Monday, 13 April 2009

Key success factors for WatSan

Once more ex Africa aliquid boni − to paraphrase the Latin tag (original here). I say this as I came across for the first time the other day the excellent paper Managing water supply and sanitation services to developing communities: key success factors by Professor C. F. Schutte of the University of Pretoria. His ‘key success factors’ are:

1. Developing credibility of the organisation providing WatSan services with the community it serves:
(a) Creating an organisation-wide culture of service to customers,
(b) Ensuring reliability in the water supply, and
(c) Ensuring community involvement.

2. The creation of a culture focussing on maximising income and minimising losses:
(a) Create a culture and awareness of focussing on generation and collection of income, and
(b) Create a culture of cost consciousness and focus on minimisation of losses.

The paper has several ‘pearls of wisdom’ − for example:

The typical approach of a bureaucratic type of organisation is that it functions as a cost centre. This means expenditure is budgeted for and the approved budget is spent irrespective of what the income is. To be successful a water services organisation must operate as a business centre which means that expenditure must be linked to income. This requires that the financial systems must support such an approach and furthermore that a culture of cost consciousness must be established throughout the organisation – with management leading by example.

This is a really good paper, well worth reading in full.