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Building capacity for decentralization: case study from India
When the Government of India developed its strategies and programmes to decentralize the water and sanitation sectors, it soon became obvious that capacity was not always sufficient at the district and community levels for effective implementation. For the two national programmes respectively called sector reform for water and total sanitation campaign, UNICEF worked together with the Ministry of Rural Development in a district-based planning and capacity-building programme. This was organized through district multi-institutional and participatory workshops. The focus was on scoping, which in this case meant that representatives of many stakeholder groups were involved in a multi-step process: visualizing the ideal, examining the current situation, identifying gaps/challenges/problems, identifying institutional and experiential resources to address those gaps and challenges. From this, district (and community-oriented) capacity building plans were developed. Concurrently briefing sessions and meetings were held with district leaders who, at the end, were asked to approve these plans. The scoping workshops were carried out with a voluntary team of senior professionals from throughout the country. Beginning with two districts, the scoping expanded to 8 and then 20 districts. This case study examines the strategies, techniques and lessons learned from this capacity building programme. A scoping workbook will also be made available in electronic form.