Support to the water sector reform in Burkina Faso

The ”Accountability for Sustainability” partnership can offer advisory services to a range of processes. In Burkina Faso, SIWI gave support to the definition of an innovative UNICEF action research programme focusing on water service delivery through the private sector. The work was initiated in March 2015 with a successful preliminary scoping mission and meetings with key stakeholders.

The water sector reform is well under way in Burkina Faso and the country has been commended for its success in increasing urban access to water supply. However, drinking water coverage remains insufficient for populations in rural areas. The pump maintenance system is poor, with high rates of breakdown, the price of water is higher in rural areas than in cities, and the local private sector is not profitable. Decentralisation and the local management of water supply and sanitation services have been identified as major challenges.

To address these governance and private sector related challenges, UNICEF is embarking on an action research project to test how to strengthen private sector service delivery in low and medium density populated rural areas in Burkina Faso, with a strong focus on accountability. SIWI is partnering with UNICEF in this project to understand how to best enhance human, technical, and financial resources necessary for stakeholders to successfully undertake their responsibilities towards users while ensuring that investments are profitable and sustainable.

A first series of meetings took place in Burkina Faso in March 2015 with national, regional and local water management stakeholders, local and international private sector partners as well as external support agencies. These early meetings were an opportunity for stakeholders to contribute to the development of the project. They brought clarity about the purpose of the action, enabled to define a relevant scale for engagement and showed the project was in line with local needs and aspirations.