Summary of the Water Operators Partnership Facilitation Guidelines here

Step 1: Identification

The WOP facilitator works with potential partners to assess: (1) the capacity-building needs and priorities of prospective recipient partners; (2) the skill sets and incentives of candidate mentors; and (3) the willingness of both potential partners to contribute toward a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship. The facilitator also consults with government representatives and development partners. The purpose of Step1 is to identify candidate mentors and recipients for WOPs and their priorities, interests, and needs. WaterLinks maintains a database of service providers interested in WOPs.

Output: List of candidate WOP mentor and recipient partners including their profiles, priorities, capacity-building needs, capabilities, and interests.

Step 2: Introduction

Based on information from Step 1, the WOP facilitator helps match potential partners. Matchmaking considerations include where the partners are, their scale of operations, how they can communicate, how they can impart practical knowledge and adapt accordingly, and how they are willing to contribute resources to make the partnership work.

The facilitator then prepares a concept note capturing these factors and outlining the WOP focus area (or challenge) to be addressed, its objective, targets, expected resource contributions, results, and anticipated duration. When necessary, the facilitator organizes a proper partner introduction to help reach an agreement on the concept note. The facilitator may also reach out to relevant stakeholders that may be interested in future replication and/or scale-up of good practices emerging from the WOP. The purpose of Step 2 is essentially to match a mentor with one or more recipients.

Output: (1) Concept note detailing WOP objectives, activities, and outcomes; (2) an expression of interest from both partners to initiate a WOP, formalized through a Letter of Intent or other documents as necessary

Step 3: Establishment

Once partners agree to the concept note, the facilitator organizes a 3-5 day diagnostic visit by the mentor to the recipient. During this visit, the mentor observes firsthand the recipient’s local conditions and service delivery challenges and assesses overall capacity-building needs. Based on this assessment, both partners and the facilitator discuss a joint work program that will address the priority needs, has realistic targets and milestones, and will achieve tangible results in terms of improved or expanded delivery of services.

WOP partners also verify commitments to contribute financial, human, and technical resources to the program implementation. After partners agree to their own WOP terms and work program, they formalize the WOP agreement through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or other similar documents. The MOU typically stipulates the WOP goals, activities, timetable, milestones, roles, and contributions. The purpose of Step 3 is therefore to ensure both partners have a common understanding of the partnership objectives and develop a mutually agreed work program.

Output: (1) Diagnostic report describing the recipient’s operations, challenges, and capacity-building needs; (2) joint work program; and (3) a partnership agreement to carry out the work program and achieve agreed targets

Step 4: Implementation

In this step, partners implement the work program by advancing defined activities according to the agreed timeline. The facilitator when necessary helps manage, coordinate and monitor activity implementation. Near the completion of the WOP work program, the facilitator supports WOP partners to prepare a report that summarizes each activity, results, lessons learned, outcomes as measured against objectives and performance indicators, and further needs for improvements or scale-up of new practices within the recipient’s service area.

Output: Progress reports and final WOP report

Step 5: Expansion

WaterLinks promotes (1) replication of good practices and innovations between service providers at the regional and national levels and (2) scale-up of improvements within a provider’s service area. Based on the WOP final report, WOP partners and the facilitator jointly prepare a scale-up action plan, in which the facilitator will follow up through a new or extended partnership. For replication, WOP partners and the facilitator document and disseminate WOP achievements and lessons at various international, regional, and national events. The facilitator advocates for replication and scale-up with other stakeholders such as relevant development partners, governments, and non-government organizations. The purpose of Step 5 is to achieve greater WOP impact through replication and scale-up of good practices.

WaterLinks helps in identifying technical and financial support for replication and scale-up.

Output: (1) Scale-up action plan and (2) dissemination of WOP achievements to promote replication

You may find the complete WOP Facilitation Guidelines here.

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