Home > Pakistan > WSP – Citizens ‘Grade’ the Water and Sanitation Utility in Karachi

WSP – Citizens ‘Grade’ the Water and Sanitation Utility in Karachi

In Karachi, Pakistan, the majority of citizens suffer from poor levels of water and sanitation services, especially those in low-income settlements. To help them create a plan to improve their services, the Karachi City District Government formed a partnership with the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).

The partners began by giving citizens an opportunity to ‘grade’ the performance of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) using ‘citizen report cards‘. This method was piloted in Bangalore by the Public Affairs Centre in 1993 and has proven to be a demand-responsive,  positive force for change, not just in Bangalore, but internationally.

Asking customers to grade the performance of the utility provided the Karachi government with neutral, credible and apolitical information on consumer preferences and concerns surrounding water supply and sanitation services.

“The report card has provided us information about those areas which we considered as outside the coverage of KWSB” said Ayub Shaikh a staff member of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board.

Nearly 5,000 men and women in nine towns in Karachi representing low, middle, and high income groups were asked to grade the utility. Women are generally involved in accessing water for their familieswhile men typically bear the cost of services.

The partners launched a communications strategy early in the process to make sure the findings of the report card were broadly disseminated to increase and encourage public debate. They turned to PANOS, a global program created to engage the media and increase public debate through training, orientation, and opportunities for understanding and learning.

The communications program was designed to build a partnership between the government and the media to build awareness of civic rights and responsibilities, highlight the need for reform, and most importantly create a constituency that has a loud voice so their demands can be heard for improvement of services.

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