A cross-sectional study on water access within the Healthy Villages and Schools (VEA) program in the DRC

In DRC, the Healthy Villages and Schools (VEA) National Program consists of a community participatory process towards sustainable access to improved water services, hygiene and sanitation where villages and schools are certified “healthy” once they comply with 7 WASH specific norms. Through a mixed-methods survey of household questionnaires, water quality testing of source and stored water samples, mapping of water sources, and discussions with key informants, this study looked at VEA implementation in the Katana health zone, South Kivu province, to ascertain lessons learnt from the program. From 206 household surveys and 71 focus group discussions, it was determined that there are two primary barriers to effective water supply coverage: accessibility to a source within 30 minutes and delivery of water that conforms to WHO guidelines of <1 E. coli CFU/100mL. Additional demographic and WASH knowledge, attitudes, and practices outcomes as well as challenges associated with the VEA are discussed.