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Observatory of Basic Sanitation and Health in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
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Project description

Bolivia continues suffering amid abject condition of personal hygiene and environmental sanitation, despite policy level commitments and stakeholders’ constant efforts. The Vice-Ministry of Water in the country has identified four key factors for the slow increase in coverage for access to water and basic sanitation: Lack of widespread diffusion and awareness of the current policies in the sector; Lack of coordination in the different areas of intervention; Lack of capacity and skills at institutional level and non compliance of institutional roles; Low capacity for project implementation. The National Laboratories Institute (INLASA) under the Ministry of Health is the lead government institution for water quality control for human consumption. The Ministry of Environment and Water is responsible for sector planning and coordination, and definition of technical standards. As well, the Ministry is in charge of systems design management, coordination of hygiene education activities and facilitating the expansions of water and sanitation systems implemented by the local authorities. This project proposes the creation of a Basic Sanitation and Health Observatory in the region of Santa Cruz. The observatory is created in response to an urgent need for information and analysis for the discussion of basic sanitation and health problems from a holistic approach, intersectoral and comprehensive. The Observatory will support in showing the situation of basic sanitation and its relation to health with an inter-sectoral focus, to highlight the relation between both sectors. It will propose identified actions for the improvement of health and increase of access to water and sanitation services. The Observatory as a tool is expected to help the 56 municipal governments in Santa Cruz, sectorial authorities of basic sanitation and health and civil society to obtain a consensus in formulation of policies, financing, planning, and programming implementation mobilization of resources, monitoring and pursuit of the activities of the observatory in a coordinated way. The Observatory will be the first innitiative to improve the collection, handling, analysis and use of the information between basic sanitation and health in the formulation of more effective sectorial policies. It will be designed like an useful instrument to policy makers, planners and civil society for the development of a healthy environment as a way to achieve the compliance of the Millenium Development Goals, and specifically its target of "Integrate the principles of sustainable development intro country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources".
Location: Santa Cruz
- Water, Sanitation and Infrastructure
Partner: INLASA ( National Health Laboratory), Municipality of Santa Cruz,
- Water Sanitation and Infrastructure
Budget: USD 250,000

Focus Area(s)

- FA4: Environmentally sound basic urban infrastructure and services


The last data obtained in Bolivia by the National Statistics Institute (INE) reveal that in 2001, only 62,2% of the population is supplied through piped water systems while only  63,28 % has toilet or latrine.  This project presents a pilot experience in the Department of Santa Cruz, to be replicated and up-scaled at national level in the mid term future. The Department of Santa Cruz has been selected due to the high rate of migration, its high incidence of diseases linked to inadequate access and use of basic sanitation, the existence of basic information, and limitations in availability of  water resources for human consumption in large areas of the Department as the Chaco and the Chiquitania areas.The project aims to generate an intersectorial work between water and health sectors, specifically in a way to do a progressive movement towards the realization of the MDGs in basic sanitation and health. At the "National Forum of initiatives, fair projects, technology and health in water and hygiene” in Bolivia made in Piñami-Cochabamba in  the World Water Day (5 September 2008), were discussed the first proposals for the creation of an observatory,  reconigsing the need to establish a Inter-agency intersectoral coordination  at the national level to " make operational the intersectoral approach and articulate existing instances in water and health”.The observatory will be implemented in collaboration with institutions with competencies in water quality testing like the (INLASA) National Laboratories of Health Institute, whose responsibility is the monitoring the quality and water for human consumption, doing microbiological, chemical and physical analysis. It also encourages others agencies to cooperate, as the Universities that have committed projects in basic sanitation.


  • To analyse the situation of basic sanitation and health from an intersectorial approach, in the perspective to make visible the relationship between both sectors and identify complementary actions for improving health and  access to services of drinking water and sanitation in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
  • To support municipal governments, local authorities and civil society to:
    1. Identify the inter-relationship between health and basic sanitation through seminars, training, presentations and visits,
    2. Achieve their commitment in policy formulation, financing, planning, programming, resource mobilization, monitoring and follow-up for the activities of the Observatory in a coordinated manner,
    3. Build and improve the collection, management, analysis and use of information of basic sanitation and health in the formulation of effective local policies.

Target Group

 56 Municipalities in the department of Santa Cruz


If you may be interested in funding this project, please contact us: info.rmu@unhabitat.org
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