On August 16-17, 2012, USAID West Africa Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Program (USAID WA-WASH) partner, Winrock International, organized a workshop on the Multiple-Use Services (MUS) approach. The workshop hosted 30 government officials and project partners in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to introduce the (MUS) approach that WINROCK will use to deliver improved water services to 20,000 people in Burkina Faso. This workshop has been held in the context of the implementation of USAID WA-WASH Program activities.
What are the positive and negative outcomes of typical single-use water systems? How can planning ahead for the multiple uses of water help enhance livelihoods, health and sustainability impacts of water investments while simultaneously reducing conflict over the resource and system breakdown? Those were the issues addressed during the introductory Multiple-Use Services (MUS) workshop.
At the beginning of the workshop, Winrock Trainer, Mr. Roland Tapia, presented the concepts of the (MUS) approach. He explained WINROCK’s definition of Multiple-Use Services as a “holistic approach to sustainable water services that improves health and livelihoods. Mr. Tapia outlined the difference between water systems, which focus on a technology, and water services, which focus on the broader impact of using water to grow crops, drink, clean clothes, and for the livestock”.
On the second day of the workshop, the participants discussed how to apply MUS on the ground in Burkina Faso. Three village water scenarios were presented, and participants worked in groups to apply the MUS approach to each scenario. In the process of reviewing the key elements of MUS, participants generated ideas on how to best adapt MUS to the context in Burkina Faso. They identified communities with water resources, community motivation, and existing activities relying on water and well-suited for the first wave of WINROCK’s MUS interventions.
At the beginning of the workshop, no one in the room was familiar with MUS and by the second day, participants felt like not only could they explain MUS, they could also apply it to their own work. The representative of a health and education NGO said he was pleased to see the similarities between his organization’s approach to water provision and that of MUS.
Furthermore, with what he has learned from the Introductory MUS workshop, he will be able to modify few aspects of his organization’s approach to enhance the health impact of water services in their ongoing projects. Workshop participants left with the understanding that MUS is not an academic approach but rather a consultative process for achieving results on the ground. By participating in the workshop, government and district officials provided valuable guidance to WINROCK for selecting the communities for the first wave of MUS activities within the WA-WASH project.