0, JJM and all the linked departments?
 
District Planning Committee’s (DPCs) have the constitutional mandate to ensure convergence and integration of plans. Hence, DPCs in respective districts should provide necessary coordination for this.

Regards,
Kaustuv Bandyopadhyay and Anshuman Karol
PRIA
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Re: Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear all,
We have just launched a post construction support business model called WASH IndiaNetwork (WIN) to build capacities, provide technical backstopping and annual asset management contracts to community schemes. The hub is the Nenmeni Community Water Supply scheme and even support a cluster of 30 small piped water supply in Adimali  Panchayath about 200 kms away under Asset Management Contract.  There are also excellent models though isolate like in the Sagar and Patharprathima in West Bengal by Water For People. A good model is to federate community schemes and link to local governments at appropriate level supported by professional business start-ups.

A rudimentary concept note on the small water supply post construction support business model is attached for adoption contextually in other parts of India.

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Re: Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear Nitya and all,
There are 2 distinct challenges in capacity building. Involve local governments to add romantic flavour to the institutional formula /model and then to use the funds that are increasingly channelised through PRIs, eg. the SFCs/UFCs.  The  role of PRIs are seriously constrained in key areas of decision making and informed choices. The PHEDs/Utilities lead the show.  The argument is clothed in the so-called technicalities and simply 'we know what is good for them' mind-set. Second method is to bypass all process elements like consultations, awareness creation and capacity building in the name of 'urgency or we don't have time' after sitting over it for years. The tragedy is the institutional dichotomy of de facto responsibility in water supply with the PHEDs and de jure with the PRIs. If we genuinely believe in PRIs to take the lead role, we need to make the service provider like water boards and PHEDs accountable to the local governments legally and contractually with penal provision for contractual violations. We do not have any other option, either to empower and professionalise the local governments or to provide structured, predictable and accountable professional support to them.
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Re: Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Hi Nitya,

Thank you for this post - it is really an important reason for lack of WASH services. I would like to highlight examples of work of Samerth Charitable Trust in Kawardha, Chhattisgarh. In this work, local teams are trained in hydrology and integrated water resource management and supported by an app that takes them through the processes of good water management. In this way, the expert hydrologist on needed for certain, very technical tasks but much of the work (e.g. water balances) can be done by local teams and panchayats. Details here:  www.samerth.org/our-initiatives/

1. Please provide examples or case studies where Panchayats have worked as equal partners with the government and service providers to plan, execute and monitor water supply and sanitation. What conclusions can be drawn from these case studies regarding the technical and managerial capacities needed in Panchayats and VWSCs to effectively run SBM II and JJM?

With support from Samerth Charitable Trust, Panchayat create their own water security plans and present these to government for funding. Often technical expertise and plan creation has stronger capacity in panchayat and NGOs e.g water quality testing and ability to create WSPs. e.g. is in Kawardha district.

2. Please provide examples where the VWSCs have been strengthened to effectively discharge their functions in terms of planning, financing, contracting, documentation, monitoring and troubleshooting? Have they sought support from ISAs and how?

Examples above- sought support in terms of process of planning water management etc - ISA (Samerth) provides ongoing help to create WSP that plan, finance, document etc all water needs for the panchayat and supports to engage with district collectors (e.g.arranging meetings, building capacity of district collectors to understand WSP importance) 

3. At what level are ISAs needed most - district, block or panchayat? Please give examples. 

All levels but perhaps most at district because this is where funding for infrastructure can be granted. Panchayat level also important for ongoing ownership and management. 

4. How can the district authorities ensure that they achieve necessary coordination between the SBM 2.0, JJM and all the linked departments?

They could use a systems thinking approach - mapping all of the influences and power dynamics surrounding communities that lack WASH services, evaluated them and then build up from there. IRC WASH have an excellent WASH system approach that could be used. www.ircwash.org/home

Thank you again Nitya.


Regards,

Jon Shepherd (Head of Programmes at Frank Water)
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Re: Expertise and resources needed for inclusive and lasting water supply and sanitation (SuSanA India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear all,

We have concluded this discussion and are preparing the synthesis document. If you would like to provide inputs please do so in the new few days and we will include them in the document.

Thanks to you all for taking out the time to respond.

Regards,
Nitya
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