As part of our EU-funded water and sanitation project (see project details), we have met with many deprived rural communities to tell them about their rights to water and sanitation, and shared knowledge about the responsibilities of their District Assemblies for meeting communities’ rights by providing water and sanitation services in their communities. We also asked them about their struggles of access. Their stories are both disturbing and sad.
The communities are praising the water and sanitation project because many of the participants have said they never knew they have rights to water and sanitation, and so found it difficult to really push their District Assemblies to fulfill their needs. With the new skills they are learning, they know they will be more persuasive and persistent. We are also encouraging them to demand to see DAs’ budgets (through their rights to information), including the DA Common Fund and how it is used, and which projects their DA decides to fund. The DAs often make the excuse that they don’t have money, but some community members suspect they have a lot of money but that they don’t use it efficiently or that they fund projects that don’t really benefit the poorest people.