SPA has been running now for more than 2 years. An evaluation conducted in 2010 clearly reflects shortcoming in the program. Among other things, SPA assumed that the utilities would take on a lead role, being that they are considered water and sanitation authorities. However, in reality, their main interest remains piped sewerage systems rather than on-site sanitation, leaving on-site sanitation in the slums.
The focus shifted from utilities to municipalities, organisations that have the clear mandate to deal with on-site sanitation in any case. The change of focus from utilities toward municipalities was slow as municipalities took on their role in very different, country-specific ways.
In the meantime, another development caused a change in approach. The SNS REAAL Water Fund was one of the three co-writers of the programme, expressing its interest in dispensing loans at commercial rates for toilet construction. At that time, virtually no interest existed to make loans available for sanitation hardware with banks in the programme countries. But this has changed over the years, while the lessons learnt for SNS REAAL showed that direct loan dispensing was very complicated if not impossible. For example, Ethiopia does not allow foreign currency remittances out of the country.
Changes in approach of SPA
As a result, the programme approach will change. Some changes are being discussed with our partners, others have already been implemented:
Households in peri-urban areas (slum areas) will take a loan at a local financial institution for toilet construction at their house. It depends on the local situation whether the loan-taker is the house-owner, the landlord or the tenant. The occupants of the house will pay for operation and maintenance. Training: The awareness of sanitation and hygiene of the house occupants and landlords will be increased.
Small or medium enterprises (SMEs) can be engaged against payment to construct the toilet and to empty the pit. SMEs can take a loan at the same local financial institution for equipment and materials. If the local situation does not permit toilets at each house, public solutions by SMEs are stimulated. Training: SMEs will be assessed for their technical and commercial capacities and given training if needed.
One or more local finance institutions will dispense the loans to the house-owner, landlord, occupant or enterprise. The loans are given at local commercial rates. The financial institution can be a (local) bank or micro-finance institute (MFI).
The municipality is the owner of the project in its city. It will facilitate and monitor the process and be accountable to its population. The municipality negotiates with the local financial institute(s) on the lending system, facilitates the SMEs regarding the sanitation services to be delivered, and motivates the population to improve its sanitation situation. If so decided, the municipality will create a sanitation service within the municipality.
Guarantees for loans, if required, will be agreed between the financial institution, the municipality, and the programme.