The GSF-supported programme in Benin promotes sustainable and equitable sanitation and hygiene within disadvantaged communities in rural areas. The overarching aim of the programme is to improve health and living conditions, as well as to help Benin achieve post-2015 development goals. The programme works in 27 communes across four departments (regions), collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health. Local administrations in communes serve as Sub-grantees, who manage the selection of civil society organizations, which in turn serve as implementing agencies.
The programme went through its start-up phase in 2015, building a foundation for effective implementation. Key actors, including the Programme Coordinating Mechanism, the Executing Agency, the Ministry of Health, the communes and the Country Programme Monitor fully assumed their roles, and core programme documents were developed.
In addition, the first 14 communes where programme activities will be implemented were selected, following a strategic process that identified communes with strong political leadership and commitment to improved sanitation. These communes are now working with the programme to select implementing agencies.
Throughout the year, the programme supported and participated in a range of WASH events. National events included National Hygiene and Basic Sanitation Day; a workshop to validate the first trainer’s guide on the national sanitation and hygiene strategy; a national WASH sector meeting; World Water Day; and World Toilet Day. Regional and international events included AfricaSan 4 in Dakar and World Water Week in Stockholm.
Delays in establishing the core programme team have led to delays and difficulties in implementing the programme. Efforts are being made to fill gaps in the programme team. In addition, local elections were postponed, which in turn delayed the selection of targeted communes and subsequent implementation on the ground.
Learning and innovation
Benin is part of the GSF’s francophone learning exchange programme, along with Madagascar and Togo. In 2015, the Benin team benefited from best practices and lessons learned from their colleagues in implementing CLTS. This included a joint review of the GSF programme in Togo and a study visit to Madagascar. These experiences should help boost effectiveness and prevent common pitfalls going forward.
The priority in 2016 will be to trigger and train Sub-grantees in CLTS so that implementation on the ground can begin. Technical support and learning exchanges with the Togo and Madagascar programmes will continue, to ensure that lessons learned from other GSF-supported countries can be integrated into the programme implementation strategy.
When WASH practitioners understand the patterns and causes of slippage, they can devise innovative strategies to avoid it.
Global Sanitation Fund programmes are designed to incorporate gender considerations and equity dimensions.
Monitoring slippage should go beyond the numbers to truly understand behaviour change and community dynamics.