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Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Project


  • Reference: P-SL-E00-003
  • Approval date: 18/09/2013
  • Start date: 28/01/2014
  • Appraisal Date: 21/07/2012
  • Status: OngoingOnGo


The project has four components, viz:

Component 1: Water Supply and Sanitation Infrastructure: The objective of this component is to provide water supply and sanitation infrastructure. The component will finance rehabilitation and new construction of water supply and sanitation facilities. The water supply facilities will include 576 hand-dug wells and spring boxes, 84 boreholes, 120 rainwater harvesting and 160 GFS taps, and solar power pumped standpipe (250)The facilities will result in additional safe water coverage of 10% within the project area, and national coverage of 9%, of which 47% will be women and girl child beneficiaries. A total of 390 sanitation facilities, including VIP latrines, Ecosan toilets and other solid waste disposal/recycling facilities, will be constructed in public institutions (i.e. markets, schools, community bari, and peripheral health units). Each sanitation facility shall have separated units for the disabled and girls/women. 47% of the units shall be for women and girls.

Component 2: Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program Development: The objective of this component is to develop a comprehensive framework to facilitate effective sub-sector management and resource mobilisation for the subsector. The component will finance the review of outputs of relevant on-going sector analytical and programming work financed by DFID, WSP and World Bank and development of additional strategies as required to constitute the elements of a comprehensive rural water supply and sanitation program and investment plan covering the period up to 2020. A resource mobilisation workshop will be convened to mobilise additional funding for the rural water supply and sanitation program.

Component 3: Capacity Building: This component will address some of the key human resources and institutional capacity constraints. Human resource development activities will include on-the-job, as well as short and long term training for 30 WASH professionals at national and local levels, including 40% women. Small scale service providers, such as pump mechanics and artisans will also be trained. The project will make special provision for promoting youth participation in service provision. Institutional development activities will include WASH education and sensitization campaigns at community level and the setting-up and training of 1000WASH Committees, 40% to be headed by women. The committees will be trained in the operation and management of water sanitation facilities; women and youth will be particularly targeted for the training. In addition, WASH stakeholder coordination will also be facilitated through sponsoring participation of key stakeholder representatives in important stakeholder coordination forums, including annual GoSL/DP joint sector reviews. Impact and flagship studies will be carried out as required to ensure informed decision making during stakeholder review and coordination forums. Logistical capacity will be provided, as well as support towards the production of baseline groundwater resources information and guidelines for construction of water and sanitation facilities.

Component 4: Project Management: The objective of this component is to ensure efficient and effective implementation of the project. The component will finance project operational and administrative costs as well as technical assistance to the District Councils, WD, IPAU and LGFD.


The objective of the proposed project is to:

(i) increase sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation in rural areas, and

(ii) develop a comprehensive national framework for rural water supply and sanitation investments. The project will benefit an estimated 66,000 rural Sierra Leoneans, and result in 9% increase in safe water coverage and at least 6% increase in improved sanitation coverage, besides a better managed sector and improved knowledge, attitudes practices of the primary beneficiaries.


Sierra Leone is endowed with large water resources potential, with more than seven large-scale rivers, and a considerable groundwater potential. Despite the potential, the country's water resources have contributed relatively little to socioeconomic development. To date, progress in achieving safe and appropriate water supply and sanitation services has been frustratingly slow for both government and those people who remain without improved services. Progress was largely derailed by the civil war which put most of the country's water infrastructure out of service.

The country's National Water and Sanitation Policy (NWSP) was enacted in 2011. The NWSP contains ambitious targets of extending water supply and sanitation services to all citizens by 2025. In the immediate short term, Sierra Leone is committed to achieving its 2015 MDG targets of 74 percent and 66 percent for improved water supply and sanitation coverage respectively. To achieve these targets, the extension of water and sanitation coverage will need to be accelerated substantially, while at the same time the issue of sustaining services will need to be addressed to ensure that the currently served population does not slip into the category of un-served.

Although off-track to achieving the MDG targets, the proportion of Sierra Leone's population that gained access to improved water sources between 1995 and 2010 (1.6%) is higher than the regional average. Only 13% of the population has access to improved sanitation, with 27% using shared facilities. More than one quarter of the population practices open defecation.

The disparity in access to safe water and improved sanitation for rural and urban areas is high. Only 35% of the population have access to improved water sources compared to 87% in urban areas. Access to improved sanitation in rural areas is only 6% (unshared) and 16% (shared). 41% of the rural population practices open defecation.

