NEWS

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Learning and Policy Briefs are now available

A series of six Enterprise in WASH Learning Briefs and four Policy Briefs are now available on the website in the research outputs section. They are available in English, Indonesian and Vietnamese. A huge thanks to all partners who provided input into the development of these briefs which are drawn from three years of research conducted with Enterprise in WASH partners. The learning briefs are written specifically for civil society organisations (non-government organisations) working with water and sanitation enterprises.

The series of 6 learning briefs cover the following topics:

  • Learning brief 1: CSO roles
  • Learning brief 2: Know your private sector
  • Learning brief 3: Working with governments
  • Learning brief 4: Driving equality
  • Learning brief 5: Private and social enterprise business models
  • Learning brief 6: Working with motivations and incentives

If you would like some printed copies of these briefs and the A3 poster, please email Melita  – melita.grant@uts.edu.au

Enterprise in WASH featured at the WASH Futures 2016 conference, May 2016

 

Our project featured at the WASH Futures conference through a training session and a presentation.

 

The training session titled ‘Private Sector and Marketing Exchange Approaches for Equitable WASH Outcomes’ was designed and delivered in collaboration with Monash University, International WaterCentre, The University of North Carolina, and iDE. This drew on research conducted by each organisation and included findings from different stages of our project.

 

The presentation titled ‘Are Poor Households Connecting? Private Water Enterprises in Rural Vietnam’ drew on findings from the third stage of our research. This questioned what private sector involvement means for equitable service delivery, and to identify mechanisms to ensure poor and disadvantaged groups are reached.

 

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Developing guidance materials for CSOs (Feb – Jun 2016)

 

In February 2016 we entered the translation phase of our project, where we have been turning our research findings into meaningful guidance material for CSOs, including six guidance notes, a policy briefing, a video and a poster.

 

The guidance notes are currently being reviewed by the Project CSO partners. These provide principles, processes, examples, and triggering questions aimed at assisting CSOs to identify appropriate roles and strategies for enterprise engagement in WASH, and cover the following topics:

 

  • CSO roles
  • Know your private sector
  • Business models
  • Working with government
  • Driving equality in water and sanitation services delivered by enterprises
  • Working with incentives

 

The format and design of these guidance materials has been informed by a survey targeted at CSOs about their preferred formats of communication we ran earlier in the year.

 

We are really looking forward to receiving the partners’ inputs and feedback to take these materials to the “next level” of relevance and usability for CSOs.

National Workshop on Management of Rural Water Supply Systems and the role of the private sector (November 2015)

 

“It is very important research… so you should use it in your policies and actions at local level. I very much agree all findings and the recommendations of this research” The Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development Vice Minister Hoàng Văn Thắng, Viet Nam.

 

In November 2015, Dr. Juliet Willetts, Dr. Đoàn Thế Lợi (IWEM) Per Ljung (EMWF) delivered key recommendations for policy development and implementation concerning Decree 15 in the rural water sector, to ensure effective and equitable service provision in the long-term. These recommendations were based on research examining the policy and regulatory environment in targeted provinces, and comparison of the operation, customer satisfaction and equity outcomes of private enterprises compared with other management models (which include cooperative, commune people’s committee, state-owner enterprises and community). The workshop attracted representatives from all 63 provinces in Viet Nam, including approximately 300 Government representatives. The workshop was combined with a closing workshop for National Target Program (NTP) and was opened by Hugh Borrowman, former Ambassador to Vietnam. It also included presentations from private sector companies managing rural water supply systems and members of provincial government. The workshop was designed to:

  • Promote stakeholder engagement with the findings of joint ISF-UTS, IWEM,   EMWF, CRES-VNU research with government and sector stakeholders; and
  • Consider and discuss implications of the research findings for rural water supply tariffs, incentives and regulation in the context of the Rural Development Program which will replace the National Target Program in supporting improvements in access to rural water supply.

The workshop resulted in a recommendation that a Taskforce was required to advance the recommendations made in the Policy Report.

 

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Enterprise in WASH: In-country research, August 2015

 

The team recently returned from Vietnam where data was collected for Targeted Study 3, which aims to address a knowledge gap concerning equity outcomes of enterprise engagement in water services. In particular, the research examined equity outcomes for private enterprises and for other management models in place for rural water supply in in Vietnam.

 

Researchers collected data which will help to determine the extent to which poor people in the case study sites are excluded, or not, from connecting to piped systems provided by a range of service provider types including small scale water entrepreneurs. Interviews were held with Commune Leaders, water service providers and low-income householders. The research took place in three communes in northern Vietnam, and three communes in southern Vietnam. In addition to collecting data on water connections and supply sources, the team is doing spatial GIS analysis to explore any relationship between the locations of water services and low-income households.   Findings from this research will inform governments and service providers about how to best ensure equity outcomes in water service delivery.

 

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Enterprise in WASH featured at WEDC International Conference (July 2015) and Stockholm World Water Week (August 2015)

 

Juliet Willetts presented at the WEDC International on the ‘political economy influences on enterprise engagement in Indonesia, Vietnam and Timor-Leste’. The paper and presentation for this conference drew on findings from the second stage of our research.

