“Everyone Forever” is a set of principles for water sector service delivery promoted by Water for People and its partners, including IRC International Water and Sanitation Center and Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor.Everyone, Forever has three main tenets: 1. universal access for every individual and institution starting at the district level; 2. long-term indicators of sustainable service delivery; and 3. meaningful, financial engagement with communities and governments.

Everyone, Forever is a response to the historic focus on inputs and short-term metrics that have previously prevented the sort of transformational change necessary to dramatically and sustainably improve access to water services in developing countries.

We at Evidence Action are committed to sustainable services with our Dispensers for Safe Water program, and are keen to contribute to the goal of Everyone, Forever.

Here is how Dispensers for Safe Water supports the principles put forth by Everyone, Forever:

  • First, Dispensers for Safe Water explicitly seeks universal access in a district (meaning everyone in a district can quickly and easily walk to a chlorine dispenser at a water source). Universal coverage is also a practical goal. The more dense a network of dispensers, the lower our running costs in that area. The Everyone Forever approach focuses in particular on access to increased water quantity in rural areas by increasing the number of improved water sources. Water quality, especially for stored water in the home, may still be a challenge – growing evidence points to high rates of recontamination during transport and storage. Universal access to dispensers can complement this infrastructure, ensuring that people can expect and receive safe drinking water.
  • Second, Dispensers for Safe Water has a perpetual service delivery model with a field component that ensures ongoing maintenance and support;
  • Third, we have an explicit strategy for financial sustainability with a plan to fund 100% of on-going service delivery costs from revenues earned from sales of carbon credits, together with fees for other services and public financing. (link to carbon blog post)
  • Lastly, monitoring and accountability for on-going service is at the heart of the dispensers business model. Because our revenue is directly tied to demonstrated usage and performance, high quality monitoring and data are at the core of our program.

Following are key Everyone Forever principles as we understand them, and an example of how Dispensers for Safe Water furthers each.

Everyone Forever: Success is defined as every person and public facility in a district having access to improved water and sanitation services.

Dispensers for Safe Water: We target our program at the district level, and once a district is chosen, our objective is to blanket the area with dispensers – typically more than one per square kilometer. Take a look at the example from Hamisi District, Vihiga County, Kenya – where there are 872 dispensers:

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 6.34.00 PM
Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 6.34.00 PM

In Hamisi, the distance between dispensers ranges from 0.24 to 0.77 km apart. This means that even the household furthest from a dispenser is less than a 10 minute walk away. The green dots represent a dispenser:

Dispenser Map
Dispenser Map

Everyone Forever: Investments are made in such a way as to address future challenges of water system operations and maintenance (O&M), repair, and eventual replacement without additional financial investments from development agencies.

Dispensers for Safe Water: We have developed a business model which should allow us to cover fully-loaded costs for operating dispensers reaching 25 million people by 2018. We are focusing on generating carbon credits from communities’ use of dispensers – a clean water treatment technology – which are then sold to private companies seeking to offset their own emissions. This long-term revenue stream is reinvested in the program, covering all operations and maintenance costs.

We are also looking at developing supplementary revenue streams, including bundling charges for dispenser services with existing community payment mechanisms, and contracting with local governments to deliver services to their constituents where Dispensers for Safe Water could serve as a low-cost utility service, ensuring safe drinking water for communities without access to major piped systems.

Everyone Forever: All role players—including governments and communities—have a financial stake in the program from the start and there is a clear plan for long run financing from a range of permanent stakeholders.

Dispensers for Safe Water: Local government engagement is the starting point of our program with key decision makers deeply involved in the initial process of setting up chlorine dispensers in a district and introducing them to community members. In addition to helping communities capture value from the sale of carbon credits earned through their behavior change using dispensers, we are also engaging with local governments to make direct financial contributions to providing this service, using our ability to bring in other sources of sustainable funding to leverage their investment and stretch limited resources.

Everyone Forever: Development agencies will monitor field results for at least 10 years, with the overall goal being that, during these 10 years, monitoring capacity and responsibility are firmly embedded within communities and government. The data will be publicly available and accessible by communities, government, donors, and the international development community.

Dispensers for Safe Water: We have a long-term commitment to monitoring. The first dispenser, installed in 2007, is still monitored today. We use an “issue tracker” dashboard, sort of like “tickets” that people send to their IT department in an office, that allows us to track and resolve issues with service delivery in real time. Any community member can report a dispenser service delivery issue, which is captured in this system and prioritized for resolution. We currently have a 97% service uptime rate among the dispensers in Kenya which our program directly operates.

Everyone Forever: Programming leads from full coverage at district levels to national level.

Dispensers for Safe Water: DSW is already achieving district-level coverage in several districts in Kenya and Uganda, with additional districts being added constantly. Our goal is to continue expanding, district-by-district until we are operating on a truly national scale. However, it is important to note that in some districts the technology is just not suitable, and another technology or service delivery model is a better fit. Chlorine dispensers, like any technology, are not a “one size fits all” solution, but we do believe the majority of the rural population in countries we target can be successfully and sustainably reached – making huge gains toward water quality for everyone, forever.

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