Human Resource Development for WASH

Human Resource Development for Sanitation South Asian Conference on Sanitation 2018, Pakistan

Empirical researches provide evidence that Human Resources Management (HRM) is key contributing factor for improvement of organisational performance in service efficiency and quality in public sector . Similarly, there are considerable chances that dissatisfied employees can perform worse . Globally, many developing economies are lacking significant numbers of water professionals, and the necessary knowledge, experience and specialist skills to meet the rising demand for water and sanitation services . Despite the significant investment for MDG target 7c, to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”, in infrastructure, technological innovation and institutional reform has not been accompanied by the necessary focus on the size, competencies and enabling environment for the human resource base needed to design, construct, operate and maintain such services to meet the target and go beyond, towards universal coverage . To address this gap, Developmental actors has committed to expand international cooperation for capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, waste water treatment, recycling and reuse technologies to strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management by 2030 in SDGs 6 target.

Current Practice in member countries

India remained very proactive by providing a road map for Human Resource Development. Therefore, all new programmes require renewed emphasis on capacity building, both of the programme managers as well as the implementers in the field. The State and district officials, especially the Collectors/CEOs of Zilla Panchayats (district level local government body) training needs have been mapped that included the various approaches, especially community approaches and triggering for collective behaviour change. The elected representatives are also being involved in various orientation/training programmes. In order to replicate the necessary skills, number of organizations, as recommended by the State Governments, are being empanelled as the Key Resource Centres (KRCs) and given the necessary orientation, so that they in turn, can scale up the capacity building programme in the respective States. The work of these KRCs is being streamlined, and better coordination attempted between them, and the States.
Pakistan felt the needs of human resource development in recent years especially after the scaling up of PATS that emphasized on behavioral change at the community as well as service providers level. The initial focus was on developing different training manual and testing various approaches through using formal and informal structures. Lack of human resources and neglected capacity building initiatives has resulted in low performance of the sector, although there are Urban Units Academies and local government academies that provides ad-hoc capacity building program for WASH sector but there role and of responsibilities are not clear and some time become overlapping. Further, the sector doesn’t have benchmark for human resource needed for the sector development Thus, human resource development initiatives were based on projectile model rather systematic approach till very recent when Government of Pakistan identified this gap in provincial WASH sector development plans. As the first step, the Government of Punjab has recently conduced capacity assessment gap for WASH, and developed a road map for capacity development. Now a comprehensive exercise is being taken in the province to understand the gaps in current capacities, and how WASH capacity development can be integrated into overall human resource development strategies.
The Water Supply and Drainage Department established in early 1950 obtained technical capacity through training of professional engineers and Technical Assistants to design and construct both minor and major water supply schemes across the country, financed by direct budget allocations from the treasury. National Water Supply & Drainage Board constituted in 1975 is the lead agency in the sector for technical guidance, overall management and capacity building of the employees. The board has over 85% of the urban and rural water supply development and management staff. The country identified the needs for capacity building of the environmental professionals in public and private sector on the design, construction and operation of ecological sanitation options and constructed wetland. Sri Lanka’s challenges are mainly on the improvement of environmental sanitation. Actions identified to provide district level septage management systems and capacity building of Local Government agencies to maintain septage management and improvement of the status of school sanitation etc.
Under staffing and poor capacity at the sub- national level, as reported in SACOSAN IV paper, is one of the most deferring factors in against scaling up of sanitation and ensuring universal coverage in addition to insufficient donation and inadequate political will. The poor public awareness to realize link between sanitation and health is identified as another gap at the community level. Presently, no systematic approach for capacity building is being reported at the regional level except for opportunities emerged with different partners and donors. However, there is commitment that infrastructure projects for potable water supply and sanitation will include training component on hygiene and sustainable environmental management.
The Bangladesh Sector Development Plan 2011-2025 for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene identified capacity development underpinning unleashing the human potential as key ingredient in achieving its strategic vision. It highlighted a stepwise human resource development approach for the sector. With more emphasis on building the capacities of community structures, the plan gears stakeholder’s active engagement at different levels. Like Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) is being integrated by adding the skills and motivation to the Community Health Promoters (CHPs)/ volunteer working in communities.
Water and Sanitation Division (W&SD) and Department of Engineering Services (DES) are the central agencies responsible for executing urban water supply and sanitation programmes in the country. Districts play key role in community awareness-raising and building capacity amongst key professionals and encouraging private sector participation. Comprehensive School Health Division of Ministry of Education is the lead coordinating agency for WASH in Schools in the country. Trained school health coordinators are recognized as an effective medium to promote WASH in school programming.
The sanitation sector in Nepal has envisioned the following post-MDG perspectives considering the dynamics and sustainability of the sector activities: produce quality human resources by undertaking periodic TNA, developing the WASH Sector Capacity Development Master Plan and conducting competency based systematic capacity development; and intensify the stakeholders' efforts for fecal sludge management by means of increased advocacy, research and development and institutional capacity development etc. National Water Supply and Sanitation Training Center (NWSSTC) of the DWSS has undertaken the Training Need Assessment (TNA) of the WASH sector in collaboration with Development Partners and stakeholders based on evidence and market research. The finding of the assessment has become a cornerstone to promote systematic capacity development in the sector through NWSSTC and Development partners.
Madives’ draft Water and Sanitation policy of 2015 emphasized to improve governance by developing human resource capacity. There is lack of human, financial and technical capacities in the private sector for a solid engagement in public-private partnership for the provision and management of water and sanitation services. In addition Lack of human capacity to respond in an emergency and in mitigating the impacts of climate change (water shortages during dry periods).
Critical Analysis

Overall the SAARC countries have taken initiatives for human resource development to ensure effective and sustained safe water and sanitation services to their citizen. However, there initiatives are ranges from realization about the needs for human resource capacity to defining of clear road maps with human resource development. Some progress has also been made in human resource development in few countries especially in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Bhutan etc but mostly through project approach. The human development approach in Sri Lanka is near to system-based approach. Ideally the human capacity building plans must be developed addressing: The capacity of institutions to fulfil sector roles and responsibilities for sustainable service delivery at scale, including the availability of necessary structures, tools, training, and incentives; the capacity of individuals to effectively engage in the sector through sector institutions or as educated consumers; and the capacity of sector stakeholders to adapt and innovate by engaging in (collective) sector learning

Key areas of discussion
  1. Is there any sector capacities need assessment for urban and rural sanitation organized in recent years? Is there any bench marking available that how many sanitation service providers are available versus population?
  2. Do we have clear roles and responsibilities roles and responsibilities of key agencies and their staff? Are we clear about the role of community-based organizations and ready to mainstream them as frontline voluntary workforce?
  3. Do we have quality bench marking for affectivity and efficiency Have we mapped WASH expertise that exists for provision of water sanitation and hygiene services and facilities, are there any data bases at national and regional level?
  4. Do we understand that functions of system demands both management and technical expertise?
  5. How do we identify capacities and defined them with in sector? How are we planning for investment Support Programs from both the Federal and Provincial levels and how they can be expanded and focused on the delivery of sustainable outcomes?
  6. How to fill the gaps of operating and maintenance as well as Cost Recovery from user fees and how to design capacity need assessments to include this aspects?
  7. How to develop sector capacities on M&E system, covering infrastructure indicators, social indicators and quality aspects? How to address knowledge gaps on Water Quality Issues and deplorable sanitation conditions?