 

Our project also featured at the 2015 Stockholm World Water Week where we presented on a combination of findings across different stages of our research, reflecting on perspectives of small-scale water enterprises, their motivations, drivers and barriers. See the presentation here.

 

Juliet at wwweek Aug 2015

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Private sector roles in Timor-Leste

 

The team recently completed data collection in Timor-Leste for Targeted Study 2, which looked at the motivations and levels of entrepreneurship within existing private sector actors, and the potential for them to play additional roles to support water and sanitation service delivery. Interviews were held with water contractors, private companies that build water systems, and also with district supply shops that sell toilet components. Analysis is underway!

Current research in Vietnam – equity outcomes for the poor

 

Targeted Study 3, which explores equity outcomes of private water service provision in rural areas in Vietnam, has been extended beyond looking only at the equity outcomes of the poor served by private water enterprises, to looking at outcomes of those served by other types of water service providers as well (e.g. government, community). Data collection is currently underway with partners EMWF and CRES, and the approach will use spatial analysis using GIS.  This research component also involves partnership with the Government of Vietnam – the National Centre for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (NCERWASS) and Integrated Water resources and Economics and Management (IWEM) in Vietnam.

 

Research team (ISF, EMWF and CRES) with a private water enterprise in the Mekong Delta, September 2014

Research team (ISF, EMWF and CRES) with a private water enterprise in the Mekong Delta, September 2014

In-country dissemination workshop, Jakarta, March 2015

 

In partnership with Indonesian CSO and university partners, Plan and UGM, the Enterprise in WASH team launched two major reports in Jakarta on 19 March 2015. The studies were on the sanitation value chain in Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) and on motivators, barriers and drivers to entry for enterprises. Organised by Plan Indonesia, the event was opened by Pak Nugroho Tri Utomo, Director of Housings and Settlements, National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) and DFAT representative Anne Joselin, and presented findings from the report to a diverse audience. The summary report was also translated into Bahasa.

 

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Key findings from the value chain study included:

• Areas of high poverty and remoteness also experienced high costs to build a durable toilet, hence ways to increase affordability for the poor to ensure equitable outcomes must be developed by governments and other agencies
• The toilet pan was a very minor cost component of the toilet (2-4%) and hence should not be the sole focus of sanitation business development, but rather ways to reduce the price and weight of superstructures requires additional attention for remote rural areas.
• Variability of cost in different locations was due to two main factors. Firstly, the increasing costs along the supply chain (due to transport costs and profit margins of intermediaries) of toilet pans, cement, zinc sheets and reinforcing iron. Secondly, wide variation in the costs of locally collected materials (sand, gravel, bricks etc.) which in some locations comprised the highest cost components.

 

Key findings from the motivators, barriers and drivers to entry study included:
• More successful entrepreneurs demonstrated a larger number of entrepreneurial traits, especially a proactive approach, innovativeness and risk-taking traits.
• Sanitation entrepreneurs and leaders of water enterprises generally demonstrated a strong sense of social responsibility and commitment to serve the poor, however sludge removal businesses did not exhibit this trait.
• Enterprises located in urban and sub-urban areas were consistently more successful than those in rural areas, likely due to economies of scale.
• In terms of challenges, entrepreneurs emphasised operational aspects to be the most challenging, including high cost of raw materials and high fixed expenses, which likely relates to the way businesses price their services. A consciousness and commitment to maintain affordable pricing for the social services they offer means they struggle to cover operational costs.

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Enterprise in WASH: In-country research, September 2014

 

The Enterprise in WASH team has just returned from working together with partners East Meets West Foundation (EMWF) and SNV, and Vietnam National University.

To look at the viability of market-based solutions in low-density areas, we continued to collect data about costs along the sanitation supply chain. This involved interviews with households, material shops and transport providers in two remote mountainous areas in Dien Bien Province and Hoa Binh Province.

We also started looking at what motivates private and social enterprise to be involved in WASH services, and the key barriers they face. Water service providers in three provinces in the Mekong Delta region (Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Long An), and female and male masons in Dien Bien province provided many interesting insights.

Over the next months our partners will continue data collection for these two studies, with outputs expected in early 2015.

WEDC International Conference, Hanoi, Vietnam, September 2014

 

We presented preliminary results from the sanitation supply-chain analysis in the province of Dien Bien in North-west Vietnam, a low-density rural setting with high rates of poverty (conference paper and presentation).

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Enterprise in WASH: In-country research, June 2014

 

In June 2014 the Enterprise in WASH team conducted our second in-country research visit to Indonesia. We collected data on the costs across the sanitation value chain in two low-density rural settings in Nusa Tenggara Timur and Manggarai Timur, in the province of East Nusa Tenggara in eastern Indonesia. In particular we’re looking at the impact of distance and transport costs.

We also started interviews to identify what motivates private sector actors’ involvement in WASH service provision for the poor, exploring how these drivers can be harnessed and building an evidence base on real and perceived ‘barriers to entry’ in enterprise development. University partner UGM will continue data collection for this study with different types of enterprises, namely water enterprises, sanitation entrepreneurs and private desludging companies.