Component 2: Sanitation Development (US$3.0 million). This component will finance goods, works and services to provide strategic support for improved sanitation within the target rural communities and to enhance the Government’s strategy for improved sanitation in rural areas. The technical assistance included under component 2 focuses on behavior change and demand creation – as a first step in the process. In addition, however other strategic issues associated with the enabling environment, markets and industry, to accelerate access and sustainability will be addressed through the preparation of a national rural sanitation strategy. Other specific activities are described below and will be complemented through on-going trust funded analytical work and technical assistance provided by the Bank with support of the Water Global Practice.
This component will finance retrofitting of existing sanitary facilities in selected schools and other eligible public buildings within the project areas (for example health clinics). The retrofitting works for sanitation facilities will build upon the successful implementation models and experience developed through the RWSSP-2. Standard designs will be prepared in consultation with the Ministry of Education and applied (and adapted as required) where possible to selected public schools and kindergartens within project areas. The project investments will cover more than 46 schools and kindergartens, servicing around 16,000 students. These works will complement the water supply investments and together will contribute to improved development outcomes (including public health).
In addition, SRWSSDP will extend beyond the targeted sanitation interventions at schools by providing focused technical assistance to support improved sanitation at the household level. This will include the development of standard designs, including guidelines for construction and operations, for household latrines and septic systems for rural areas and technical assistance (TA) to support Ayil Okmotus in target areas - to put in place systems for safe septic sludge removal and treatment / disposal. The TA will include support for planning processes, considering environmental, economic and social criteria along with supply chain considerations, pricing / payment modalities, and a review of regulatory constraints and enabling conditions at the local and central levels.
The component will also support the development and implementation of a communication strategy and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) educational campaigns to promote improved health and hygiene practices, including specific information, education and communication (IEC) materials related to water quality, disinfection, safety, and menstrual hygiene. The sanitation and hygiene education programs will be introduced through the school system, within the communities and through public campaigns to support improved knowledge, attitudes, and practices within the project areas. As women carry the primary responsibility for securing water for household needs, as well as for promoting hygiene practices at home, the communication strategy will specifically target women and women’s groups to convey the messages.
Component 3: Institutional Strengthening (US$2.5 million). Component 3 will finance goods and services to strengthen sector institutional capacity at the national and local levels. This component has been designed to build upon substantial outputs prepared under RWSSP-2, and to complement technical assistance financed by the Asian Development Bank, which includes the analysis and design of institutional structures and mechanism to support sustainable service delivery in rural areas. As such, activities under component 3, specifically at the national level, will remain flexible in order to assist the Government to respond to emerging needs, fill analytical and knowledge gaps and provide additional technical assistance for implementation of the reforms. Activities under this component are further organized under two separate sub-components as follows:
Sub-component 3.1: National Level (US$0.7 million) activities will include technical assistance for drafting legal/normative acts to clarify roles and responsibilities (including asset transfer and ownership issues) under a delegated management framework, improved financial and service regulation, and technical support for the establishment of new institutional models for sustainable water service delivery (for example piloting of an aggregated approach). This sub-component will also finance focused studies on identified areas of need (for example, the sustainability of disinfection systems), sector financing and investment plans, augmentation and institutionalization of the management information system/data base, and an institutional support plan for DDWSWD, including assessment of existing capacity, preparation of an implementation plan (road map), and capacity building/training activities.
Sub-component 3.2: Local Level(US$1.8 million) activities will include capacity building for local authorities (Ayil Okmotus) and CDWUUs responsible for water service delivery in the project areas. This will include topics and support for tariff setting, billing and collection systems, operations and maintenance training (for example, disinfection), water quality testing, customer relations, complaints mechanisms, human resources, and commercial management. Adapting and building upon the experience of RWSSP-2, the project will also support the preparation of service contract agreements, to clarify and formalize respective responsibilities of the operator (CDWUUs) and asset owner (Ayil Okmotus) and to support governance of service performance, tariffs and financing mechanisms. This sub-component will also finance beneficiary satisfaction surveys and evaluations and support mechanisms to improve citizen engagement, feedback, and consumer recourse. It will include training and knowledge exchange visits with RWSSP-2 participants, and will finance start-up support packages for the operator (for example, spare connection materials, water meters, testing equipment, and tools) to assist with the transition to operations (post construction). Local level institutional support will also seek to strengthen DDWSWD capacity at the rayon level, focusing on enhancing their function for sector monitoring and technical support to operators for complex operational and maintenance issues.
Institutional strengthening activities at both the national and local level, will also consider the potential role of private sector, and where appropriate seek to promote and enhance private sector participation for efficient and sustainable service delivery.
Component 4: Project Management (US$1.4 million). This component will finance the project management costs of the PIU related to staffing, consultancies, and equipment costs, the M&E program, safeguards specialists, and financial management, including internal and external financial audits.
