This past week I headed south from Lilongwe to a small (very chilly) town nestled in the mountains called Dedza. Dedza was the recipient of a very interesting World Bank (WB) project that EWB wanted to check out. The Dedza region attracted the interest of the WB because they had the worst ratios of toilets to children in schools. In some cases more than 250 kids per toilet! Can you imagine waiting in that line at recess?
Neither can I and neither did the kids, especially girls who have more demanding requirements for toilets. This meant a lot of girls were dropping out of school.
So why were we interested in this project?
Instead of the WB hiring a bunch of consultants to decide what the community needed and pay them to build it, WB empowered the a level of the local government called the District Coordinating Team to chose the latrine and hand washing station they wanted, to help select contractors, to train the community, to monitor the project, and to do the evaluation of the project.
I interviewed 7 of the District staff about how the project went from their perspective, which is valuable information since this is a pilot study for this type of partnership.
I also interviewed two people from the National Water Development Programme (a subsidiary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development) and a World Bank staff member to get a clearer picture.
I have just finished the first draft of the case study, and am waiting for feedback from everyone I interviewed before it will be shared more widely.
I would love to hear what YOU think of this approach from a donor! I was impressed with the partnership and the trust that went into it.