Project: Improving social accountability in the water sector through the development of quality standards and citizen participation in monitoring in Tajikistan
Sectors: Governance, water and sanitation
Executing Agency: Oxfam Tajikistan
Grant Amount: US$850,000
Closing Date: January, 2018
Over the last decade, the Government of Tajikistan (GoT) has taken steps to improve water supply and sanitation (WSS), but problems persisted. Access to water services have now a coverage of 90% in urban areas, but only 47% in rural areas. Water quality is uneven and service interruptions are frequent. Only 14% percent of Tajikistanis have access to centralized sanitation. Obstacles limiting access include aging infrastructure, inconsistent maintenance, and weak capacity of providers. Amidst a decentralization program giving municipalities more responsibilities in WSS, weak participation of citizens in planning and providing input on WSS remains a challenge.
Public service providers also lack transparency and accountability, resulting in customers’ distrust, low levels of satisfaction with services received, weak willingness to pay which translates in lower revenues to pay for improvements. Few mechanisms are in place for citizens, especially women, to engage with providers in order to demand better services. In addition, citizens do not have adequate opportunities to provide feedback on service standards.
Oxfam Tajikistan was awarded a GPSA grant to work in eight districts and the capital city of Dushanbe to strengthen the capacity of citizens and CSOs to monitor WSS services and develop appropriate service standards. Women participation is emphasized throughout this process. Oxfam Tajikistan, which is partnering with the Consumer Union of Tajikistan (CU-TJK), has achieved a number of successes with the use of social accountability in the country. The components of this grant aim to: 1) engage citizens, CSOs, and stakeholders to develop performance standards and indicators for WSS; 2) partner with the CU-TJK and others to develop and establish a mechanism for civil society to monitor WSS services at local, district, and national levels; 3) increase the awareness and capacity of consumers and providers to participate in this mechanism; 4) capture and share learning globally; and 5) support program coordination.
In July 2013, Oxfam Tajikistan held an initial workshop in Dushanbe bringing together stakeholders and partners to lay the groundwork for the project. Key expected milestones and results of the project through 2017 include:
Adoption and dissemination of improved performance WSS standards and indicators in eight project areas.
Development of a civil society-based monitoring framework based on input and contributions from consumers.
Increase in the share of consumers and service providers able to demand their rights and responsibilities within a social accountability mechanism from 0% to 90%.
Increase in the share of stakeholders and service providers in targeted areas having created, recognized, or formalized space and processes for consumer input from 0% to 80%.
The share of women in consultative and participatory activities on WSS policies and regulations is at least 50%.
Increase in the share of consumer recommendations acted on by authorities from 0% to 30%. Women will be the drivers of at least 70% of recommendations so acted on.
Over the next two years, 84,000 people will be participating in a new project-supported monitoring system
The grant is at its early stages and lessons will be added as they become available. However, Oxfam Tajikistan will apply its well tested theory of change that can be described as “convening and brokering” to help build institutions and promote participatory decision-making. Oxfam will hone its brokering/convening skills to bring together government actors and civil society to work together and tackle challenges in the water sector.
Funding provided by the Water Partnership Program (WPP) to the GPSA will help to achieve this and to further expand social accountability activities implemented by the GPSA project in Tajikistan. Oxfam will leverage the relationships it has already built with national and subnational WSS government authorities in order to accelerate the adoption and institutionalization of WSS performance indicators through social accountability mechanisms in the WSS sector across the country, including rural, semi-urban and urban areas. The overall objective of this expansion effort is to support the emergence of a conducive environment for advancing the social accountability agenda in the water sector in Tajikistan and beyond, and to further strengthen specific components of the TWISA project in two selected communities of Khujand town in order to improve service delivery standards in the WSS sector in Tajikistan.