The Global Sanitation Fund-supported programme in Benin

Date: 15th May 2015

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Executing Agency:
Medical Care Development International
Programme duration:
Programme Coordinating Mechanism:
Chaired by the National Directorate of Public Health (Ministry of Health)

With a focus on sustainable and equitable sanitation and hygiene, the GSF-supported PAPHyR programme aims to improve health and living conditions for disadvantaged rural communities. The programme directly implements Benin’s national sanitation and hygiene strategy. Covering 27 communes in four departments (regions), the programme complements other WASH initiatives, aligns with Benin’s decentralized system, and collaborates closely with the Ministry of Health. While commune local governments serve as official Implementing Partners, they delegate responsibilities to civil society organizations, which are known as delegated implementing partners.

2016 Highlights

PAPHyR continued to build a foundation for empowering communities to achieve ODF status and eventually climb the sanitation ladder to achieve total sanitation. Delegated implementing partners began community-based activities in 14 communes under the programme’s first funding round. The 14 partners were strategically selected through a demand-driven process led by mayors. By December 2016 the programme recorded its first key results: more than 6,600 people in 22 communities now live in ODF environments, as verified by the National Directorate of Public Health.

The programme also continued to work with the Ministry of Health to integrate sanitation into other community programmes focused on nutrition, child development and health. Covering 1,689 communities, the programme conducted in-depth pre-triggering exercises to collect information on community sanitation, identify vulnerable groups such as people with physical and mental disabilities, and understand community dynamics.

Together with trainers from the GSF-supported Madagascar programme, PAPHyR organized a CLTS capacity building workshop for implementing partners. The programme also conducted 14 Institutional Triggering sessions for municipal councilors and participated in various learning activities. Overall, the programme recorded significant positive energy in communities as well as engagement from local authorities, confirming that behaviour change is taking root.


The prolonged post-election phase led to delays in appointing mayors, which contributed to delays in implementing the programme. Changes to leadership in the Ministry of Health also slowed the programme’s momentum, due to the need to engage new stakeholders within this key institution. The programme has also faced challenges in some communities due to the rainy season, arid climates, and a lack of appropriate materials such as wood to construct sanitation facilities. These factors are being closely monitored and analyzed in order to build a more fit-for-purpose CLTS strategy in these communities.

Learning and innovation

As the second generation of GSF-supported programmes, lessons learned from other countries have been directly fed into PAPHyR’s design. In addition, the programme regularly exchanges lessons learned and best practices with other WASH actors in the country. With support from the Government, in 2016 PAPHyR and UNICEF established a learning platform for CLTS programmes in the country. The first exchange visit under this platform took place in the UNICEF-supported department of Zou, to learn how communities achieved and sustained ODF status.

At the end of the 2016 GSF Learning Event PAPHyR committed to making monitoring tools more participatory and developing an advocacy strategy to address institutions such as schools and churches. In addition, under the GSF’s francophone learning exchange programme, PAPHyR, participated in exchanges with programmes in Madagascar and Togo. This led to stronger adoption of the powerful post-triggering Follow-up MANDONA approach.

Looking ahead

Though the programme has already begun implementation, its official launch is scheduled for 2017. This is a strategic choice, inasmuch as the programme will be able to demonstrate a strong foundation of results at scale and a growing movement. PAPHyR will therefore be in a stronger position to effectively trigger institutional stakeholders. While commune governments continue to support PAPHyR in selecting, monitoring and evaluating delegated implementing partners, it is expected that they will take on more implementation responsibilities as the programme evolves, to ensure sustainability.

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