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< prev - next > Social and economic development Economic Development KnO 100374_Income and Employment from Services (Printable PDF)
Income and employment from services
Practical Action
Small-scale private enterprises benefit from being flexible and able to respond quickly to
customer demands, while unregistered, informal enterprises also enjoy advantages such as
exemption from paying taxes or making social security payments for employees. Discussion of the
merits of formally integrating informal service providers is beyond the scope of this technical
brief, but further information on this may be found in Sansom (2006b) and Collignon and Vézina
(2000: 54).
Paid caretakers and operators in community-managed facilities - this model of service provision is
becoming increasingly common within slums, where it is often accompanied by support from civil
society organisations such as NGOs. Typically a CBO is formed which is responsible for the
collection of user fees, administration and management of the facilities. Depending on the
situation, fees may be monthly or paid per use, and may cover full or partial repayment of the
capital cost of the infrastructure, service charges (in the case of water supply extensions from the
utility’s network) and payment of a salary for the caretaker of the facilities. The
caretaker/operator position can be very desirable - in watsan projects implemented by DSK in
Dhaka, Bangladesh, households sometimes sacrifice land for the new infrastructure on the
condition that they receive the caretaker job (Ahmed, 2003). In Dakar, Senegal, women who
work as operators of standposts receive 30% of the revenue at the water point, but pay US$40 up
front for the privilege of holding the position (Colin and Lockwood, 2002: 8).
Voluntary community-management areas of service provision and responsibility for improved
communal watsan infrastructure in a typical slum in Faridpur, Bangladesh, supported by Practical
Action, are shown in Table 2, below:
Table 2: Service provision associated with a volunteer-managed model for watsan infrastructure
in slums in Faridpur, Bangladesh
Physical task
Repair and maintenance of shared
water point (tubewell or standpost)
Regular cleaning of communal latrine
Emptying of pit/septic tank
Administrative task
Collection of users fees and ad-hoc maintenance
Participation in monthly meetings
Purchase of bleach/brush
Oversee cleaning rota
Check cleanliness of latrine
Service provider
CBO member
External labour market
All user households, by rotation
Externally procured private pit emptiers
CBO treasurer
All CBO members
All user households (communal purchase)
‘User committee’ of female volunteers
responsible for each latrine
While the choice of service provider may vary according to specific situations and cultural norms,
many of the tasks shown above will be applicable to the majority of community-managed
schemes. Many of the voluntary inputs made by user households/CBO members in Table 2 would
be made by the caretaker or operator in the paid model.
Possible indirect income benefits to communities in community-managed schemes in the
Faridpur case, collection of user fees continues to generate a fund intended for ongoing
maintenance and repairs. Research fieldwork revealed that the CBOs’ experience of collective
saving in this way had motivated them to make plans to use this saved capital to attract future
donor-funded projects aimed at improving housing conditions their stated top priority for slum
improvement. In addition, project processes of participatory planning (with the involvement of
representatives from the municipal authority) and CBO formation (with subsequent increased
levels of organisation within the communities) have brought other, related benefits. Communities
now have the knowledge and confidence to engage formally with the municipality to request
further services, as well as a degree of protection from eviction because of the muncipality’s
investments. While these are not direct income benefits, they have an income dimension and may
be considered as intangible indirect income benefits for the community.