In this interview, Barry Jackson of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council(WSSCC), speaks on the delayed disbursement of the Global Sanitation Fund in Nigeria stating that ‘ Nigeria has the resources but they don’t always have a clear programme as how they would implement sanitation and hygiene promotion’
Ewash : Please introduce yourself.
Barry: I am Barry Jackson, the Programme Manager of the Global Sanitation Fund, based in the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council(WSSCC) in Geneva. We work through the United Nations (UN) system. We are hosted by an agency called UNOPS. We have been working in Nigeria for over a year, working with a team, delegated by the National Sanitation Task Group, which is developing a Country Programme proposal from us to finance. And that programme will be in two States, Benue and Cross River and I think in about six local government areas.
In order to implement that program, our job is to procure a Country Programme Monitor, and we have one lined up, not yet appointed and also an Executing agency through which the funds will flow.
This time last year, we advertised for expression of interest and put out a request for proposals to quite a large number of potential bidders. But in fact, none of these proposals were suitable. Not all have the qualifications we were looking for and the two that did, were very expensive and did not appear to understand exactly what we were doing.
We looked at it and saw that we could not negotiate and we have to a fresh bid. Since then, we have been busy with the National Sanitation Task Group refining the Country Programme which is just about ready now and we are restarting the launch for proposals.
In this case, we decided to go the extra time, we spent time speaking to potential bidders and encouraging them to bring in full proposals. And this could be national or international NGOs within the country who are represented in Benue and Cross River States. We will go public with a National advertisement at the same time and we will be inviting people to join the short list which is permissible with the United Nations procurement rules.
We then select the best according to standard criteria which are published and negotiate with the preferred bidder, and we hope to sign the contract before the end of the year.
ewash: What is the budget for Nigeria?
Barry:- The Budget for Nigeria is a standard one, it is five million dollars for five years, but we regard this as just a starter. We recognise that Nigeria can absolve a lot more money if we get the system right and if the people managing it are reliable and can expand.
So we have proposed a mid term review in which we will look carefully with the National Sanitation Task Group to see how much money you can absolve and how many more states to work in. Our aim is to support sanitation across Nigeria but in particular to encourage State Governments and Local Governments to respond with their own resources.
We reckon that Nigeria has the resources but they don’t always have a clear programme as how they would implement sanitation and hygiene promotion and we are hoping that in two or three years we have something to demonstrate, here is a programme that everybody can implement.
ewash: What kind of groups can assess these funds as implementers?
Barry:-The probable Executing groups will be national or international NGOs. The funds will flow through to local government authorities and to local NGOs locally represented in that state to implement things like CTLS, hygiene promotion, support the private sector for construction of toilet and things like that. A whole lot of people can assess these funds, particularly local NGOs.
ewash: Can you give us the size of the grant?
Barry: Per Local authorities there could be between $300,000 – $400,000 and maybe the smallest grant will be $20,000 dollars to a local NGOs to do certain things within a large programme.
ewash: Lastly can you give the likely time frame this programme is going to take off in Nigeria?
Barry: If we sign the contract by the end of the year, there will be a launched early the next year. It usually takes six months before you can have the system in place before we can launch the call for proposal. So we believe that by July next year, the executing agency will be calling for proposal for grants.