The proposed Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (RWSSP) for Sierra Leone is aligned with the country's PRSP II (Agenda for Change, 2008-2012). The PRSP II four priorities are:

(i) energy;

(ii) agriculture and fisheries;

(iii) transport; and

(iv) human development. The PRSP II also identifies Good Governance, Macroeconomic Stability and Management of Natural Resources as key preconditions for the delivery of the four PRSP II priorities. By focusing on addressing water and sanitation, education, healthcare, social protection, gender and promoting employment under the human development priority, the PRSP II provides a perfect framework for developing and implementing the proposed rural water and sanitation project.

The major constraints in the rural water and sanitation subsector include limited capacity of institutions responsible for creating the enabling environment and service delivery which is exacerbated by the lack of sufficient numbers of adequately qualified staff and the inability of the public sector to attract qualified professionals. The lack of coordination among both Government agencies and Development Partners and the absence of an effective monitoring and evaluation system in the sector as whole and lack of strategies and a comprehensive investment plan also pose additional challenges to rural water sub-sector management and financing. The decimated water resources monitoring network and lack of basic scientific information severely constrains success in the construction of wells and boreholes and is a major contributor to the low functionality rate of the water supply points, besides the complete inability to adapt to effects of climate change. Cholera outbreaks are not un-common due to very low sanitation coverage and the limited knowledge of basic sanitation at community level, coupled with the inability to enforce basic sanitation regulations; the situation is most critical in riverine areas, where the conventional water point and household sanitation technologies are inapplicable. The proposed project will be designed to address these constraints, especially in the districts which are currently receiving limited attention. The project will also facilitate the institutionalisation of coordination among sector players.

Government's effort to address the situation is supported by DFID, UNICEF, JICA, Water and Sanitation Program and World Bank through a wide range of activities which include policy, legal and institutional reforms as well as provision of water and sanitation infrastructure. World Bank support for the sector is through the Decentralised Service Delivery Program DSDP II project. The interventions are expected to yield good results but still fall short of the investments which are needed to enable the country attain the water and sanitation MDGs. The current commitments for rural water and sanitation total USD 44.27 million (USD40.97 m DFID/UNICEF + USD3.3 m WB-DSDP II) in programs/projects scheduled to close in 2015. The DFID/UNICEF intervention comprehensively covers 7 districts while WB-DSDP II financing is available to all the 13 district councils, albeit on a limited scale. Rural water and sanitation investment shortfall is estimated USD 44 million per annum. Bank's proposed intervention is intended to provide for additional investment to contribute to the achievement of the water and sanitation MDG targets, besides developing a consolidated framework for rural water and sanitation investments up to 2020. The Bank will utilize the opportunity of the operation to assume sector leadership and catalyse the much desired but virtually absent coordination in the sector.

The project is consistent with the ADF-12 operational priorities which include rural water and sanitation, and particularly, the World Bank/AfDB Joint Assistance Strategy (JAS) Pillar II Outcome 9: increased household access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The project in also in line with the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI), whose aim is to accelerate access to safe drinking water supply and sanitation in rural Africa in a sustainable with the overall goal of achieving full water supply and sanitation coverage by 2025 and the immediate objective of meeting the MDG targets in Regional Member Countries.


The key direct benefits from the project will be: (A) Comprehensive framework for planning and investment in the rural water subsector; and (B) the increase in safe water and improved sanitation coverage. The indirect benefits will include, but not necessarily limited to:

(ii) reduction in the prevalence rates of waterborne diseases, especially cholera, dysentery and diarrhea;

(iii) a significant reduction in health costs and time for collecting water which translate into substantial savings for rural households;

(iv) the easing of the burden of fetching water which is one of the most arduous tasks for women and young girls in the rural areas;

(v) the development of income-generating activities for women given the free time accruing from the reduced burden of fetching water;

(vi) an increase in the enrolment ratio, especially for girls, and in the female literacy rate; (vii) the reduction in social conflicts related to water use; (viii) the promotion of local governance and decentralization; (ix) the efficient management and maintenance of water supply and sanitation facilities; and (x) human capacity building and the creation of jobs in water management through the involvement of private operators in the construction, management, repair and maintenance of water supply facilities.

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Finance source Amount
ADFUAC 11,919,000
RWSSIUAC 5,300,000
GovernmentUAC 1,184,000
Co-financierUAC 12,468,000
DeltaUAC 212,152
TotalUAC 31,083,152
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