In DRC, getting people to pay for water is challenging for a number of reasons. Eastern Congo is a water-rich part of the world even though many sources of water aren’t safe and people get sick from using them people do have alternatives for clean water that they have to pay for. It’s also a region that had a lot of humanitarian programmes, where people are accustomed to receiving water for free and associate NGOs with subsidies or free services.Florence PIchonSenior research officer - ODI
When there is no payment for water, systems are not protected, pipes and water points can break and there will be water shortages, again. This is why we encourage people to pay for water, to expand systems, for instance, to other villages and for system maintenance. When people expect everything to be provided by external actors, they risk falling back into poverty. If you don’t pay for water, when Oxfam, AVUDS or other organisations leave, you’ll be left waiting for another partner to turn up. In the meantime, while you wait, your family will go back to fetching contaminated water and again, your family will be vulnerable to diseases and to poverty.Amisi KalengaBehaviour change focal point - AVUDS
The SWIFT project is a WASH project but it is different from emergency WASH. It isn’t the first WASH project to take place in Minova. Before starting the project we conducted evaluations, we noticed that other projects, after a year or after 6 months, installations have stopped working or are not working well.
After installing the adductions, the water catchments, we wanted a sustainable management structure in place. This is why we decided to include payment for water in the project. And this goes hand in hand with the national policy on water, which states that water is not free. This is why, in the messages we share, we talk about individual
responsibility within the community. We have messages targeted towards men and women saying that a responsible person pays for water.Annie LutaSWIFT Public Health Promoter
We decided to design a pilot where we would draw on behaviour change theory and investigate why people don’t pay and design an intervention around their motivations. To do so we used a framework called RANAS. It draws on different pschyco-social factors for why people practice a behaviour or not, what Risks they are exposed to, their Attitudes and beliefs, what social Norms exist in the community, wether people have the knowledge or the Ability to practice a behaviour and finally Self-regulation or wether or not people believe they can maintain a habit or practice.
We used this framework to pose questions, to understand people and what their motivations where. We then worked with community leaders and different community groups to identify influential people who are well respected in the community and who could help us disseminate these messages and influence others to sort of act as an example for their peers.Florence PIchonSenior research officer - ODI
Before the SWIFT programme, we used to collect 190,000 Congolese francs per trimester. Today, we collect around 470,000. After all the campaigning to raise awareness on payment for water, the committee has money to work properly. We see a difference in how messages are spread with the SWIFT programme. The behaviour change aspect is different from other organisations’ approaches. SWIFT put emphasis on payment for water to ensure systems’ sustainability. There were a lot of awareness raising activities, the AVUDS teams were really out there, working hard. They were really present within the community, health structures, schools, to tell people that water is not free, that water has a cost and that everyone must contribute to make sure it is sustainable and well managed.Nkinzo Mukongo President of Kalungu’s water user committee
Another indicator that our approach is working is that ASUREPs are being set up. It stands for Users Association of potable water networks. 3 principles underpin their work: efficiency, professionalism and transparency in everything that they do. This professionalisation impacts their accountability and their appropriation of the infrastructure and the efficient management of breakdowns. They are accountable to the population and when people know how their last payment was used, they will be even more motivated to pay the next time. The most vulnerable amongst the population are identified by the board and these people are exempt from payment.Divin SalumuSWIFT Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning Officer
Without water there is no life. We have to keep raising awareness, going from house to house, from person to person so that our system can last a long time and so that our community can develop. Because without water, there is no life in Kalungu.Francis BengheaKalungu District Head Nurse