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Involving citizens in Policy making for urban sanitation

Journée Mondiale de l'eau, 22 mars 2017

Citizens have a role to play in decision making for urban sanitation planning. But, meaningfully engaging with citizens is not an easy process.

Some politicians use the pretence of citizen participation to show that they are considering the population’s point of view or to satisfy a donor’s expectation of participation, when in practice the demands expressed by citizen have little impact on the policy developed. A typical and common example of this is when a public status meeting is held to present a sanitation masterplan that is already fully developed from scratch by a foreign consulting firm. Such a public presentation is needed, but cannot, in my view, be considered as real or sufficient citizen involvement.

The highest level of citizen involvement would imply that citizens works jointly with elected representatives and the administration to develop, implement and monitor policy. Can this be done to ensure better service ? How ? Here are some examples and concerns of how citizens can take part in sanitation service development, across the whole project cycle.