Water CKM Holds Webinar on Rural Water Infrastructure
On August 23, 2018, the USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management (CKM) Project hosted a webinar on “Preventative Maintenance Models for Sustainable Rural Water Service.” The webinar was led by the USAID Sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Systems Learning Partnership (SWS), which seeks to improve the sustainability of WASH services in rural areas and underserved communities through a systems-based approach that involves employing research and increasing understanding of local systems to overcome challenges to existing WASH infrastructure and services. 

Nearly 90 international development practitioners, water experts, and researchers participated in the webinar. Ella Lazarte, Senior Water and Sanitation Advisor at USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment’s (E3) Water Office, moderated the webinar, which featured presentations by Duncan McNicholl, General Manager of Whave Solutions Ltd., and Rob Hope, Associate Professor at the School of Geography and the Environment and Director of the Water Programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. 

Recent studies, including USAID post-evaluations conducted by the Water CKM Project, have shown that investments in WASH programming often have not led to long-term sustained improvements. The webinar shed light on the importance of using preventative maintenance approaches to improve the sustainability of USAID WASH interventions. The webinar also highlighted recent learnings from preventative maintenance models used in Uganda and Kenya, which can inform future USAID WASH planning and investments. For example, Whave Solutions, a Ugandan non-profit social enterprise, provides local maintenance services in partnership with the Government of Uganda and local communities. Whave Solutions works to provide a financially sustainable water service system in rural communities and also leverages local partnerships to improve the reliability of rural water access in Uganda. 

The USAID Water CKM Project organized the webinar to boost information sharing on water sector programs. The project is implemented by ECODIT and supports the USAID/E3 Water Office and its partners to increase water sector program knowledge sharing and data collection, both internally and externally. The Water CKM Project regularly conducts research, analysis, and collaborative learning events to improve the sustainability of WASH programming. 

ECODIT is a trusted USAID partner with 25 years of experience working with governments, businesses, and local communities to advance environmentally- and socially-responsible development around the world. More information is available at www.ecodit.com. (Photo credit: Whave Solutions Ltd.)