Positive impacts of Water SWAps
and selected lessons learnt
Senegal – Burkina Faso – Uganda –
South Africa – Lesotho - Jordan
Senegal SWAp positive impacts
• Sector vision (initial SWAp was limited to UWS and it
now covers the whole sector)
• Sector institutional arrangements (clearer roles in
rural water, new reform under preparation for UW
and US – but not so obvious in other sub-sectors)
• Sector physical information has considerably
improved – financial info to a lesser extent
• SWAp is creating the need to link national and local
planning, leading to new planning tools
• Sector “marketing” and mobilization of donor funds
– the W&S sector now has “a face” and a rather
efficient communication strategy
Senegal SWAp positive impacts
• All players agree that they benefit a lot from better
information circulation and JSR
• New space for policy dialogue and discussions (new
topics, old topics in more structured way)
• SWAp has allowed the sector to organize better
financial resources re-allocation to sub-sectors – very
positive impact on sanitation (both urban and rural)
• Easier to articulate common donor front to improve
quality of policy (rural sanitation subsidies, urban
water tariffs) – even if the SWAp does not protect
the sector against major political interference
• UC-PEPAM reduces cost of doing business for donors,
helps to enhance sector credibility with MEF
Senegal – lessons learnt
Monitoring and evaluation – Investments in the M&E system positively impacted the
quality of the annual joint sector reviews and the transparency in the sector
management. Information was a powerful agent of change.
Sector representation – importance of national and international links - The PEPAM
Unit plays a very important role in representing the sector at national level and also at
international level. The PEPAM Unit connects the sector to many African and
international networks and ensures a maximum level of participation of Senegalese
sector players.
Sustainability – Not enough attention paid to long-term financial sustainability – this
needs to be a central topic for policy dialogue in the coming years.
SWAp without MTEF – In Senegal there is no MTEF. All the investments are discrete
projects. The PEPAM Unit ensures compliance with the national procedures. This
choice has advantages and disadvantages:
• Less efficiency – no alignment with national procedures
• Less visibility – no MTEF means less capacity for finance planning and follow-up
• Less capacity to impact the sector for O&M costs and capacity building
• More capacity to attract new donors to the sector
• More capacity to be flexible with “not aligned” donors
Burkina Faso SWAp positive impacts
Positive impacts
• Overall vision of the sector (more visibility for rural water
supply and rural sanitation vs. urban)
• Sector organization (clearer roles, new organization of the
DGRE, new DGAEUE, SP/PAGIRE anchorage)
• Clear leadership of the sector (DGRE + ONEA)
• Sector information (physical – but not financial)
• Better link national and local planning (PCD-AEPA)
• Sector “marketing” and mobilization of donor funds
• New space for policy dialogue (CaPa)
• Positive image of the sector vis-à-vis Government (although
not translated into additional funds)
• Burkina Faso shows a very strong sector coordination that is
clearly and directly an effect of the SWAp implementation
Burkina Faso SWAp positive impacts
Positive impacts (continued)
• Better integration of sub-sectors (rural water supply first, rural
sanitation more recently)
• Capacity of re-allocation of donor support to sub-sector
lagging behind (mostly urban towards rural and sanitation)
• Implementation of SBS since 2010, with good perspective of
extension (more donors are interested)
• Easier to articulate common “donor front” to improve quality
of sector policies (rural sanitation subsidies, rural piped
systems management)
• PNAEPA and PAGIRE reduce cost of doing business for donors –
positive impact of the “Cadre Unifié d’Intervention (CUI)”
Burkina Faso – lessons learnt
Weaknesses – there is still (a lot of) room for improvement
• Reliability of information (M&E), consistency with JMP
• Not enough impact on implementation capacity (national and
regional levels + private sector)
• Low budget execution rate (maximum circa 60%)
• Still not enough perspective - current MTEF does not
guarantee resources over 3 years, because MTEF is for the
Ministry, not for the sector
• No reduction of donor dependency, no increased contributions
from national budget
• Participation of civil society still insufficient
• Donors are pushing a lot, but leadership from the Ministry has
significantly decreased over the last years
• PNAEPA institutional set up too rigid
South Africa SWAp positive impacts
• A sense of belonging to a sector and stakeholder
participation/collaboration (WSLG, MCC)
• Facilitated stakeholder understanding, adjustment, and
ownership of key WSS strategy (SWFS) and policies
• Increased focus on “soft” issues (coordination, capacity dev’t),
incl. GoSA recognition of need to fund sector dev’t
• Enhanced sector coordination at central and especially
provincial level (Collocom)
• DWA has assumed its changed role as regulator rather than
• Establishing WSS regulatory framework and guidelines to
districts (RPMS)
• Capacity and role of de-concentrated DWA provincial offices
South Africa SWAp positive impacts
• Facilitated decentralisation and transfer of WSS structures to
• Facilitated formulation of municipal policies, bylaws, plans
• Capacity building for municipalities, including councilors,
focus on enhancing good governance
• M&E framework and more uniform and regular reporting with
inputs from sector stakeholders, incl. municipalities
• Networking and cross-learning, including at municipal level
• Incentive for WSAs/WSPs to improve environmental
performance (blue/green drop)
• Inspired GoSA to embrace SWAp in health, education, and
justice sectors
South Africa – lessons learnt (1)
Interdepartmental collaboration – Is is difficult to get ministries with a non-leading role
and a different core mandate on board (e.g. education or health services in relation to
Champions – champions with a vision and commitment to the SWAp process, and good
working relations and trust among key staff across stakeholders, are important to
maintain drive, collaboration, and implementation progress
Policy and strategy implementation - Roll-out of policies, strategies and local bylaws
and plans need to be coordinated with relevant capacity building, and careful
consideration to address factors inhibiting policy implementation
Stakeholders outside government – there is a risk of SWAps becoming governmentcentric. Attention should be paid to ensure that other actors (private sector, civil
society) are strengthened and involved. It can be difficult for NGOs to fulfil advocacy
role, when also functioning as government funded service provider
Macro environment – SWAp is vulnerable to overall macro environment, policy setting,
and politics at both central and local level. SWAp should therefore seek to engage not
only technical staff but also political decision-makers at central and local level
South Africa – lessons learnt (2)
Policy-Funding-Results link. In the absence of strong regulation, conditionality of grants can and
objective allocation formulas can ensure that actual spending by municipalities follows policy
Results/sustainability balance -- Urgency to deliver and availability of funds results in not enough
attention being paid to key financial issues such as financial sustainability and value for money –
building blocks (such as billing systems and information on service delivery costs) need to be put in
place from the start.
