Rapid Assessment of Urban Communities to optimise Public Health Interventions: water infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa (RINSS)

Rapid assessment of urban communities to optimize Public Health Interventions: water infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa (RINSS)

Summary of Study

Public service delivery interventions need to be adapted to context. Making sense of contextual similarities and differences across urban communities is complex, including for water and sanitation infrastructure involving both formal and informal installations and shifting use over space and time. To support the tailoring of interventions we will adapt a rapid qualitative assessment approach called ‘Broad Brush Surveys’ (BBS) and an associated set of meta-indicators developed by social scientists in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Working with water engineers, BBS will be used to assess local context in four urban communities in Zambia and South Africa for the purpose of water and sanitation infrastructure interventions. We will assess the usefulness of the community-specific findings and outputs with communities, other stakeholders and across disciplines. Our final outputs will be a manual and interactive web-based training resources for BBS to be used to tailor interventions to local context to increase their impact.

The study objective is to use the Broad Brush Surveys (BBS) approach to demonstrate how similarities and differences in local context relevant to water and sanitation infrastructure development across four urban communities and two countries can be rapidly assessed and compared ,use the specifics of individual urban community profiles to compare and evaluate current infrastructure performance and recommend how water and sanitation infrastructure interventions should be optimized to accommodate unique and key community features , assess the buy-in of communities and local stakeholders to the utility of urban community profiling for water and sanitation infrastructure development planning, produce a manual and interactive resources to allow others to replicate the approach for the purpose of development and research  and further develop conceptual understanding on how local urban systems influence intervention uptake and impact

The study is being conducted in four urban communities in Zambia and South Africa:  two in Lusaka City in Zambia and two in the Cape Metropolitan district in South Africa, identified as having challenges to water and sanitation infrastructure development. Each urban community is likely to be between 20,000 and 100,000 residents, with ~50% of the population under 18 years. They are ethnically mixed, high density urban areas with predominantly lower income residents and different housing types (structures, size and ownership). Water and sanitation infrastructure is a mix of formal and informal across planned and unplanned areas, and a public health and service issue of importance to local residents and stakeholders. Infrastructure change is a feature of urban communities in both countries.

This is a one year study but has been granted an extension by the funder to May 2022 due to delays because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The BBS will be conducted in all four selected communities in from March – May 2021. Analysis of the BBS will be completed in 2021 and the BBS manual by early 2022.

Interdisciplinary Team: The study team comprises of social scientists from multiple disciplines (social anthropology, psychology, development studies, ethics, community engagement), public health and engineering including civil engineering, urban water systems, drinking water quality, and sanitation

Research institutions include Zambart, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and UNZA School of Engineering, Desmond Tutu TB Centre-University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, School of Engineering-University of Stellenbosch, South Africa and University of Sheffield, UK.

The study is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund through the British Academy, UK