Readiness criteria at different levels
To implement any project, programme or activity you need to assess the situation before you start and consider if the right conditions for success exist. To give a simple example, if you were going shopping you would take some money, maybe a bag and possibly an umbrella. You could say these were your readiness criteria for shopping. Readiness criteria are conditions or things that need to exist or be done before starting an activity. For the OWNP, readiness criteria have been created for all the various implementing organisations at different levels of government, from federal down to local communities. The purpose of these criteria is to ensure that the right conditions exist for OWNP implementation or, in other words, that there is an enabling environment.
You were introduced to the concept of an ‘enabling environment’ in Study Session 5. Do you remember its definition?
An enabling environment means that the conditions are right for an activity or phenomenon to happen.
For the implementation of the OWNP, the enabling environment refers to the sum of conditions such as policies, laws, and physical infrastructure that allow (or limit) implementation of the OWNP at various levels. The readiness criteria for the OWNP have particular significance because they are tied to the release of funds. There is a requirement that conditions set out in the readiness criteria have to be met before money is disbursed and physical implementation can take place.
Readiness criteria for implementing the OWNP have been set from federal government down to kebele and community levels. The details vary at different levels but they follow a common pattern. For example, at the federal, regional and zonal levels the criteria include establishing the required organisational structure and recruiting staff for programme management units. Operational WASH budget accounts have to be set up with separate budget lines for all implementing organisations, i.e. each implementing ministry at federal level and each WASH sector bureau at regional level. Each level must also have a consolidated WASH plan prepared and approved by the appropriate higher authority. A consolidated WASH plan is a single plan that combines water supply, sanitation and hygiene schemes and integrates the separate plans from all WASH implementing organisations.
Readiness criteria at lower levels follow a similar pattern. All cities and towns are expected to have prepared a consolidated annual WASH plan and had this approved. They have to establish the necessary organisational structure (e.g. Town Water Board) and have appropriate staff in place. They need to organise their financial systems so there are separate budget lines for water supply and sanitation. They also need to ensure that staff and procedures for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are established and that National WASH Inventory (NWI) data has been made available.
At woreda level, the criteria are much the same. They have to prepare WASH plans and budgets and have these approved by the woreda council. These plans might be for new small water schemes such as hand-dug wells in specific locations. The organisational structure that you read about in Study Session 7 must also be in place. For example, members of the Woreda WASH Team must be recruited. They also need to have separate budget lines and make NWI data available to all relevant stakeholders in the same way as towns and cities.
At kebele level, there also has to be a consolidated WASH plan. In rural areas, community WASH committees (WASHCOs) must be established. These must be formally recognised and registered at kebele or woreda level and have the appropriate gender-balanced membership and elected officers. WASHCOs must have opened a bank account for collecting and administering contributions from users of the WASH services. Like the higher levels, communities must have a single annual WASH plan and this must be approved by community and WASHCO members.