: Gret

Discussion Forum

geocoding

By Project Well Posted on Fri 13 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

Hello,

Your organization was established in 1976 when Global Positioning System (GPS) device was not available and topographical maps of restricted areas like border areas of countries were also not available. Now GPS and google earth are two excellent tools are available for geographic locations, does your organization have any such locations of the water and sanitation projects in Peru, Haiti or any other country?

I am asking because it is one of the major metrics that makes tracking historical projects easier no matter how many are there on the map.

Comment: It is not easy to track activities of any large organization, like yours, with hundreds of employees already working in different parts of the world. But it is never too late to start from present retrospectively in this hi-tech era. As mentioned above that it is worth spending money on surveillance and educational outreach programs because there are millions who do not have electricity and proper education and we, the privileged living in the hi-tech era, must do our best to reach and help them and move from the stereotype, conventional methods to revolutionary web-based tracking by using platform like Peer Water Exchange.

Thanking you
Meera Hira Smith

Your existing post projects monitoring mechanism/system

By East Meets West Foundation Posted on Thu 05 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

Dear Frederic,

It’s interesting to read your organization profile. It is known that your organization has long time experience of implementing water projects in Laos . I am curious about what happen with the projects that you implemented after they were finished? Do you go back to see what’s going on some time or do you have any kind of afterward-monitoring-mechanism or system for the stakeholders with ongoing responsibilities for operation and maintenance regarding the finished projects?

Thank you very much for your sharing. I guess other organizations are also very much interested in your long-term monitoring experience and PWX would be very useful for you.

Best regards,
Ngoc

Your existing post projects monitoring mechanism/system

By Gret Posted on Fri 06 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

Dear Ngoc,

Thank you for showing an interest to our activities.

I will try to give a clear response to your questions.

First of all, I want to stress that, as much as possible, we try to allocate sufficient time to consolidate projects procedures and methodology, policy approaches, and, most important, projects stakeholders learning. For that purpose, we seek to implement project over a sufficient period of time. An example: Mirep project in Laos started in 2004 as a pilote, was extended in 2007 for a second phase, and has entered a third up-scaling phase in 2012 (wich will end in 2015). This example illustrates our itertive approach: start small, and upscale progessively.

Second, when projects are finished, we use our permanent human resources within counrty base to go back from time to time on sites to check water or santitation services are running well and collect data for keep learning lessons.

All the Best

Frederic

By East Meets West Foundation Posted on Sat 07 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

We (EMW) know Gret quite well because they are implementing the water supply component of a new grant we received in Cambodia (and possibly Laos).

From EMW's perspective, we would love to see a joint use of this platform, to facilitate the management of monitoring and reporting requirements for this grant. I hope it can offer a central 'hub' of information which key people from both our organisations can access, and if it is being updated regularly, eventually it would become a timeline of the project's progress which would be very useful.

Another area where value could lie for EMW in particular, is any additional learnings your teams share about implementing the public private partnership model, in particular the approaches you take with training/advocacy for government partners. I heard that Chansouk's visit to Vietnam was a huge success and his speech at the high level meeting on PPP was very well received. As Laos seems to be a South East Asian leader in PPP, I think we could learn a lot from you and it would really contribute to our advocacy and implementation efforts in Vietnam.

I would be interested in your thoughts on this matter Fred, - where you see the key value in the PWX platform for your teams.

Many thanks!

Georgia

Our interest joing PWX

By Gret Posted on Mon 09 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

Dear Georgia,

Thank you for your supportive words.

We would love sharing with all the organizations of this plateform our experiences on PPP models. How to engage local private sectors into water and sanitation services delivery ? How to ensure public authorities and communities are able to regulate the operators activities? These are questions we have been trying to adress over the last few years, and which we would be happy to discuss with you all.

One area we are looking for experiences is pro-poor policies. As mentioned in my previous message, while we aim to provide solutions for the poorest, we must acknowledge that our tools and strategies are far from being pefect. I guess one our interest joining this plateform would be to share tools, procedures, approaches leading to improve living conditions of the poorest.

Thanks

Fred

IT and systems

By Peer Water Exchange Posted on Fri 13 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

Hi,

I am interested in your systems for tracking and managing projects and communications. Especially because you have a large portfolio and also the variety created by trying a service delivery approach and PPP models.


  • How is communication from the field to the regional offices to main offices systematized?

  • How can one regional office learn from the experience of another? (you can do it by rotating staff, for e.g.)

  • How do the organization track projects to make decisions (as you mention the Laos project above)? It could be based on funding - or other more strategic factors.

  • How have your work processes changed over time and as you change geographies?

Obviously this is a difficult topic to discuss in this forum, but i mainly want to know if Gret has made these internal infrastructure issues part of its strategy and a couple of anecdotes about how they were addressed.

Thanks and regards,
Rajesh

IT and systems

By Gret Posted on Mon 16 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

Dear Rajesh,

To tell you the truth, Gret has a lot to learn from other organizations in terms of communication. Our procedures are far from being stabilized yet. Over the last 5 years, we have been reforming our guidelines and procedures to harmonize our management and communication schemes. The decision making process has been clarified, but still we have progress to make.

In terms of learning process, this is an important issue: like any other NGO, our "capital" is our human resources. We have nothing else than human capital. So we pay more and more attention to the way our experiences can lead to some collective learning and in turn transform to capacity to act more consistently, effectively and efficiently. For that purpose, we try encourage exchange between teams, as well as internal mobility, and by organizing regular events during which we discuss some strategic and methodologic orientations.

But again, easier said than done... It is difficult for a small NGO like us to keep some of our staff when our salaries can not compete with salaries provided by other organizations.

