By Dick de Jong, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, The Netherlands

1. Is publicly supplied water safe to drink?

2. Is there a publicly stated government policy on sanitation and hygiene-backed by statements from cabinet ministers and the President or Prime Minister?

3. Is there a plan to promote not just a few pilot projects but water and sanitation for every one- with a budget and time table?

4. Does government policy depend mainly on the supply of hardware and on subsidizing and installing free public latrines? Or is policy directed towards strengthening local and municipal authorities and supporting community efforts and organizations?

5. If low-income communities decide to do something about their own water and sanitation problems, what support does the local and central government offer? Can communities get help-with appropriate technologies, credit, and health advice and hygiene promotion?

6. What do people in low-income communities think of their water and sanitation utilities? • Can they express their grievances? • Are they listened to? • Do local people elect those who make the decision on what money is spent? • Are charges set too low to allow the system to be maintained and expanded? • Are they set too high for the poorest to be able to afford them?

7. If water is scarce, do agriculture and industry have unlimited free or subsidized access? Have municipal governments passed laws to encourage more economical use of water and even by better off? Do those who use more pay more?

8. Are there laws against the pollution of groundwater by agriculture and industry and are they enforced?

9. Is government making a national effort to market hygiene and create demand for safe sanitation? Do schools and health centres have clean sanitation facilities and water supply? Is hygiene taught in all schools?

10. Is there a national “WASH” campaign to involve all possible partners in working towards hygiene, sanitation and water supply goals?


Dick de Jong (2010) The Global Guide for Media Practitioners to Investigate the Lack of Sanitation and Hygiene. In R. Ardakanian, J.L. Martin-Borders & D. Williamson (Ed.) Capacity Development for Water and environmental Journalists Lessons Learned for three Workshops in Central Asian/Western Asia, Arab Countries, Latin America and Caribbean 2007-2009 (pp.28-29). Germany: UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development

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