Water and Sanitation Private Sector Participation in Cross River
Networks are important and strategic organizations that help with the governance of the water and sanitation sector. Networks involve many actors from different organizations (associations). They are usually formed around common issues or general set of values. They also have explicit purpose that is related to the issues or values that bring the various organizations together. In a network, the associations interact together to achieve the common value.
Cross River State (CRS) Ministry of Water Resources, supported by TAT, on the 25th of November, 2016, inaugurated a Water and Sanitation (WASH) Private Service Providers Network (PSPN) in the State.
Networks are involved in building solidarity between members; facilitating learning and sharing information among members; developing and strengthening common messages and shared values; building skills and knowledge of its members; undertaking advocacy initiatives; convening meetings and dialogues between members and with other stakeholders; raising, distributing or supervising funding for the network and its members.
Some advantages and benefits of networks are; avoiding duplication of efforts amongst members; mutual support and solidarity amongst members; having stronger and united voices; sharing the risk of speaking; gaining more respect and credibility from WASH ministries and major donors; regulating activities of members and checkmating recalcitrant members; bigger success in changing government policies and practices; and increasing access to WASH for poor communities.
Cross River State Ministry of Water Resources (CRSMWR) as a leader in the sector, supported by the Technical Assistance Team (TAT) of the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme II (WSSSRP II) are convinced that PSPs are a very important pillar in WASH service delivery in the state, and as such should be accorded recognition in the affairs of WASH delivery in CRS. However, because of the multiplicity of private WASH Service organizations and associations like; Borehole Drillers Associations (BODAN); Table Water Producers Association; Plumbers Association; Water Tankers Association (to mention a few), the Ministry decided to organize these private associations into a network so as to ensure a better coordination of their activities within the State.
Process of Setting up the WASHPSPN
As part of the process of setting up the WASHPSPN, consultations were held with a few existing established private service provider associations in the State and also with the Calabar Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCC&I) who eventually agreed to serve as a hub for the network.
An Inaugural meeting, with the support of the TAT, was organized by the MWR in the State. The CCC&I expressed its delight and commitment to provide all necessary support to the new network. The few associations that were contacted and which came in as the seed organizations (BODAN, Plumbers Association, Table Water Producers Association and the Tankers Drivers Association) to the new network were very happy that a network that will bring them together is being established, and they appreciated the efforts of the CRSMWR and TAT for facilitating the birth of such an initiative that will go a long way to stabilize the activities of WASH private service providers in the State.
The representative of the Commissioner for Water Resources told the network that history is being made in CRS and indeed in Nigeria and believes that with the birth of the WASHPSPN, the sector will be further strengthened, and the social and economic objectives of the State, to ensure sustained water and sanitation services to the people of CRS, will be easily attained. Moreover, the birth of the network coming so close to the plans to set up a regulator in the sector will ensure that private service providers in the State have a voice to contribute to the progress of WASH service delivery in the State and this will contribute to accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in CRS.