The total cost of the project is US$28.00 million, to be financed through a US$12.92 million IDA Credit, a US$10.58 million IDA Grant, and US$4.50 million Government contribution. Project preparation was financed by a US$250,000 ECAPDev Grant to the Kyrgyz Republic, which enabled consultants to be engaged for necessary preparatory work (including engineering designs). Project preparation also benefited from studies and expert opinion supported by the Water Partnership Program.
The proposed lending instrument is an Investment Project Financing (IPF) to be implemented over a five-year period. Selection of the IPF was based on its flexibility and suitability to incorporate financing for a broad range of activities, including a number of specific investments, technical assistance, and capacity enhancement measures.
Due to financing limitations within the IDA 17 envelope and considering significant sector investment needs, this project was prepared within a programmatic framework to allow activities to be readily scaled up and replicated, if additional financing becomes available. As part of the programmatic approach, the Bank has worked in close consultation with other donors to ensure that the proposed activities are strategically aligned and complementary. In particular, this includes the Asian Development Bank (ADB), who are supporting sector reforms through a technical assistance program.
This project has been prepared jointly with Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), with complementary financing for support to the sector under this programmatic framework, up to US$20.0 million. The IsDB-financed activities will be implemented through approaches developed under the SRWSSDP and under the overall oversight of the Government and World Bank. These additional funds have enabled expansion of the program into other rural areas in need, and as agreed with the Government, the IsDB financing will be concentrated within the Jalalabad Oblast. The Bank intends to explore other opportunities to further leverage the IDA financing to further expand and deepen the impacts of the proposed operations and support the Government to achieve their sector development objectives.
Lessons Learned and Reflected in the Project Design
The proposed SRWSSDP reflects lessons learned from previous projects and international experience of rural water supply and sanitation programs, including careful consideration of sustainability dimensions. A number of specific lessons were captured through the ICR of RWSSP-2, which were reinforced and further elaborated through extensive stakeholder consultations during project preparation. SRWSSDP will generally place greater emphasis on institutional strengthening and sector reform activities to support sustainable services delivery. The proposed approach also reflects the Government’s programmatic vision for rural water and sanitation service delivery. A summary of key lessons learned and reflected in the project design are below.
Implementation arrangements significantly influence quality and efficiency of project activities and achievement of results. The design of implementation arrangements for SRWSSDP, specifically the decision to implement through ARIS rather than DDWSWD, reflects a key lesson learnt from earlier phases of the program. Moreover, the proposed arrangements, consider findings from capacity assessments and consultations carried out during preparation, mitigate potential risks, and support efficient and transparent implementation processes. The need to strengthen the capacity of DDWSWD to implement future projects however, is well recognized and as such a range of activities have been included under the project to progressively support this objective.
Technical quality assurance during design and implementation is critical for successful implementation and operations. Issues associated with the low capacity of local design firms and contractors will be addressed through the introduction of capacity-building efforts and international expertise to support design review, construction supervision and contract management.
Provision of water supply services through individual household connections supports sustainable service delivery. A strategy for reaching beneficiaries through individual (metered) connections (rather than standpipes) has been incorporated into the project design philosophy, to be applied where feasible. This approach not only supports equality of service delivery within project areas, but has been identified as a key factor motivating willingness to pay. Standpipes have also proven difficult for operators to manage, requiring frequent maintenance and control to minimize losses.
Water and sanitation service delivery models in rural areas, including in particular community-based models, require support at a number of levels. This includes careful consideration of technical matters that influence system design and operations, financial and commercial/professional management requirements, social and political influences, and broader sector governance and regulation mechanisms. Support activities are incorporated into the project at various levels to enable sustainable service delivery.
Sustained efforts are required to support sector reform objectives. SRWSSDP represents the third in series of projects supported by the Bank in the country and is designed with the knowledge that a sustained effort is required to promote and support incremental sector reforms. The project facilitates the Bank’s engagement, allowing continued policy dialogue and support for capacity development.
Combining water supply interventions with sanitation development activities (including hygiene and health promotion) supports the achievement of full health benefits associated with water service delivery. A key lesson from the RWSSP-2, which is supported by the international experience, is that public health impacts are increased when water supply, hygiene, and sanitation interventions are implemented together. This project includes an expanded sanitation program that goes beyond targeting of schools and introduces broader approaches to improve sanitation and hygiene within the household, including special consideration of issues related to gender.
Effective communication, consultations and participatory approaches are integral to the success of rural water supply and sanitation projects. Such an approach allows for early identification of needs/priorities and potential implementation issues. It helps manage expectations, facilitates ownership and trust, and supports accountability mechanisms. These principles have been incorporated into the project design and will be applied systematically. As a mechanism to foster ownership and demand, the project will include community contributions, directed towards the cost of water supply connection (covering materials and installation from the meter to the yard tap or internal plumbing system).
