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3.8 Public education (Topic h)

The strategy proposed in the National Strategy and Action Plan (Philippines National Urban Sewerage and sanitation Strategy feasibility studies Project) emphasises decentralisation of activities from the governmental to local level and promotes interaction between public and private sectors. In Vietnam, Ministry of Construction would be the leading sectoral organisation, i.e. responsible for sectoral policy and strategy formulation, sector planning preparation of guidelines, standards, codes of practices, co-ordination of human capacity building, research and development, financing mechanisms development and performance monitoring within the sector.

The utility agencies are advised to adopt more commercial approaches in their operations in parallel with the public sector’s efforts to gradually increase their autonomy. It is recommended that the agencies focus on key functions of utility management, such as establishment and management of capital-intensive sanitation systems, whereas the private sector could contribute in the secondary functions, such as maintenance of equipment, contracting of works, transportation, laboratory service etc. Gradual increase of cost recovery is pursued by introducing applicable tariff systems. A special financing facility is introduced which comprises a credit line (75 %) for capital intensive utility financing and revolving funds (25 %) for households or groups of households.

3.8.1 People's organizations and non-government organizations

Voluntary organizations are important allies in explaining the benefits of sanitation and promoting the national strategy and sanitation and sewerage programs, especially at the local level. A particularly important role for voluntary organizations is acting as intermediaries between local governments and squatters to help determine appropriate technologies for use in specific locations and the contributions to be made by users and those to be sought from local donors.

3.8.2 Schools

The Center Sanitation and Sewerage Program Support Office (CPSO) will develop educational programs aimed at school children with the cooperation of the Department of Health (DOH). The educational programs can utilize the results of the social research conducted for mass media purposes to put together an effective message on the benefits and effective use of sanitation improvements. It is recommended that the CPSO commission a pilot program in sanitation education that involves both teachers and children (NSAP 1994).

3.8.3 Person-to-person

Health education activities will include person-to-person contacts for the purpose of changing individuals' behaviour. In situations where there are no sanitary facilities (in many squatter slums), door-to-door field work may be required to make people aware of alternatives to the "wrap and throw" practice as well as to introduce possible programs for communal toilets and other sanitation services. Feedback from person-to-person contacts will enable the local governments to tailor community sanitation programs to address specific needs of residents.

If the sanitation and sewerage strategy is to succeed, it must first be adopted as a National Government policy and then be "sold" to National Government agencies, local government units, and individual consumers. The strategy represents a significant departure from past practice in several key areas, most importantly, in the way it allocates financial burdens. Other potential impediments, including the competition for resources and the lack of local government experience, will also require a national program to promote sanitation and sewerage as a means of improving health, protecting the environment and encouraging economic development.

Surveys conducted by the Consultant for willingness-to-pay in four urban areas revealed that many urban householders were unaware that health and sanitation problems were often caused by their own poorly functioning and overflowing septic tanks. The survey showed that most homeowners with flush toilets or pour-flush latrines felt "satisfied" with their current sanitation approach. This "micro" view of individual householders points out the challenge.

While removal of faeces from the immediate household is an important sanitation measure and one that the proposed strategy endorses, the health problems of the larger community cannot be solved as long as individual waste storage and disposal facilities are inadequate. Nor will the contamination of rivers and shorelines be corrected if open sewers continue to discharge into waterways.

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