Our Principles

Project Implementation

Project implementation means installing handpumps in an isolated village or laying water pipe in a peri-urban slum or installing a gravity feed water system with house connections in a tiny village. There are thousands of places and scores of organizations that would be willing and competent to receive AWR support. AWR does not directly implement projects. There are enough organizations to go around that can easily provide the labor and equipment infrastructure. What AWR must demand, as the purse holder, is quality programming and fiscal responsibility.

In order to best put funds to work, AWR has established the following programming principles:

1. Community Participation

Community participation as used here is definitely not the community participation currently understood by implementing agencies, where ditch digging, cash payments, compulsory attendance, and the donation of land or existing structures, are the water-users only interventions. Project decisions must be taken jointly between institutions and beneficiaries. Appropriate forums must be available for permanent community intervention using their development framework. AWR can become a standard bearer for changing a self-perpetuation system designed to ignore local priorities and suppress opportunities for empowerment.

2. Sustainability

No one want to invest money in public works or human resource development, knowing that four or five years down the line, O&M procedures will be abandoned, installations will fall into disuse, lessons learned will be forgotten. Project permanence must have a fighting chance, and firm commitments must be obtained as part of funding prerequisites. Sustainability strategies, coupled with minimal follow-up schedules, can safeguard long-term program goals. Continuity can be aided through logical project identification and selection criteria, water-rate structures, adequate design and construction standards, training and continuing education, linkage between and within institutions and communities, proper financial planning, and a host of other locally-generated ideas and options.

3. Environmental Protection

All projects must defend the environment and protect local natural resources, especially water resources. Practical applications include watershed management programs for water sources, the improvement of construction practices (slope stabilization, rainwater runoff control, disease vector breeding-ground elimination, etc.), and wastewater treatment and water reuse, among others.

4. Training and Education

These items clearly form part of the sustainability criteria. All parties involved require specific training programs that can include everything from health education to water supply operation, maintenance, and administration, in order to achieve long-term project success. Users must understand the proper use of their installations, and operators the functioning and care of system components.

5. Health Education

As a subcomponent of training and education, health education deserves special, separate mention. The fact that water supply is a public health intervention does not assure that health benefits automatically accrue under it, especially in areas where piped running water is a novelty. Simple health messages should be understood, such as the cycle of disease transmission, personal hygiene, food preparation, etc. Participatory and autochthonous learning methods must be employed, for maximum efficiency.

6. Water and Sanitation

Study after study has demonstrated how health benefits are multiplied when improvements are made jointly in the water supply and fecal waste disposal systems. AWR must finance water and wastewater (in the form of household latrines) as a package.

7. Matching Money

AWR will avoid the pitfall of underwriting all project material and equipment purchases. Whether the implementing agency is a national or international NGO or government organization, agreements will be entered into that require financial obligations by all parties involved. This requirement will confirm serious interest in project design and development by all partners, extend project benefits, and provide an opportunity for attracting sector investments. AWR requires a minimum 25% match for all projects.

8. Project Overhead

A large part of any development project costs (at least 40% of total available funds) goes to project administration - salaries and benefits, travel expenses, vehicle purchase and maintenance, office supplies and upkeep, etc. AWR will meet all expenses related to it's own bureaucracy, and meet a small percentage of project administration expenses. No more than 10% of AWR funding is made available for direct project overhead.