Project Factsheet
Tools for » Economic Governance of Water and Sanitation
Project ID:00067177Description:MDGF-1782-A-HND EcoGov
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 29 Oct 2007
MDGF Economic Governance
End Date*: 30 Aug 2012
Country: Honduras Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


The Joint Programme (JP) is aligned with national priorities and seeks to achieve in particular the MDG 7 and objective 7 C to reduce by half by 2015 the number of people without access to safe water and sanitation services. Through the programme this percentage stands at 88.5% of the population with access to safe water (versus 84% in 2006) and it is foreseen that the objective for sanitation will be met by 2015. The JP fits into the Honduras National Plan and its articulation was based on an inclusive and participatory approach from the UN agencies, the national, regional, municipal and local institutions including community-based organizations.

A national policy for water and sanitation (WatSan) was developed specifically aiming at social inclusion and was accepted by the National Council for Water and Sanitation (CONASA). However its implementation is pending the approval of the Legislature (National Congress). At the municipal levels, WatSan investments are very useful for municipalities, which are now including them in their action plans.  12 municipalities are currently implementing local WatSan plans developed by the JP. Four smaller cities targeted under outcome 2 were able to use the technical guide for vulnerability reduction. The application of new methodologies for consumption has translated into a reduction of 20% water consumption reduction among participating industries. Economic benefits linked to the improvements in water consumption reduction, energy and waste recycling are realized through cost reductions and income generation.  Most importantly, there has been a change of attitude at the community level and a greater conscience of rights and obligations regarding water and sanitation, while communities, municipalities and community associations have seen their technical capacities improved. Concrete changes enabled vulnerable low-income population to have access to cheaper and safer water and sanitation services.


Outcome 1:

Water and Sanitation sectoral policy developed and implemented with a focus on social inclusion under the leadership of the national and local governments.

Outcome achievements:

  • Support was provided to the national institutions (Consejo Nacional de Agua y Saneamiento –CONASA- and Ente Regulador de Servicios de Agua y Saneamiento - ERSAPS) as identified by the Framework law 2003. Service delivery diagnostics were developed serving as bases for municipal water commissions (COMAS) and Local Supervision and Control Units (USCL). The ERSAPS web page was launched with an information database.
  • 13 municipalities approved local water and sanitation policies and 12 municipalities are currently implementing the new policies.  Ten chlorine banks were created for the management board of the water and sanitation of the JP rural municipalities. Ten safe water plans (PSA) are being implemented. 14 socio-environmental diagnostics have been elaborated. Technical training was provided to 207 technical staff from 33 municipalities and 7 other territorial organizations. In twelve communities there is a control and supervision mechanism of the water quality, improving the living conditions of some 20,000 people and contributing to a reduction of infant mortality rates. Protocols validated at the local level for vulnerability reduction, preparation of mitigation plans, and development of emergency plans were implemented in various communities. A communication, information and education strategy regarding the obligations, rights and contents of the sector water and sanitation policy was developed. Monthly bulletins were also published on various websites regarding the JP.


Outcome 2:

Investment mechanisms in smaller cities and peri-urban areas of the country established, through direct financing of the JP and other resources leveraged through strategic alliances with the government and other actors.

Outcome achievements:

  • Regulations were prepared on payment and compensation for environmental services (fee-for-service concept) for the local population in the target areas and were established by government’s technical institutions and local actors. Though not yet implemented, sensitization amongst users and stakeholders laid the basis for implementation at a later stage. In places such as Tela, communities did not agree to contribute financially to the Revolving Fund, which is part of the implementation scheme. Guidelines for vulnerability and risk reduction were developed and incorporated into the local legislation for design, construction and improvement of the WatSan infrastructures en smaller cities, developing neighborhoods and peri-urban areas.
  • 4 or 5 companies in the Rio Blanco watershed use cleaner technologies. There are also efforts to improve access to WatSan through capacity development activities, such as the training of 7 environmental micro-enterprises of small income level that made a living from recycling. Through the programme they were trained and their businesses officially registered, and three municipalities contracted them for solid waste recycling. 3 smaller cities apply a participatory methodology for access to water and sanitation in the marginalized neighborhoods that was developed in Tegucigalpa. Municipal level capacity was developed through support in management of financial resources and through specific trainings to the municipal technicians and local population (135 technicians on solid waste management, 135 technicians on management of water and environmental sanitation, 7 micro-enterprises run by local population previously trained in technical and managerial aspects), municipal WatSan commissions created in 12 local municipalities and 2 metropolitan areas. A training strategy and methodological guidelines were developed for water boards. The methodology was used in La Ceiba. Other cities peri-urban areas did not have the conditions required (e.g. sufficient income level to create a revolving fund) to implement the methodology.


Outcome 3:

Mechanisms for investments in rural areas of the country established, through direct financing of the JP and other resources leveraged through strategic alliances with the government and other actors.

Outcome achievements:

  • Similar to the previous outcome but the geographical focus is on rural communities in order to improve the living conditions through vulnerability reduction in the water supply and sanitation systems.  Some 500 members of the water boards in fifty rural communities were trained, and some 5,000 inhabitants of 17 scattered rural communities have gained access to water and sanitation. 19 WatSan systems were built to benefit some 34,912 people of which 50% were girls/women. Guidelines for vulnerability reduction developed by the JP were applied to 19 projects to benefit the living conditions of the population. Also ten socioeconomic and biophysical diagnosis were undertaken in targeted micro watersheds. Capacity development was undertaken among community associations and municipalities in order to develop and implement action plans for the protection, and sustainable and profitable management of micro-watersheds. In Copan, 79,600 people (52.6% girls/women) benefited from the systems for solid waste recycling (including 70 families that were involved in the 7 micro-enterprises created with support of the project).


Best practices:

  • The support of the UN Resident Coordinator and Heads of agencies and national counterparts creating alliances with civil society, educational institutions, governmental actors and CBOs allowed for the good implementation of the JP.
  • Including target population in monitoring and control of the watsan services, through the COMAS and USCL, contributed to citizens’ participation. The focus on gender and intercultural aspects of the JP allowed for a greater participation of women and youth in community decision-making.
  • Safe water plans (PSA), use of the ESCASAL methodology and the opening of Chlorine Banks all contributed to improving health indicators of the participating communities.
  • The introduction of the payment and compensation system (service fee) for environmental services involving the population, although not implemented, is laying the ground for its application in the future.
  • Importance of introducing new and environmentally friendly technologies in the sector.


Lessons learned:

  • The inclusion of 6 UN agencies contributed to a closer coordination paving the way for ONE UN programming.
  • Experience in the various initiatives show that citizen’s participation leads to commitment and ownership. This also contributes to better awareness raising among women and youth of their rights.
  • Community groups and municipalities had different levels of technical capacity, thus capacity development is needed but with clear technical objectives and rules as there is a high level of politicization.
  • National counterparts were able to meet their undertakings. The SANAA (National Service for Aqueducts and Sewer) at central level assumed commitments that the regional offices had the technical knowledge but not the logistical means to carry out – so in the future the central office should assess existing logistical capacity of their regional offices to ensure that commitments can be kept.


More details can be found in the final project report:

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