This study took place in Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia and was carried out using participatory approaches by country teams comprising staff from the rural water departments at national level and WaterAid. The teams were coordinated and managed by Water Management Consultants (WMC) in collaboration with Intermediate Technology Consultants. The study has comprised three phases - 1 inception, 2 surveys of small-scale private sector and government capacity and 3 analysis and dissemination. The study has been a 'learning journey' for the teams.
The surveys established that in the study countries demand for spare parts and services is presently low, private sector activity is very small and informal, and the sector is poorly equipped in human resource terms to lead a major transition to Private Sector Participation (PSP). The final phase has involved the production, by the teams, of country-specific guidelines or actions for the respective governments to take to remove barriers and enable small-scale private sector participation. WMC has synthesised the country guidelines and produced generic guidelines, presented in this report, for these and other governments in Africa and elsewhere. The generic guidelines are methodological in nature and are intended for use by governments reforming their rural water sector and who wish to investigate and involve the rural-based small-scale private sector but do not yet know how. A knowledge review conducted in Phase 1 found no similar guidelines focusing on rural-based service providers.
This final report presents a generic methodology for governments in Africa and elsewhere that can be used to increase the role of the rural-based SMEs in rural water service provision. A key assumption in all three countries is that the small-scale private sector has a productive role to play in rural water supply. The research was not designed to question whether this assumption was valid.