Get involved in a WOP

What motivates utilities to do WOPs?

Operators have varied and complementary motivations for taking part in WOPs. It’s the combined incentives of WOP mentors and mentees that fuel these partnerships.

The main incentive for the supported operators or ‘mentee’ is to acquire high-calibre skills and capacity at a low cost to improve their performance and gain comparative experience for their staff. Operators that have received support through WOPs have said the process supported positive change within their utility, developed individual staff capacity and increased their efficiency.

The key incentives for the supporting or ‘mentor’ operator is to building the experience of their staff while making their jobs more interesting, gaining exposure and enjoying global visibility. Experienced mentors say that WOPs have a motivational effect on their team and allow employees to develop professionally.

 

How are donors supporting WOPs?

Donors and development banks support WOPs through GWOPA, regional WOPs platforms, or directly. In some cases, they support the approach as part of wider efforts to increase access to quality water and sanitation services, in others, the goal is to lead to bigger institutional change within the operator and prepare for or accompany large-scale investment.

GWOPA’s financing brief outlines key issues around the financing of WOPs. It describes common features of WOP financing, its benefits as well as challenges, and concludes with recommendations for financing WOPs to maximize effectiveness.

 

How much does a WOP cost?

Compared to other forms of capacity building activities or consultancies, the cost of WOPs is generally low, as no partner makes a profit from the arrangement. There is no set cost for WOPs as each partnership is unique, however staff time, travel and accommodation for technical visits are the primary costs associated with WOPs. A WOP with two technical visits and staff time from both operators on two improvement tracks per year, usually costs under 50,000 USD. In many cases, operators offer in-kind contributions such as staff time spent on the WOP, although some operate on a not-for-loss basis.

 

What are the steps in a typical WOP?

WOPs vary greatly from one to the next, but they tend to follow the following steps (order and duration of steps will vary widely):

  • Partner utilities come together based on their respective needs and strengths, often with the facilitation of a WOP platform. Factors like geographical proximity, similarity of context and services can favour the development of a strong partnership.
  • An agreement and/or framework for the partnership is established outlining timeframes, budgets, and overall objectives.
  • A participatory joint diagnosis of needs is conducted. Improvement tracks are defined and teams are established.
  • Workplans are created based on the mentee’s needs, priority areas and the level of commitment of the partners.
  • Ongoing peer support, through classroom and on-the-job training, remote exchanges and joint activities help the mentee operator to achieve organizational and behavioural change. Support may last several months up to over a decade.
  • WOP partners regularly assess progress and adapt their course of action as the partnership evolves.
  • At the end of the formal WOP, partners decide whether to continue, expand or close their partnership. Many WOP partners choose to continue working together.

 

How are donors supporting WOPs?

Donors and development banks support WOPs through GWOPA, regional WOPs platforms, or directly. In some cases, they support the approach as part of wider efforts to increase access to quality water and sanitation services, in others, the goal is to lead to bigger institutional change within the operator and prepare for or accompany large-scale investment.

GWOPA’s financing brief outlines key issues around the financing of WOPs. It describes common features of WOP financing, its benefits as well as challenges, and concludes with recommendations for financing WOPs to maximize effectiveness.

 

How much does a WOP cost?

Compared to other forms of capacity building activities or consultancies, the cost of WOPs is generally low, as no partner makes a profit from the arrangement. There is no set cost for WOPs as each partnership is unique, however staff time, travel and accommodation for technical visits are the primary costs associated with WOPs. A WOP with two technical visits and staff time from both operators on two improvement tracks per year, usually costs under 50,000 USD. In many cases, operators offer in-kind contributions such as staff time spent on the WOP, although some operate on a not-for-loss basis.

 

What are the steps in a typical WOP?

WOPs vary greatly from one to the next, but they tend to follow the following steps (order and duration of steps will vary widely):

  • Partner utilities come together based on their respective needs and strengths, often with the facilitation of a WOP platform. Factors like geographical proximity, similarity of context and services can favour the development of a strong partnership.
  • An agreement and/or framework for the partnership is established outlining timeframes, budgets, and overall objectives.
  • A participatory joint diagnosis of needs is conducted. Improvement tracks are defined and teams are established.
  • Workplans are created based on the mentee’s needs, priority areas and the level of commitment of the partners.
  • Ongoing peer support, through classroom and on-the-job training, remote exchanges and joint activities help the mentee operator to achieve organizational and behavioural change. Support may last several months up to over a decade.
  • WOP partners regularly assess progress and adapt their course of action as the partnership evolves.
  • At the end of the formal WOP, partners decide whether to continue, expand or close their partnership. Many WOP partners choose to continue working together.