Water System Manual
Implement the project
project should first be implemented as a pilot. This is strongly recommended in
order to test methods and determine what is effective, before implementing on
a large scale. A pilot project discovers mistakes or weaknesses, and permits adjustments
and improvements, without jeopardizing the larger activity. Also, a successful
pilot can be used to justify increased funding from donor agencies.
The length of the
pilot depends on what you need to learn from it. A pilot to determine the acceptability
to the target audience and the effectiveness of the Safe Water System can be fairly
short, such as 12 weeks. A pilot of a social marketing approach to distribution,
education and promotion will take longer, to give time for the messages and distribution
to diffuse in the community.
Zambia, for example, a pilot project lasted one year. It was successful and
was instrumental in helping the Ministry of Health control a cholera outbreak,
which convinced USAID to increase funding to expand the project to other regions
of the country in the second year.
Produce and distribute vessels, disinfectant, and educational/promotional materials
Procure or produce vessels. (See section 5.0.)
Procure or produce disinfectant. (See section 5.0.)
Bottle disinfectant (with appropriate label)
Assure quality/concentration of disinfectant when produced and when distributed
(see Annex C)
Distribute disinfectant to outlets (clinics, stores, and other outlets). Provide
health facilities and other outlets such as clinics, pharmacies, NGO clinics,
and volunteer sales people, with an initial supply of vessels and disinfectant.
Monitor to ensure that deliveries are made to outlets in a timely way and that
families who hear of the products and come to purchase them will not be disappointed.
Print and distribute educational/promotional materials
quantities and materials for all anticipated needs during the pilot. It is usually
more cost effective to print a large quantity than to reprint smaller quantities
each time supplies run out. Distribute materials so that they are in outlets and
in the hands of staff who will use them prior to the launch.
Launch the pilot project (special event)
launch event is a special promotional activity to introduce the products and outlets
in the pilot area and generate excitement and awareness in the target population.
In Bolivia, for example, the launch included a parade of traditional dancers
through the streets of La Paz followed by a ceremony on stage that included popular
musicians and political figures. In Madagascar, the launch included a performance
by the leading popular singer and other educational activities.
of the launch is very important. In some settings, it is most effective to first
implement some educational activities to convey some messages about diarrhea as
a problem and the need for safe water. These activities should make the audience
aware of the link between diarrhea and unsafe water and stimulate their interest.
In Pakistan, for example, the project spent a couple of weeks doing community-based
education about contamination in the drinking water and the diseases it caused,
using videotapes, slide shows, posters, and group meetings. Then the project brought
in the water vessels, demonstrated and distributed them. The initial 2 weeks of
focus on the problem effectively increased enthusiasm for the subsequent intervention.
event might be timed to correspond with a cholera season or other seasonal increase
of diarrhea, a time when people are especially motivated to avoid disease transmission.
a launch event does not have to be expensive. In Kenya, the launch was
a meeting with community leaders to hand out and discuss information about the
Safe Water System. The community leaders were then asked to take back the information
to their villages. No press was present, but the effort reached all villages in
the project area.
Supervise and support activities to implement the behavior change strategy and
sell vessels and disinfectant through distribution systems as planned; monitor
staff, staff at pharmacies and shops, and volunteers sell the products as planned.
They will require an uninterrupted supply of the vessels, disinfectant, and educational
and promotional materials.
and sell the products through different distribution systems and media channels
Use print materials - Health facilities display posters and staff use brochures
when teaching family members about making water safe. Labels are put on disinfectant
bottles. Posters are hung in places where groups will see them, such as in the
market place, post office, shops.
Disseminate messages to groups - Radio spots are broadcast, demonstrations
are conducted at community meetings, audio-visual trucks visit communities to
show a video on the Safe Water System, and drama groups stage promotional events.
Implement interpersonal communication - Health staff teach clients about
diarrhea and the Safe Water System including answering questions and ensuring
clients understand how to use the products. Pharmacists and shopkeepers promote
and teach clients about the Safe Water System products as they sell the products
to them. Neighborhood health committee representatives trained in motivational
interviewing talk with community members about the Safe Water System and sell
the products to them.
is important to monitor these activities from the beginning to be sure that the
activities are getting underway as planned, that the products are available for
families to buy, that the target population understands the messages, and that
there are no significant barriers to acceptance. If results are unexpected, conduct
analyses to determine what went wrong. Solve problems that have delayed activities
such as distribution of products or promotion of the Safe Water System and make
adjustments as needed. Sometimes rumors are spread about a product, for example
that it causes sterility. If this happens, it is necessary to seek out the source
of the rumor to dispel concerns, and to reinforce educational and promotional
efforts in populations affected by the rumor. Another potential problem is misuse
of the products, for example using the water vessel to dispense alcoholic beverages.
