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15 alternative experiences in drinking water and sanitation in urban communities : case studies cross analysis

The experiences of 15 case studies carried out in neighbourhoods of cities in Africa, Latin America and Asia have been analyzed by the organizations involved within the framework of the HIC/UNDP LIFE Project on drinking water and sanitation. The principal conclusions inspired by these case studies are presented in this document. The purpose of the LIFE programme is to promote dialogue at the local level among the different actors involved in urban management such as local government, NGOs and social organizations to improve the quality of the urban environment. One project in Bogota, Colombia is specifically noted for its originality and for being one of the few that directly and specifically involves women.
An assessment of the institutional framework of these 15 experiences shows that all the cases include the participation of the organized inhabitants, NGOs, and different local government bodies and dependencies. Despite examples of inhabitants coming into conflict with the local authorities on legal, technical or social questions, in general, the collaboration among distinct actors created communication channels among the public institutions, the organized inhabitants and the NGOs. Of the range of technological systems used in the experiences documented, the majority, both in water and sanitation, are lowcost systems and many focus on integral technological processes linking water, sanitation and solid waste evolving towards integrated waste management. Important factors in these cases include the technicalsocial relationships established and the adaptability of the technology to particular urban structures and land use. The social organization appears to be a key actor in the management and operation of water supply and sanitation systems, strengthening control over water through democratic decisionmaking processes and through the development of the management and finance capacity of the population. Some experiences highlight the role of women who participate in the implementation and management of projects as well as strengthening social organizations in their communities. Some projects have also fostered social relationships among distant communities, increased the education level of communities, and encouraged a culture of diversity in which collective decisions are implemented in many different and creative ways.
The economic impacts of these projects include the capacity of the inhabitants in the mobilization of resources for community works, job creation and the time and money savings which have encouraged income generation at the individual or collective level. Many of the experiences reveal that parts of the management of these systems can be decentralized at the neighbourhood level. In some cases the improvement of precarious settlements has allowed the administrative integration of these irregular neighbourhoods within cities, and many of the experiences have influenced the formulation of urban policies or at least generated debate on urban policies. Through these experiences inhabitants have gained a new vision of water as a resource for the generation of productive development instead of as a necessary but scarce resource. This has engendered a different relationship between inhabitants and their environment. The health impacts of improved water and sanitation services are seen in better health and hygiene habits, especially when hygiene education accompanies improved services.
Five complementary methodological trends have been identified by the promoting groups within the studies for technological approbation including: structure and management capacity of the social organizations, educational and participative processes, "civil games": from the individual to the collective, accessibility of the technologies, and interactive processes. These 15 experiences were based within the perspective of instrumenting a global strategy of rehabilitation of the environment and of reduction of poverty in urban neighbourhoods based on local inherent potentials. The impact of the implemented technologies and capacity building of the communities appears at the domestic and community levels through attitude changes, job creation, access to water and in some cases the creation of incomegenerating activities. These experiences have demonstrated that the inhabitants of cities in countries of the South can themselves determine their future by appropriating sustainable systems if and when they are left a free space in which to act and organize and, furthermore, that water and its treatment can be managed within "the commons" without involving international moneymaking industries.

Title15 alternative experiences in drinking water and sanitation in urban communities : case studies cross analysis
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsAudefroy, J.
Pagination15 p.
Date Published1995-01-01
PublisherHabitat International Coalition
Place PublishedMexico City, Mexico
Keywordscase studies, community participation, cultural aspects, economic aspects, environmental impact, health impact, institutional aspects, policies, replicability, safe water supply, sanitation, social aspects, urban communities
Abstract

The experiences of 15 case studies carried out in neighbourhoods of cities in Africa, Latin America and Asia have been analyzed by the organizations involved within the framework of the HIC/UNDP LIFE Project on drinking water and sanitation. The principal conclusions inspired by these case studies are presented in this document. The purpose of the LIFE programme is to promote dialogue at the local level among the different actors involved in urban management such as local government, NGOs and social organizations to improve the quality of the urban environment. One project in Bogota, Colombia is specifically noted for its originality and for being one of the few that directly and specifically involves women.
An assessment of the institutional framework of these 15 experiences shows that all the cases include the participation of the organized inhabitants, NGOs, and different local government bodies and dependencies. Despite examples of inhabitants coming into conflict with the local authorities on legal, technical or social questions, in general, the collaboration among distinct actors created communication channels among the public institutions, the organized inhabitants and the NGOs. Of the range of technological systems used in the experiences documented, the majority, both in water and sanitation, are lowcost systems and many focus on integral technological processes linking water, sanitation and solid waste evolving towards integrated waste management. Important factors in these cases include the technicalsocial relationships established and the adaptability of the technology to particular urban structures and land use. The social organization appears to be a key actor in the management and operation of water supply and sanitation systems, strengthening control over water through democratic decisionmaking processes and through the development of the management and finance capacity of the population. Some experiences highlight the role of women who participate in the implementation and management of projects as well as strengthening social organizations in their communities. Some projects have also fostered social relationships among distant communities, increased the education level of communities, and encouraged a culture of diversity in which collective decisions are implemented in many different and creative ways.
The economic impacts of these projects include the capacity of the inhabitants in the mobilization of resources for community works, job creation and the time and money savings which have encouraged income generation at the individual or collective level. Many of the experiences reveal that parts of the management of these systems can be decentralized at the neighbourhood level. In some cases the improvement of precarious settlements has allowed the administrative integration of these irregular neighbourhoods within cities, and many of the experiences have influenced the formulation of urban policies or at least generated debate on urban policies. Through these experiences inhabitants have gained a new vision of water as a resource for the generation of productive development instead of as a necessary but scarce resource. This has engendered a different relationship between inhabitants and their environment. The health impacts of improved water and sanitation services are seen in better health and hygiene habits, especially when hygiene education accompanies improved services.
Five complementary methodological trends have been identified by the promoting groups within the studies for technological approbation including: structure and management capacity of the social organizations, educational and participative processes, "civil games": from the individual to the collective, accessibility of the technologies, and interactive processes. These 15 experiences were based within the perspective of instrumenting a global strategy of rehabilitation of the environment and of reduction of poverty in urban neighbourhoods based on local inherent potentials. The impact of the implemented technologies and capacity building of the communities appears at the domestic and community levels through attitude changes, job creation, access to water and in some cases the creation of incomegenerating activities. These experiences have demonstrated that the inhabitants of cities in countries of the South can themselves determine their future by appropriating sustainable systems if and when they are left a free space in which to act and organize and, furthermore, that water and its treatment can be managed within "the commons" without involving international moneymaking industries.

Custom 1205.40, 305.40
Original Publication15 experiences alternatives pour l'eau potable et l'assainissement dans les quartiers urbain : synthese des 15 etudes de cas