E-WASH Innovation Grant Fund: Advocacy, Coordination and Strategic Communications

USAID
Last date: 
Monday, June 22, 2020
Country: 
Nigeria

Detailed Description

USAID has launched various calls under “E-WASH Program” for the purpose of implementing scalable innovative solutions to strengthen urban WASH governance and operations within Nigeria. E-WASH has a strong interest in leveraging the expertise of new and underutilized partners.

Under the “E-WASH Program”, RTI has launched the Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) for the E-WASH Innovation Grant Fund: Advocacy, Coordination and Strategic Communications (Nigeria).

E-WASH is seeking to issue grant(s) to local non-US organizations including I) large youth-led and women-led organizations, 2) business development service providers and non-governmental organizations, and 3) tertiary institutions for the purpose of implementing scalable innovative solutions to strengthen urban WASH governance and operations. E-WASH has a strong interest in leveraging the expertise of new and underutilized partners.

Reform programs succeed when they are well understood and supported by stakeholders. Such programs are however often placed at risk when the institution steering the changes does not put in place adequate mechanisms to secure political and social support amongst stakeholders. Such mechanisms include adopting a strategic approach to communicating with key stakeholder and interest groups.

The implementation of Urban WASH reform involves major changes in the provision of water services. These changes have the potential to generate resistance from politicians and the general public. The discomfort associated with commercialization, autonomy, negative media coverage, and apprehension regarding potential tariff increases and the transfer of assets to the State Water Boards (SWBs) are all factors that have the potential to create opposition against the type of reform E-WASH is advocating.

Therefore, advocacy, stakeholder coordination and strategic communications are required to build understanding and support for reforms because resistance to reform is expensive. When there is resistance, reforms take much longer to implement, or they may not proceed as planned. Strategic communication in a reform period must be strategic and intensive in nature to build understanding and minimize resistance, E-WASH believes innovative technical solutions can deepen the consensus that is required for reforms to succeed. Hence, the program looks to partner with the private sector and nongovernmental organizations through adoption of communications enhancing technologies and upgraded marketing infrastructure to improve SWB business processes.

Objectives

E-WASH will work towards achieving the following mutually reinforcing objectives:

  • Creating professionally managed and commercially oriented SWBs;
  • Improving the financial and operational viability of SWBs;
  • Strengthening policy, institutional and regulatory frameworks for improved WASH services; and
  • Building national and state WASH advocacy, coordination, and communications for reform.

E-WASH Theory of Change

Increased access to sustainable WASH services will only be achieved in urban areas within Nigeria when SWBs undergo a reorganization process to develop professional and commercially oriented practices that enable them to operate efficiently as commercial entities. They must have autonomous, accountable, and transparent management and strengthened corporate governance with clear priorities for effective and inclusive service provision. Well-functioning SWBs must have performance-based contracts, good monitoring capabilities, trained personnel, cost recovery, a proper tariff structure, and asset maintenance management systems. Creating good corporate governance in SWBs is essential to increase access to sustainable water services.

E-WASH targets urban WASH challenges, especially at the water board or utility level, building from five key assumptions:

  • The state governments that own the water boards will be committed to reform efforts.
  • Governance improvements in the water boards will be strengthened by state governments’ motivation and willingness to entrench corporate structure in the water boards.
  • The state governments are committed to adjust tariffs in terms of both cost recovery and affordability.
  • Broad-based stakeholder engagement, effective civil society engagement, and accountability mechanisms are necessary to monitor and advocate for reform.
  • USAID can continue to work effectively with other development partners, particularly the World Bank and African Development Bank, to achieve meaningful scale and impact; and
  • USAID’s efforts will catalyze governance improvements within the SWBs

Expected Results

Award(s) will contribute to one or more of the results below:

Result 1: Innovative approaches to advocacy, coordination and strategic communications are developed and applied to promote citizen engagement in WASH sector reforms, accountability, and social transparency.
Result 2: Innovative approaches to community- based WASH engagements targeting vulnerable groups such as women, girls, boys, and persons living with disabilities.
Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements to qualify for funding under this REOI.

  • Be legally registered as a non us non-governmental organization or for-profit private entity and having capacity to operate in Nigeria.
  • Have a physical office in Nigeria.
  • Have demonstrative success in the proposed area of intervention and other WASH related solutions
  • Preferred to have been active for at least 3 years’ operating within their sector and respective state.
  • Have three (3) or more full time or part time staff.
  • Project, not acting as an intermediary/consultant.
  • Be willing to comply with all technical and financial requirements for participation in the program, including reporting and documentation of project activities, communication strategy and capacity development opportunities.
  • Be eligible to receive funded awards from the United States government.

Source: https://www.rti.org/sites/default/files/innovation_grant_reoi_advocacy_and_strategic_comms.pdf

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