From adopt-a-project to permanent services: The evolution of Water For People’s approach to rural water supply in Bolivia
ABSTRACT: The dominant paradigm in rural water provision in Bolivia has focused on the provision of infrastructure, whether by government agencies or international cooperation groups. However, the investment in infrastructure has led neither to universal access for all Bolivians nor to consistently high levels of services for those who do have access to a water system. This paper will describe the transition of one international non-profit organisation, Water For People, from supporting dispersed water projects throughout the country towards targeted support of water services at the municipal level, aiming to support permanent universal services. The institutional evolution – including changes in governance, implementation strategy, donor base, and indicators of success – that allowed field programmes to shift from projects to services provides the context for the change of approach in Bolivia. A discussion of the various aspects that have changed in the organisation’s operations in seven municipalities in Bolivia, from the scale of intervention, to municipal-wide planning information and tools, to support to service providers and service authorities, and an increased focus on post-construction monitoring, demonstrates how the Everyone, Forever approach is resulting in a more service- delivery-oriented approach in Bolivia.
KEYWORDS: Rural water supply, non-governmental organisation, service delivery, sustainability, Bolivia