The SWIFT programme in DRC is implemented by a number of partners in rural and semi-urban contexts across three eastern provinces. DRC has witnessed decades of conflict, and insecurity in the region is an ongoing issue.
By March 2016, SWIFT had reached 697,257 people in DRC with one or more WASH services: 647,067 people with clean, safe water; 428,914 people with improved sanitation; and 697,257 people with hygiene promotion activities.
In May 2017, a second SWIFT programme was started across the three provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema, aiming to reach an additional 701,951 people with two of the three WASH elements. The programme will be delivered in 20 months between May 2017 and December 2018. It will be followed by a 15-month outcomes phase culminating with an endline survey in March 2020.
The SWIFT programme is implemented in North Kivu by Tearfund, and by Oxfam through partners Hydraulique sans Frontières (HYFRO), YME Grands Lacs and Action des Volontaires Unis pour le Développement et la Santé (AVUDS). During the first, ‘output’ phase of the programme, Oxfam also worked with Centre de Promotion Socio Sanitaire (CEPROSSAN) and Programme de Promotion de Soins Santé Primaires (PPSSP).
In rural areas, all partners worked through the Villages et Écoles Assainis (Healthy Villages and Schools, or VEA) approach, a step-by-step process of village mobilisation that is supported by DRC’s Ministry of Public Health and by UNICEF (see ‘Increasing access to safe sanitation in DRC‘).
SWIFT partners helped villages set up managing committees, train ‘community motivators’ in hygiene awareness, and form water user committees to manage water sources and collect fees. They also supported villages to upgrade their toilets, dig rubbish pits, and promote hand-washing, with the aim of reaching ‘healthy village’ status within a year.
SWIFT partners expanded North Kivu’s water infrastructure in order to increase access to safe water, by rehabilitating and constructing protected springs and hand-dug wells, and constructing spring-fed gravity water systems.
SWIFT has also developed an inclusive, community-driven approach for the specific requirements of semi-urban contexts. The approach involves government bodies and community groups to ensure sustainability, and is constantly being refined (see ‘Sustainable Water in DRC‘).
In South Kivu, Tearfund has implemented the VEA approach in rural areas, and worked to improve the water infrastructure, as in North Kivu (above).
In semi-urban areas, Tearfund has worked with Africa AHEAD (Applied Health, Education And Development) to set up Community Health Clubs (CHCs), which provide practical guidance to members on how to improve home hygiene and prevent most common diseases. Africa AHEAD trained people from target communities with reading and writing skills to be ‘CHC facilitators’, who can help lead the clubs’ dialogue sessions.
Membership of a CHC is voluntary, free and open to all, with between 50 and 100 people in each club. The clubs hold weekly, two-hour training sessions on a number of health and hygiene promotion topics, and set practical assignments which are monitored, including through home visits (see ‘Hygiene behaviour change in DRC‘).
In Maniema, Tearfund has implemented the VEA approach, and worked to improve the water infrastructure, as in North Kivu (above).