FINISH Mondial Webinar Recap: Governments in Sanitation

The Diamond Model is a multi-stakeholder approach that we follow at FINISH Mondial to tackle both the supply and demand side of the sanitation challenge. The four main domains of the Diamond Model include communities, businesses, financiers and governments. We work alongside these domains to ensure the (a) development of local sanitation markets and (b) the inclusive scale of these markets.  

We have been hosting a series of webinars among the FM team so that team members can share their experiences with regard to how their country’s team works with each domain. Following a successful first session on the ‘Business’ domain, we organised the second session on the ‘Government’ domain on September 23.  

José SluijsDoyle (Portfolio Manager – Amref Flying Doctors NL; Management Team FINISH Mondialkicked off the webinar with an introduction to the Government domain and Government engagement with advocacy. At FINISH Mondial, the governments are considered key stakeholders. While the scope and responsibility may vary, we cannot work without them in the short, medium or long term. All participants of the webinar unanimously recognised the importance of working alongside governments. To better understand how this works in other countries, representatives from Ethiopia, Kenya and India introduced their government structures and presented their strategies for government engagement. 

Kulule Mekonnen (WASH Programme Manager Amref Ethiopia; FINISH Mondial Ethiopia) explained that WASH in Ethiopia is a multi-ministry programme to create an enabling environment, maximise resources and create demand for WASH and to allow capacity development for improved delivery of WASH services. WASH is included in their Health Sector Transformation Plan which focuses on providing basic sanitation services as well as the Educational Sector Transformation Plan, which is responsible for promoting WASH in schools. There are also WASH teams in the national, regional, zonal, town (woreda) and community (kebele) levels.  

FM Ethiopia is involved in the planning, implementation and monitoring of these strategies and they continuously work together to facilitate any emerging challenges. Kulele shared many examples and also reflected on further strategies that could help link FINISH with national level platforms and create more partnerships.  

Dennis Munai (Programme Manager Amref Kenya; FINISH Mondial Kenya) proceeded to introduce the government structure in Kenya which includes two levels – National and County. In the national level, FM Kenya is a member of technical working groups for improved sanitation, hygiene promotion and urban sanitation. At county level, they engage with the public health, water, environments and education departments as well as the local administration on joint country work-plan developments and direct project implementation. 

Photo from FINISH Mondial Kenya: a 5-stance latrine in Embu 2020

Dennis presented a case from Embu County where un-standardised designs for toilets were being used with high cost of construction, compromised quality of work and functionality, and recurrent expenditure due to collapsing toilets. In this case, they identified the key stakeholders, held joint technical review meetings where FINISH designs were presented, and worked with them to ensure that the country departments adopted standardised designs. In addition to this, Dennis also spoke about how we can contribute more by looking into the strengthening of the sanitation laws, capacity strengthening as well as creative marketing strategies.  

Lastly, Sneha Santwana (Management Team – FINISH Society; FINISH Mondial Indiaspoke on behalf of Abhijit Banerji (Director FINISH Society India, Management Team FINISH Mondial) to present the case for India. In India, sanitation falls under the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the ministry of Jal Shakti. In recent years, sanitation has been given a lot of priority through the ’Swachh Bharat Mission‘, launched by the government in 2014 to provide access to toilets to everyone and ensure cleanliness in India.   

While FINISH Society does not directly engage in advocacy and policy matters, they are involved in many national and district level engagements to create an enabling environment for the WASH sector. In the national level and the district level, FINISH is a registered Key Resource Center and supports the government with capacity building and programme implementation on various levels. FINISH Society foresees sanitation financing and an improved sanitation and circular economy as their possible impact areas.  

 Although the government structures varied across the three countries, the need for close collaboration with the government to stimulate growth in the WASH sector was very evident. If you missed this webinar on the Diamond Approach Best Practices: Government Domainyou can still access the recording and slide deck