EgyptImproving Sustainability of the WASH Sector in Upper Egypt (ISWS) is a 30-month project that focuses on four the Governorates of Minia, Assiut, Sohag and Qina in Upper Egypt to improve the sustainability of WASH investments and services, by improving citizen-participation and stakeholder cooperation to achieve improved transparency and accountability of WASH governance and services. The project, funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Egypt, was launched in October 2021 and will run until April 2024. It aims to contribute to achieving adequate and equitable access to water and sanitation, and improving the quality and availability of water in Upper Egypt. The project is implemented by VNG International in collaboration with Dutch Water Partners Brabantse Delta (Water Authority of Brabant) and Brabant Water (Brabant Water Utility). In November 2022, activities of the project contributed towards the components of the project which focus on sustainable WASH services through stakeholder coordination and local-level planning, and citizen accountability and needs-based services respectively.

On the 21st and 22nd of November 2022 the ISWS team  conducted a workshop with technical staff of the Holding Company for Water & Wastewater and the affiliated companies of Minia, Assiut, Sohag and Qina. The energy efficiency-, Operation & Maintenance- and Non-Revenue Water experts of the ACs worked jointly on developing a workplan to improve the sustainability of their current and future assets.

A successful workshop: besides the development of the first versions of AC specific workplans, the participants indicated they learned from the experiences of their peers working in the other governorates and from the Dutch Water Partners BrabantWater and BrabantseDelta, and look forward to enhance the sustainability of their work.

Simultaneously part of the project team visited the governorates Sohag and Qina where they met with the affiliated local water companies and the Governorate Secretary Generals. As one of the first activities for this project, discussing and introducing plans and methodologies and building relationships were central during this mission. Open sessions were held in the Municipalities of El-Maragha, Jeheina, Qift and Quos to introduce the project and the Community Score Card tool to community and local civil society representatives. The CSC is a social accountability tool that enables meaningful engagement of citizens and communities in the evaluation and improvement of public services, it’s based on a solid and continuous partnership that brings together, the community, local government, service providers, and local civil society who jointly define gaps in the service and develop and implement plans aimed at closing these gaps and improving the service quality, as well as strengthen the trust between all involved stakeholders. The introduction of the tool in the municipality of Qift was a great start:

“We are quite happy to be selected as a pilot municipality to implement this tool. I believe I speak for all the citizens of Qift by saying that it’s overdue for us to get the opportunity of having our voices heard, but also to get insight and power in deciding how our services could be improved” - Community leader in Qift, Qina.

This was followed up earlier in December with a mission to Assiut and Minia, where the project team also organised community sessions in the districts of Sahel Selim, El-Badari, Matay, and El-Adwa.

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