While such occurrences are impossible to prevent, it is important to disseminate
a clear message that the purpose of the products is to make water safe.
Over time, assess
the audience's response to the messages.
necessary, adjust messages and the way they are delivered. Even if the messages
are still appropriate, their format and presentation should change over time so
that people do not become bored and ignore them. Over time, promotion can emphasize
different aspects of the product and the image associated with it. Early in the
campaign, messages may emphasize purchasing a Safe Water System storage vessel
and a bottle of disinfectant solution. Later messages may emphasize the on-going
purchase and proper use of the disinfectant along with improved sanitary practices.
and supervision are important to ensure that the activities are carried out as
planned. In one project, after extensive media coverage, shipment of the disinfectant
became unreliable and people did not have access to the product. Use of, and demand
for, the disinfectant dropped to zero.
factors that often result in poor motivation and lead to project failures include:
lack of clarity about responsibilities
lack of support from supervisors and colleagues
inadequate incentives, pay and resources
heavy workload or conflicting tasks
at health centers, pharmacies and shops, and volunteers who will sell the products
need support and supervision. These individuals were given training and materials
to help them teach about and sell the products. In addition, a visit to their
site to answer their questions and give them encouragement, particularly early
in the pilot project, can help to increase their effectiveness and motivation.
for improving supervision and staff motivation include:
Giving staff clear and detailed job descriptions so that they know what is expected
Establishing clear roles and allocating responsibility for supervision, especially
if activities are being integrated into existing health programmes and activities
and personnel already have a range of tasks to carry out
meetings to ensure that staff at all levels are aware of plans, progress and changes
as a result of monitoring, and can exchange information about their experiences.
and addressing the specific causes of poor motivation
Ensuring that staff are paid a salary in accordance with the job and have the
resources to carry out their jobs
Ensuring that volunteers receive sufficient incentives to play their expected
Providing staff with incentives for good work, such as bonus payments, recognition
through prizes or awards, in-service training, or promotion
Including funds for supervision in project budgets
Continue supplying bottles of disinfectant
to ensure that production of disinfectant is keeping up with the need to resupply
outlets. If demand exceeds the supply, consider whether an additional machine
is needed in order to increase the production, or whether the existing machines
could be run more hours each day to increase output. Determine that there are
not large stocks sitting in some outlets while other outlets run out. If some
outlets have stock outages, help staff at those outlets to anticipate their needs
and order products to restock their shelves in a timely way.
Evaluate the pilot project
Meet with community leaders to inform them about the need for evaluation and to
get their approval and cooperation
Initiate field work; obtain consent from every participating household
and store evaluation data as planned
Analyze and interpret evaluation data
Review findings with project staff
Make adjustments in project activities based on findings
Write the evaluation report
Organize report around objectives that were evaluated
Write a summary, purpose of evaluation, methods, results, conclusions, recommendations
Implement the project on a larger scale
successful Safe Water System pilot project has been subsequently implemented on
a larger scale. This requires additional funding and partners. Successful projects
have been able to find substantial additional funding. It is important to document
success through project evaluations and reports so that this information can be
presented to donor agencies and other potential partners. Each effort to expand
a project will be unique, but will probably include the following steps:
Make adjustments in the project design for the next phase (going to bigger scale).
Slow incremental growth is recommended so that supply and demand can be generated
evenly in new areas.
Make needed adjustments in the products, methods of distribution, communication
methods or messages needed to implement on a larger scale, and any adjustments
based on evaluation of the pilot.
Obtain funding for increased product volume, distribution, behavior change strategy.
Arrange for transportation and storage for increased distribution of products
in larger area.
Establish additional points of sale for vessels and disinfectant, including providing
promotional and educational materials, and training staff.
Implement distribution, sales, and the behavior change strategy on a larger scale
(e.g., promotion, education, motivational interviewing, community mobilization).
Monitor and evaluate.
expanding, consider additional target populations, such as schools, health clinics,
mothers' clubs, restaurants, or public places where people must wait (e.g., city
consider different applications of the Safe Water System. Examples of additional
applications that have been tried in pilot projects include:
street vendors of beverages (Guatemala and Bolivia)8
preparation of bulk ORS solution in cholera wards, hospitals, or clinics (Guinea-Bissau,
emergency response to natural disasters and epidemics (Bolivia, Zambia, Madagascar)12
of infant formula by HIV-positive mothers (Cote d'Ivoire).
Water System projects have been expanded to a national, or near-national level
in Zambia, Madagascar, and Ecuador. A similar project was expanded to several
regions of Peru. Bolivia expanded to 7 regions of the country, but then reduced
the project due to lack of funding and management problems. These projects can
be contacted for more specific information.
Ecuador: [email protected] or [email protected]
Kenya: [email protected] or [email protected]
Madagascar: [email protected] or [email protected]
Peru: [email protected]