Afghan Sustainable Water Supply & Sanitation (SWSS) Project

Arc was hired by ARD-SWSS to explore community- or private-sector-based financing for WASH systems to improve the sustainable management of potable water in project-assisted communities. In year one, Arc Finance conducted market research to test villagers’ capacity and willingness to maintain common property (including water-related services) through locally managed financing schemes. A report of the findings was published in 2010. Based on this research, in year two, Arc is assisting SWSS in developing a community-based financing system for the maintenance of the USAID-funded wells built under the auspices of the project (in total the goal is to build 10,000 wells in Afghanistan). Arc Finance has proposed other innovative financing mechanisms (including remittances and mobile banking) as a financing source for well maintenance. In collaboration with Roshan, the leading mobile phone operator in Afghanistan, Arc Finance is testing the viability of using cell phones for financing as well as monitoring and evaluation. Arc Finance is leading the development of Mobile SWSS, a monitoring and evaluation tool that will enable SWSS staff to better track the performance of water supply hardware over time, through the use of monthly status updates reported via mobile phone by trained community members. The application displays all completed wells and wells that are in the process of completion on an interactive map, hosted on a secure website. Trained members of each community are responsible for sending very short messages, or reports, each month updating the status of their wells as functioning or non-functioning using their mobile phones. A voice-based menu system has been developed by Roshan to facilitate reporting. Mobile SWSS is currently being piloted in Afghanistan.

Project Goal: The overall goal of the project is to build 10,000 wells in Afghanistan.