Aguaconsult supports the Kingdom of Swaziland to undergo its first Joint Sector Review

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Despite considerable achievements, such as raising improved water access from 39% (1990) to 74% (2015, JMP 2015), finalising the Integrated Water Resources Management Master Plan, and undertaking key sector studies, the water and sanitation sector in Swaziland faces a number of challenges. Sustainability of water services is a major issue, government data suggests access to improved sanitation is declining, and many informal urban settlements lack adequate options for water and sanitation services. Whilst the government has set its vision for universal water and sanitation access by 2022, the sector lacks an overarching plan to achieve this, or a monitoring system to track progress towards this. Despite the country being relatively small, the coordination and information flow between organisations can be limited, with agencies often planning in silos. There are plans for a Sector-Wide Approach to planning, although this has been slow to materialise.

In 2016 Aguaconsult was contracted by WaterAid to help the sector in Swaziland undergo its first water and sanitation Joint Sector Review (JSR). Aguaconsults involvement included helping to raise stakeholder understanding and consensus building, through to organisation and delivery of the JSR event, and reporting outcomes. Will Tillett provided mentoring and support to the JSR Secretariat, Local Organising Committee and Session Convenors, helping to define the scope and objectives, analyse sector data and develop session content. JSRs are cyclical, recurrent processes rather than one-off events, and Will took a ‘hands-off’ advisory approach, ensuring sector stakeholders led in all aspects of the process, to maximise ‘learning whilst doing’, to build capacity for future JSRs.

The 2.5 day JSR event was opened by the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister and four government ministers, and attended by 120 stakeholders from a diverse range of organisations. The event was described as a ‘considerable success’ by senior members of government, and received very positive feedback from participants. Overall 18 key action points were agreed on during the event, and opportunities were identified to institutionalise future JSRs within the monitoring, coordination, and planning landscape of the sector.