Technical Assistance to the Programme of Improving Governance and Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH) for rural peopleClient: EC / National Authorising Office of the Solomon Islands | Sectors: Natural Resources
Ecorys is providing Technical Assistance to the Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (RWASH) Division and the wider Environmental Health Division within the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in the Solomon Islands.
This RWASH project strengthens national systems for RWASH service delivery in rural areas, as well as delivering policy coordination, monitoring, and accountability. The overall objective of the RWASH programme is to improve the living conditions of the rural population through the implementation of the Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (RWASH) policy, including sustainable management of the systems and promoting system resilience to climate change.
Country level capacity and resource constraints in the Solomon Islands have produced a range of challenges in the RWASH sector, which in turn have restricted rural development and health. In rural areas (where over 80% of the population resides) access to safe water is estimated at 37% and access to improved sanitation facilities is estimated at 18%, which is a major factor contributing to poor health and development outcomes in the country. In addition, the Solomon Islands are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially sea-level rise and pronounced drought, which will have severe consequences on water and sanitation.
Under Ecorys’ management, as of July 2018, 31 villages had become No Open Defecation (NOD). This was achieved through using a community centred approach (Community-Led Total Sanitation) which creates long term, sustainable behaviour change and improvement of WASH infrastructure approach. Additional population reached with sanitation was 4,858 and additional population with hand washing facilities was 4,861.
A major component of the RWASH programme is the development of a comprehensive, sector-wide monitoring and evaluation framework, coined the Rural WASH Information System (RIS). The project has designed and implemented this innovative national information system to collect data on communities’, schools’ and health facilities’ access to water, sanitation and hygiene, providing a national picture to access. Data collection has been transformed through the introduction of tablet computers, which will be rolled-out across the entire system. Data is collected through an easy-to-use survey, which is stored on the tablet and uploaded to an online database to assess progress against (SDG) targets and will be shared with stakeholders at the provincial, national and international level as relevant.
Ecorys is driving community engagement through conducting research which will enable RWASH to develop tailored hygiene messaging for different contexts in the Solomon Islands, including focus group discussions held at village level. The information gathered will provide the Program with valuable understanding of local contexts, in order to design relevant hygiene messages for different areas. Specifically, the WASH approach used in schools has adopted the UNICEF 3 star system to improve the effectiveness of hygiene behaviour change programmes, which is underpinned by gender appropriate provision of WASH services.