Blog.Oct 06, 2023

Integrity practices in the Bolivian water and sanitation sector

Isabel Alvarez describes experiences from La Paz, Bolivia. The trip was made to conduct a workshop for designing an Integrity Evaluation and Monitoring System. This system assesses transparency, accountability, participation, and anti-corruption practices among water and sanitation service providers.

Brown woman with a smile, multicolour scarf over an off white sweater
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Radhika Gupta
Communications Manager,

You were recently in La Paz, Bolivia. What is the region like?

La Paz, Bolivia, is a captivating region known for its breathtaking geography and vibrant culture. In the western part of the country, La Paz is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, including the towering Illimani peak. The region has diverse ecosystems that include high-altitude plateaus, valleys and deep canyons.

Demographically, La Paz is a multicultural and multiethnic region, home to people from various backgrounds, including indigenous communities, mestizos, and immigrants. The region’s culture is influenced by indigenous traditions and customs blending with Spanish colonial influences.

Given our focus on water, it’s worth noting that water management is a critical issue in the region due to its unique geography and the challenges posed by climate change. La Paz faces both water scarcity and water quality concerns, making it an important area for initiatives related to water resource management and conservation.

What was the purpose of your visit?

The purpose of our trip to La Paz, Bolivia, was to implement a workshop for the design of the Integrity Evaluation and Monitoring System which measures the advancement in transparency, accountability, participation and anticorruption practices of service providers by the regulatory agency of water and sanitation in Bolivia (AAPS). The objective was to strengthen the regulatory capacities of AAPS in evaluating and monitoring good integrity practices in water and sanitation service providers.

Who were the stakeholders involved?

We carried out the two-day workshop with various experts from the Authority for the Supervision and Social Control of Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation (AAPS).

Was there anything striking about your visit/ activity?

There were several striking aspects during the visit and activities conducted. One notable element was the strong commitment and engagement of the participants, including representatives from AAPS. Their active involvement and enthusiasm towards enhancing integrity in the water and sanitation sector were evident throughout the workshops and discussions.

“The cultural richness of the region served as a reminder of the importance of considering local contexts and incorporating inclusive approaches in the development of integrity frameworks and initiatives. ”

Isabel Alvarez Murrilo, Programme Officer, SIWI

Furthermore, the visit highlighted the significance of addressing gender equality and social inclusion in the water and sanitation sector. The discussions emphasized the need to ensure the participation and representation of women and/ or other underrepresented groups in decision-making processes. These include the design and implementation of the Integrity Evaluation and Monitoring System. This focus on inclusivity reinforced the commitment to fostering equitable and sustainable development in the sector.

What are the key takeaways from your visit?

The successful implementation of the Integrity Evaluation and Monitoring System in AAPS’ water and sanitation sector is a significant milestone, demonstrating commitment to strengthening regulatory capacities and promoting good governance. Identifying suitable indicators for transparency, accountability, participation, and anti-corruption enables effective assessment and monitoring of integrity practices within the sector. This emphasizes the system’s importance as a tool to drive positive change and improve governance in the sector. Collaborative efforts between AAPS and SIWI, along with all stakeholders’ commitment, lay a solid foundation for promoting transparency, equitable services, and reliable water and sanitation delivery in Bolivia.

What is the future of this project/ your work in the region?

The future of this endeavor entails continued support and collaboration between AAPS and SIWI to ensure the successful implementation of the Integrity Evaluation and Monitoring System. The focus will be on providing ongoing capacity development initiatives, technical assistance, and knowledge sharing to enhance AAPS’s regulatory capabilities. By strengthening the evaluation and monitoring of integrity practices in the water and sanitation sector, the future technical support aims to foster a culture of transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption. The long-term goal is to improve governance processes and ensure the delivery of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services in Bolivia.

Who would this project be of most interest to and why?

This project would be of great interest to regulatory entities, policymakers, and stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector in Bolivia. Regulatory entities, such as AAPS, can benefit from the project by strengthening their capacity to evaluate and monitor integrity practices, enhancing their regulatory oversight and governance processes. Policymakers can utilize the project’s outcomes and recommendations to inform policy decisions and improve the overall governance of the sector. Additionally, stakeholders, including water and sanitation service providers, civil society organizations, and the general public, will be interested in the project’s outcomes as it promotes transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption measures, ensuring the delivery of reliable and equitable water and sanitation services for the people of Bolivia.