Benin Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project: Mid-Term Evaluation
Mid-term evaluation of a project to improve Benin's rural water/sanitation system through well and latrine construction, the creation of village self-management committees, and related education campaigns. The project is a joint effort among USAID/B, the Government of Benin (GOB), UNICEF, and the Peace Corps. The project has recovered from a slow start-up and is advancing well toward its objectives. Staff have responded to project review recommendations and field and coordination operations are now relatively efficient and effective. Health education is perhaps the most active component, with more than 90 village committees created and trained. Activities currently focus on potable water education and will expand to include Guinea worm prevention. Baseline data indicate significant project potential for reducing the incidence of Guinea worm. Well drilling, begun in early 1988, has averaged 5 productive boreholes per month (a total of 37) - far below the rate necessary to achieve the target of 225 wells. As a result, the proposed pump maintenance system, which relies on village funds and personnel, may not be institutionalized before project termination. Field staff may be further burdened by ambitious cistern and latrine construction plans, neither of which have been initiated. The latrine construction plan is also criticized for emphasizing public latrines over low-cost family latrines. Despite its problems, the project promises to be one of the best examples to date of the positive results of a community's involvement in owning and managing its improved water supply. The project model, developed and tested in neighboring countries and perfected in Benin, is ready for much broader application.