Water sector-local government synergies. There is a need for a strong alliance between water
authorities and local government authorities to ensure synergies in areas such investment planning,
asset management, capacities for financial management or financial reporting.
Addressing thorny issues. There is a need for informed discussions about thorny issues that have a
major impact on the financial sustainability of the sector – in particular service levels and
institutional configurations to achieve economies of scale in service provision
Qualitative impact of donor funding -- Donor funding is key to ensure the availability of financial
resources required for sector development, which are be difficult to fund from the national budget
in a first instance.
Uganda SWAp positive impacts
• Improved sector coordination areas (JSR, WSSWG, District
WSS committees)
• More organised approach to sanitation (tripartite MoU
defines responsibilities, dedicated sub-working group)
• Improved reporting and accountability through annual sector
performance report and golden indicators
• MWE has successfully assumed its changed role as regulator
rather than implementer
• Improved capacity of local government thanks to support
from de-concentrated structures (WSDFs, TSUs, UOs)
• Improved governance (good governance working group and
action plan)
Uganda SWAp positive impacts
• Stronger strategic financial planning
• Improved understanding of strategic financial issues by all
stakeholders (e.g. funding gap)
• Attraction of donor funding
• More equitable spending
• New resources for sub-sectors lagging behind (e.g. sanitation)
• Stronger engagement with Ministry of Finance and enhanced
sector credibility
• Improved public financial management
• Increased attention to cost side (e.g. value for money
• Increased scrutiny of sector budgets by stakeholders
Uganda – lessons learnt
Inter-sectoral coordination – areas cutting across defined sectors or at the periphery of
sectors risk being under-prioritised or areas of inter-ministerial conflict
Champions – Champions with a vision and drive to facilitate change and collaboration
can play a crucial role in ensuring progress in difficult areas, such as sanitation. Donors
can also be the spark facilitating progress
Decentralisation – While decentralisation is necessary, it should be to units of an
appropriate size to ensure sufficient technical capacity and economy of scale.
Alternatively, adequate de-concentrated support/coordination structures should be
embedded in Government
User participation – Participation and capacity-building of users must be ensured right
from the planning of new structures to ensure commitment to O&M
Macro environment – SWAp is vulnerable to overall macro environment, policy setting,
and politics at both central and local level. SWAp should therefore seek to engage not
only technical staff but also political decision-makers at central and local level
Lesotho SWAp positive impacts
• Irreversible improvements in domestic coordination
• Civil society and private sector engaged in the sector
• Important reforms such as water regulator imminent
• Commercialisation of the urban water and sanitation sector
• Strong increase in funding to the sector both from
government and donors
• Sector financial planning has increased transparency and
strategic overview
Lesotho – lessons learnt
SWAp and sector reforms – reforms can equal SWAp even if the label is not used.
Communication –Widespread confusion between a sector wide approach and the
modality of sector budget support. Sector budget support can distract from SWAp.
Partial ownership –Most regard SWAp as something done for the sake of donors. It is
easy to underestimate the power and influence needed to align varying interests to the
changes implied by reforms and a SWAp.
Pragmatism – The pragmatic, multi-modality approach adopted by Lesotho is a viable
path to a sector wide approach. Projects aligned to policy targets are accepted even if
they are stand alone and do not directly use government systems. Project
implementation units are accepted as inherently efficient as an instrument of
implementation rather than just an instrument for channelling assistance.
Dialogue skills – SWAp implies that donors shift their involvement from project level
controls towards policy level debate. This implies new skills at country office level.
Continuity – A stop and go approach to supporting sector wide approaches is
potentially damaging and can undermines the concept.
Jordan “SWAp” positive impacts
• Massive improvements in use of private sector &engagement
with civil society both in irrigation and water supply
• The MTEF and national programming offer strong potential
advantages in the future
• Policy and strategy work has led to open debate on water
sector priorities and objectives
• Private sector engagement/ commercialisation of water supply
and sanitation
• Flexible delivery has allowed innovative approaches to be
Jordan– lessons learnt
SWAp and sector reforms – SWAp can emerge naturally without explicit launch
Political economy – more effort to understand the political economy is needed
especially for “difficult to succeed “reforms
Donor coordination – systematic under-estimation of difficulty of achieving
government led coordination – code of conduct is an under-used tool
Linkage to sector budget – recurrent costs of donor financed innovations need to be on
budget if a success story is to be continued
Institutional anchorage – projects that finance across institutions bring coordination
benefits but can also distort mandates
Regional programs and calls for proposal modalities – systematic underestimate of the
information exchange needed to ensure proposals are country led and made good use