IT and systems

By Gret Posted on Mon 16 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

Dear Rajesh,

To tell you the truth, Gret has a lot to learn from other organizations in terms of communication. Our procedures are far from being stabilized yet. Over the last 5 years, we have been reforming our guidelines and procedures to harmonize our management and communication schemes. The decision making process has been clarified, but still we have progress to make.

In terms of learning process, this is an important issue: like any other NGO, our "capital" is our human resources. We have nothing else than human capital. So we pay more and more attention to the way our experiences can lead to some collective learning and in turn transform to capacity to act more consistently, effectively and efficiently. For that purpose, we try encourage exchange between teams, as well as internal mobility, and by organizing regular events during which we discuss some strategic and methodologic orientations.

But again, easier said than done... It is difficult for a small NGO like us to keep some of our staff when our salaries can not compete with salaries provided by other organizations.

Strengths, weaknesses and unique qualities

By Drop in the Bucket Posted on Sat 07 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

Dear Frederic,

Your organization is very impressive and I feel that considering the considerable amount of work you have done, you probably have a lot you can offer this group in terms of expertise and sharing information. In your opinion what do you think your organizations strengths are? What do you personally feel you do particularly well or what are you most proud of?

I know this is a tricky subject, but what areas do you feel you could improve on? Now in order to ask that question I think it is only fair to say what I feel our organization could improve on, and for us (and the entire sector) I think sustainability is always an issue. Just to clarify I don't think anybody on here expects you to have all of the answers to why water and sanitation projects succeed and fail, but in your opinion what is your biggest challenge and how much success have you had in that area? Was there a breakthrough moment where you felt like you were really onto something positive?

Lastly what do you think Gret does that is unique to your organization? Is it a new concept or technology, a new way of managing your staff, a new way of looking at an existing problem, a fundraising or marketing idea or something else? Every organization seems to have a thing that makes them stand out. What do you feel yours is?

Thanks,

John

Drop in the Bucket

Strengths, weaknesses and unique qualities

By Gret Posted on Mon 09 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

Dear John,

These are difficult questions indeed. I will try to give some piece of answers :

Strengths: our organization has been working for many years in a wide variety of contexts both on water supply and sanitation issues : (i) rural, semi-rural and urban areas, (ii) African as well as Asian and carabean Countries. This confrontation to several contexts contributed to progressively enrich our methodological framework. Moreover, our teams are able to cope with technical, organizational and financial issues. Not only are we able to support local stakeholders in designing technical systems but also working on management and regulation schemes. Definitely, one of our strength is a capacity to set up liaison between some local activities on the field and policy designs at macro level.

Weakness: as a french organization, our weakness is to deal with english language (joke). More serioulsy, like many other organizations I guess, we struggle to find appropriate ways to deliver sustainable water and sanitation services to the poorest of the poors. I suppose we all feel that some of these solutions, may this be financial-type(solidarity funds, cross-subsidies mechanisms, lifeline tariffs, installement payments, etc.) or technical type (alternative delivery systems, kiosks, pre-paid mechanisms, etc.) requires strong political will and continuous involvment of public authorities. These conditions are difficult to establish. But I guess working with local NGOs to advocate the rights of the porr can help. But it requires time (and so money).

Gret specificity: I would not say that Gret is unique working this way. But it is true that our strategy lies on the concept of "service delivery approach", with the term "service" being conceptualized as a socio-technical system. It may sound a bit theoritical. What it means in practice is that water supply and sanitation comprise not only technical issues, but also socio-economical aspects. In order to set up appropriate solutions we must understand the practices and the perceptions of people with regard to water and sanitation. Within a community, we must understand how the power relationships are framed, what the interractions modalities are like, what the social norms are set up, etc.. Anthropology and sociology may help to get this understanding. that is a reason why we do like mobilizing sone scientists from time to time to help us understand these dimensions.

Hope this answers your questions

Frederic

Strengths, weaknesses and unique qualities

By Drop in the Bucket Posted on Fri 13 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

Thanks for the response and I do understand that my questions called for a more complex answer than the questions we all normally get asked. I completely agree that the hardware side of what we do (pumps, toilets etc) is only a small part of the issues we all face and that the training, teaching and other non-hardware aspects of what we do are often far more challenging. Basically anyone can build a well and hope it stays working, the challenge will always be how do we keep it working for decades. I also agree that it takes time and money, but ultimately that it is the most important place to spend our time and money.

Thanks for your great answers.

Would you like to elaborate on any things you have tried that you feel are working well in terms of addressing project sustainability?

Strengths, weaknesses and unique qualities

By Gret Posted on Mon 16 Dec 2013, over 8 years ago

John,

If I had to select one thing, or say one concept, which helped us a lot to gain a great deal in terms of sustainability, I would say : "contracting process".

The issues of the contracting process, as envisaged by our projects, does not lie in the definition of a contractual model, but rather in finding ways to allow each party to ensure that they were understood and to make a long term commitment. The objective is not so much to define an appropriate contract, but rather to create a shared vision of the water service based on common principles and on the acceptance of a multilateral framework of responsibilities. By building on dialogue, the contracting process sought to build the legitimacy of the stakeholders and to establish relations between them free of any suspicion.

The starting point for these contracting process is the mobilization of stakeholders and the clarification of their respective expectations. At this stage, it was a question of making a diagnosis of the situation open to all the practices of the community. Once the process begins, the project then
seek to create a shared responsibility between operators, public authorities and users based on the notions of rights and obligations. This process can result in an agreement on a few main objectives to be pursued (supply coverage, connection fees, etc.) and the resources to be implemented for improving the service (investments required, financing methods, etc.)


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