Institutional and Implementation Arrangements
SRWSSDP will be executed under the overall responsibility of DDWSWD, which is within GOSSTROY. Project implementation will be carried out by the Community Development and Investment Agency (Agentstvo Razvitiya Investirovanya Soobschtv Kyrgyzkoi Respubliki [ARIS]), which has a proven track record as a reliable and efficient implementing agency not only for RWSSP-2 but for several other Bank-funded projects as well. ARIS will work in close cooperation with the DDWSWD, participating Ayil Okmotus and other key project stakeholders and counterparts. Further details of the implementation arrangements and responsibilities of the different institutions are outlined below.
DDWSWD in GOSSTROY. This department is responsible for development of both the rural and urban water supply and sanitation sectors, including policy, planning and sector coordination. The department has had relatively low levels of authority and capacity, however, over recent years it has demonstrated stability, and its ownership of the new sector strategy represents significant progress. DDWSWD’s role in the project is as the overall executing agency, which includes, among other activities: overall sector coordination and policy support; Government and donor liaison; participation in all procurement activities (for example, as a member of evaluation committee); identification and prioritization of sector interventions (including infrastructure investments and institutional support); and as the responsible agency of the Government, provision of support to ARIS for implementation (as required). DDWSWD will coordinate the national-level institutional-support activities and will be the primary beneficiary of the expected outputs from sub-component 3.1.
ARIS. With financing from the ECAPDev Grant, ARIS led the preparation of SRWSSDP on behalf of the Government and will be responsible overall for project implementation, including fiduciary and safeguards compliance. ARIS was created by Decree of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic in October 2003 as a legally and operationally autonomous institution for the purpose of managing the implementation of the IDA-supported First Village Investment Project (VIP I). It operates under the oversight of a Supervisory Board comprised of 21 representatives of the State administration, the local government sector, and civil society. ARIS has been responsible for management of other Bank projects.11 For purposes of the SRWSSDP’s implementation, ARIS will maintain a project coordinator, engineers (including international experts), a procurement specialist, a financial management/disbursement specialist, a safeguards specialist (on a half-time basis), an institutional development specialist, and a monitoring and evaluations specialist (on a half-time basis). The institutional development specialist and the M&E specialist will be jointly responsible for public engagement and communications. Other ARIS staff (for example, ARIS’s administrative pool) will provide backstopping support as needed.
In its position as the Implementing Agency for SRWSSDP, ARIS will be responsible for and carry out all project implementation in accordance with the Project Operating Manual (POM). This will include procurement, financial management and accounting, social and environmental safeguards management, citizen engagement, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting, as well as routine communications with the Bank. DDWSWD, participating Ayil Okmotus, CDWUUs, and other key Government counterparts will participate at various levels during implementation of relevant project activities. Technical investigations and engineering designs will be carried out by third-party firms (consultancy services), selected in accordance with the Bank’s procurement policies and procedures. Design review and construction supervision (including civil works contract management) responsibilities have been assigned to ARIS, who will engage international experts to reinforce their capacity. ARIS will enter into agreements with the participating Ayil Okmotus (the Employer), to define their respective roles and responsibilities during civil works implementation.
Results Monitoring and Evaluation
A monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system will be implemented as part of the project design. At the project level, ARIS, working in close collaboration with the participating Ayil Okmotus and CDWUUs, will be responsible for M&E of the project towards achievement of its objectives. ARIS is also responsible for monitoring preparation and implementation of safeguards instruments throughout the project preparation and implementation cycle. It will prepare semi-annual reports which will reflect project progress on the basis of performance indicators defined in the Results Framework. The frequency and methodology for collection of project performance data is outlined in Annex 1.
A baseline assessment, including a household survey and focus group discussion with potential project beneficiaries, will be conducted in the priority investment areas and used to define pre-project conditions. A follow-up assessment will be conducted prior to project closure. In addition, consumer satisfaction surveys for water services will be conducted before and after project interventions, in order to assess satisfaction levels and assist in the attribution of results to the project activities.
In addition to the specific monitoring indicators required as part of the formal Results Framework for the project, ARIS will be required to monitor additional project implementation indicators to be outlined in the POM. ARIS has already established an M&E system to capture and monitor results under ongoing projects. The M&E system in place is satisfactory. ARIS has an M&E officer who has been trained in M&E techniques and is expected to support the project. The detailed design of the M&E system and Baseline Surveys has been financed through the ECAPDev project preparation grant.
Further to the above, support will be provided to DDWSWD under component 3, for augmentation and institutionalization of the sector management information system/data base. This will involve further development of the existing monitoring systems towards measuring sector sustainability and progress towards the sustainable development goals for water supply and sanitation.
Sustainability is a core principle which has been integrated into the design of this project at a number of levels. It includes careful consideration and planning to address a range of important factors for rural water supply and sanitation services, including the following: