Improving WASH Service Delivery in Protracted Crises: The Case of the Democratic Republic of Congo

by Beatrice Mosello

Aug 1, 2016

Delivering Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services during humanitarian emergencies and immediate recovery phases is essential for saving lives and responding to basic needs, yet choices about how WASH services are delivered can undermine future development and peace. Longer-term interventions can also overlook how they equip communities, households and government to prepare and respond to future emergencies. This is increasingly evident in protracted or recurrent crises, in which overlapping and cyclical phases of emergency, relief, recovery and development interventions coexist. In these contexts, practitioners and academics alike have acknowledged the problem of reconciling the fundamentally different institutional cultures, assumptions, values, structures and ways of working that characterise the humanitarian and the development communities.

In this report, we analyse humanitarian and development approaches in a specific sector, in a particular country: WASH interventions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We consider how and why siloes have arisen. We argue that the problem is not so much about filling a 'gap' between humanitarian and development siloes, but about aligning the principles and practices of both communities in specific contexts so that the overall response can meet changing needs and constraints. We identify a number of ways through which improved complementarity might be achieved, differentiating between national and sub-national levels.

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