The Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) program, supported by Oxfam, aims to increase access to, and the effective use of, improved and sustainable water supplies, and sanitation and hygiene services. The WASH program has a special focus on marginalised groups in the community such as women, children, the elderly & disabled and how to reduce their vulnerability. Woza Moya has been chosen along with five other existing Oxfam partners to pilot this new program, in relation to Food Security, HIV and Child Protection.
Seven partners in South Africa receiving funding through the AACES program are successfully integrating WASH activities into their core program areas.
This has resulted in:
- An additional 7,695 beneficiaries (2,966 male and 4,729 female) benefiting from either improved access to water and sanitation services or increased knowledge of better hygiene practices. This, along with continued engagement and capacity building, has also resulted in gains in those partners’ other core program areas, namely increased food security, better health outcomes and an improvement in the lives of women, youth, children and people with disabilities.
- Ten partners not funded through the AACES program also began rolling out WASH activities after Oxfam built their capacity by providing training through Training and Resources in Early Education (TREE), an organisation that does training for early childhood development (ECD) practitioners, and Oxfam partners that offer home-based care services.
- WASH activities have become key components of Oxfam’s partners’ work and this has been the catalyst for success in other outcome areas. The number of beneficiaries reached by non-AACES-funded WASH activities amounts to 7,882 (3,002 males and 4,880 females).
Despite the gains made by government in addressing the sanitation service backlogs, challenges related to sanitation provision were reported across all the OAU partners. The deficits in sanitation at many schools undermine children’s rights to basic education, and have a disproportionate impact on women and girls.
Isibani Sethemba reported an increase in poor hygiene practices in the town of Ingwavuma in KZN and that the household gardening activities it supports were being affected by the drought. Farmer Support Group (FSG) experienced difficulty implementing its methods in areas where government promotes contradictory methods, and Biowatch reported that the limited involvement of youth represents a challenge for sustainability. Lack of access to water and land remain challenges that negatively hinder the progress of all agro-ecology work and food security projects. An amendment to the land claims legislation was signed into law in June 2014, but it holds no solution for farm workers who have never owned land. WFP was involved in government consultations leading to the drafting of policy relating to the rights of people working the land, but has reservations about the draft policy.
Citizens are responding with increasing dissatisfaction to poor service delivery, including poor delivery of sanitation services. Given the role of sanitation and hygiene in preventing disease transmission and providing dignity, an influencing strategy on sanitation and hygiene is perfectly aligned to the NLV program. The integrated approach that OAU and its partners have taken is proving to be sustainable in both outcomes and impact.
Partners focusing on WASH issues have strategically decided to focus the remaining two years on the softer issues of WASH programming.
Some partners demonstrated increased confidence and willingness to participate and engage in policy-making processes, but it seems much still needs to be done to capacitate other partners. It was evident that the network culture introduced by OAU has been adopted, and this networking culture needs to be promoted. The progress already made by certain partners with advocacy work is outstanding and it is imperative that mechanisms continue to be identified and implemented that will enable civil society to take advantage of opportunities in the future.