Rural areas often pose the most critical challenges to the delivery of safe, reliable and continuous water and sanitation services to all segments of the population. This is reflected by the fact that eight out of ten of the 840 million people still lacking access to a basic drinking water service come from rural areas. The same is true for those without access to basic sanitation services, 70 per cent of whom live in rural areas. Rural populations, both in the global north and south, face common structural challenges that have often marginalised them when compared to the generally greater progress being made in urban areas.
At Aguaconsult, we have extensive experience determining the nature of these challenges and supporting the development of appropriate responses. We know that rural populations are often marginalised and suffer from undue political influence, especially during periods of electioneering. We have experience in the analysis and strengthening of decentralisation processes from national to local governments. We have seen how well-intentioned aid programmes can actually undermine and fragment the capacity of national institutions working in rural areas. And we understand that rural populations are not monolithic and will require bespoke management solutions, particularly for water supply, that will range from self-supply and supported community management, all the way through to fledgling rural utilities.
Over the years, we have worked on a range of projects in support of rural service delivery, including:
- Research and development of improved management and regulatory arrangements.
- Policy research and development into decentralisation and the provision of services.
- Institutional assessments, organisational reform processes and capacity building.
- Training of government service authorities and service providers.
- Field-based research, including management household surveys.
- Feasibility studies and programme design.
Aguaconsult is a co-lead of the Sustainable Services theme for the Rural Water Supply Network, a global network of over 10,000 members in more than 150 countries providing a strategic platform for knowledge sharing.
To find out what we are doing in the area of rural services and how we can help, contact Harold Lockwood or Bill Twyman.