Morocco: Residents of Informal Settlements Access Water and Sanitation Services
More than 52,000 residents of informal settlements now have clean water and sanitation services, thanks to an innovative output-based aid (OBA) project
July 12, 2011
In Morocco, many people who move to the cities in search for a better life end up living in informal settlements without access to basic services such as clean water and sanitation. This has a negative effect on their health and well-being, especially for women and children who have to spend several hours a day fetching water from public fountains or wells.
In 2005, Morocco made it a priority to extend service to these poor peri-urban neighborhoods and encouraged operators and local governments to reduce connection fees for their inhabitants. These connection fees represented a major obstacle for poor people to connect to water and sanitation services.
The OBA concept was not imposed but instead, discussed and tested. OBA is something that will fit well in our strategy to improve peri-urban areas. || Khalid Sbia, Deputy Director of the Budget, Ministry of Economy and Finance of Morocco
The government and the operators of water utilities in three cities subsequently requested a grant from the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA), a World Bank-administered program, for a pilot project to expand services using an innovative output-based aid (OBA) approach.
The pilot is being implemented by two private operators, LYDEC in Casablanca and Amendis in Tangiers, and a public utility, RADEM, in Meknès.
“Under the OBA approach, the operators receive the subsidy payment only after an independent agent has verified that they have delivered working connections to the targeted households,” explains Adriana de Aguinaga, acting program manager of GPOBA. “This increases transparency and ensures that the funding benefits the people who need it most.”
“What the OBA subsidy does is that it fills the gap between the affordable level that these households can pay and the real cost of extending services to these households,” says Xavier Chauvot de Beauchêne, World Bank task team leader for the project.
So far, more than 52,000 residents of informal settlements have benefited from water and sanitation connections thanks to the OBA pilot. The impact on their lives has been dramatic.
“Before, without water, it was difficult to plan or do things. I felt doors were closed but they are now finally open. Everything became possible,” said Hassana Jaatouti, a project beneficiary in Meknes.
L to R: Hassana Jaatouti, a project beneficiary in Meknes || Fatima Louada and her family now have clean water and sanitation services in their home in Lamkensa, an informal settlement in Casablanca.
The OBA approach is helping to refocus service provision on the households, which has increased accountability, strengthened partnerships between local authorities and operators, and made monitoring of service delivery a priority.
“The OBA pilot project has changed the way we do things: it has motivated people, given us confidence, and enabled us to make connections faster,” says Jean-Pierre Ermenault, Director General of LYDEC, the operator in Casablanca.
“The OBA concept was not imposed but instead, discussed and tested. OBA is something that will fit well in our strategy to improve peri-urban areas,” says Khalid Sbia, Deputy Director of the Budget at the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Morocco.
In Tangiers, families in informal settlements enjoy a healthier environment after the sewer connections have been made.
The World Bank is now working with the Government of Morocco to plan a scale-up program to bring water and sanitation services to many other disadvantaged communities in urban areas, using the OBA method.