What is the added value of a WOP?
Several of the EU WOP projects did not start from scratch, but are building on longstanding WOP relationships. The EU WOP between Dhaka WaSA and Vitens Evides International is one of these. Yesterday, it celebrated its many successes over a 10-year and running partnership at a symposium hosted by the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands (EKN), gathering WOP partners, government representatives, UN agencies, NGOs, and local water and sanitation experts.
Because well-executed WOPs are strongly integrated within the utility’s ongoing business and major investments, it can sometimes be a challenge to say what the WOP accomplished on its own. This session helped trace the path between the beginnings of the partnership, the ongoing utility turnaround, and the collaboration today, clarifying how the new knowledge, innovation, and support to improved practices brought in by the WOP have catalyzed or helped make the best use of, investments made by the utility and its funders like the Asian Development Bank.
What emerged is an image of the WOP as a source of ongoing inspiration and support, perennially nourishing the utility with new ideas, knowledge and good practice to sprout new improvements and sustain others. The amount of money going into the WOP has been minimal compared with the accompanying hardware investments made by Dhaka WASA with the support of financial institutions, however, it has ensured that these investments flourish.
Portraits of WOPpers in the VEI Dhaka WOP
Marjolein van der Male, 27 years old, Young Expert at VEI, industrial design engineer and social scientist. (in middle in photo below)
Joined the WOP in DHAKA in February 2023. She is supporting technical distribution lines and Non Revenue Water. I’m supporting DWASA through data collection, validation and analysis. This adds value as, while DWASA already collects data, it is not yet sufficiently analyzing its water distribution. This analysis will help because it will allow them to take measures to cut down on wasted water, which is essential to ensure customers can count on reliable services, especially during the dry season. We involve the staff of DWASA Water in the work and train them on meter reading and validation so they will progressively take this over this work and carry it out independently down the line.
The most valuable thing about the wop is that it’s a real partnership and exchange of knowledge. I’m learning from VEI experts but also from the DWASA experts.
Shirin Begum (on the right in the photo below)
I have been working with the VEI-Dhaka WASA WOP since May 2018. My job is to help Dhaka WASA ensure water access to low-income communities in Dhaka city. First, I identiy areas and seek proposals for funding, select NGOs and contractor, manager tender for NGOs. Dhaka WASA has a department community programme and community relationship, under the commerciaidentifyl manager responsible for. These people are responsible for different moss zones and they give permissions to work in the areas and support the construction work support troubleshooting. MoU between dwasa and community based organizations will look after the asset organization to look after the soft stuff, haka wasa looks after asset management and maintenance. Through the wop, the DMA training module and master trainers organizae by dwasa based on wop expertise, developed a training centre revenue collection also. During our wops, we also put Dhaka WASA and the community/consumers (before just the ‘muscle men’. ) Helping build the relationship between Dhaka WASA and community, and building trust based on improved service.
“The poor are often seen negatively by utilities because they rely on illegal connections. However, If they are getting reliable water from the company, they can be very good customers and pay their bills. They just need service!”