All about waterpoints owned by "Groups"

I have recently had a few questions related to what MSABI defines as a group in regards to our water point subsidy program.  Further, why is it that our groups are successful in terms of management and upkeep of their water assets?

A group gets the highest subsidy.  The pay TZS250,000 (USD200), and contribute bricks, sand, gravel, 6x persons labour, and food/accommodation for our drill team.

A group is more than one household (and or more than one family group) that come together to form a partnership.  Generally we find the average number of households that come together is 5-7.  They work out themselves how they will fund the borehole and source materials, labour and food.  Intrinsically there is also a lot of discussions and planning that would go on prior to them deciding to go ahead - such things as "do we want to form a group with this or that family (do we trust them, are they reliable for funds, are their any family feuds), what funds do we need to raise and over what time frame do we all pool our resources, whose land will the borehole be on, how will we manage the asset, how will the group organise and manage any funds from selling water or for maintenance needs etc etc".  This organic group formation is a key ingredient to success of the model - as it is a decision made by the village people (I would suggest this process takes months to sometimes more than a year to formulate and agree).  It is not an enforced group and their is no enforced traditional NGO management model (ie your group must form a committee and have a chairman, secretary and treasurer). I think that is fundamental to the success of the models (communities (all people in general) dont like to be told what they must do and that they must work with such and such a person/s - they want the choice to decide).  Most village people we work with know about water committees and how they manage their own water point is often left up to them.  If they request assistance then MSABI provides additional training in the form of facilitating the design of a management model for that group.  

We now have a preliminary assessment form that all water point applicants must fill in.  The form is a first step and must be filled in prior to we do a site survey and after that if all ok will will offer a contract.  It is a comprehensive questionare - some questions for example are - Who are the group members, Where will the water point be located, Distances to toilet/animals, All group members to sign agreement for location, describe how you will manage the water point (we offer a few example models including our insurance plan), describe how you will fund maintenance, describe how you plan to ensure the pump is cleaned and apron tidy, do you plan to sell water - if yes, how and for how much. etc etc.  

A group must make the water available to everyone - it is in their contract.  The water is not exclusively for the group owners.  (This is the same for all 3-tiered subsidy systems).   In the contract MSABI has the right to lock the pump if the water is not available to the community and/or if they are not cleaning and maintaining their pump (this cleaning point is a new inclusion - and we have had no complaints, actually groups seem welcome to this as it provides a firm written commitment for them to abide).  However, the group has the right (and we encourage them) to charge for water usage.  We recommend point of use sales - ie per bucket (avg rate is TZS30-50 up to 100 in dry season).  It is up to the group how they decide to share their water.  Some opt to share for free, almost all charge a fee.  Often it is a monthly access rights fee (say TZS500 which is around 50c-$1).  

Obviously there is a lot of communication between MSABI and the client (verbally and written) so that they are well aware of the process of obtaining a water point and the obligations and rights once it is installed.  We also do training of 2 or more owners on rope pump maintenance, plus provide the pump pack which includes essential spares, tools and a pictorial manual.