The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Urban Development to assist the Government with knowledge exchange and sharing of best practices for water and sanitation services.

Under the MoU, performance indicators and city ranking systems will be introduced for incentivising participation in Swachh Bharat Mission and promoting competition between cities. “USAID will provide technical support to demonstrate a fully functional sanitation system encompassing containment, collection, transport, treatment, reuse and safe disposal of fecal waste in Visakhapatnam,” a statement from the Ministry of Urban Development said.

Promoting public private partnerships, USAID will help develop creative messaging for behaviour changes to increase demand for toilets and supply of sanitation products and services.

The agency is likely to spend about $2 million per year on these activities.

Gates Foundation MoU

A separate memorandum of cooperation was signed with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under which the latter will provide technical and management support in the implementation of the Mission, fund National Level Program Management Unit for coordination of decentralised and non-sewered sanitation solutions, award grants to organisations selected by the Ministry for delivering sanitation services, release grant funds to grantees such as NGOs, public or private organisations annually, based on satisfactory performance in respect of milestones specified.

“The Foundation will assist in capacity building for planning, project preparation, implementation and management through training and skill development focusing on towns with population of one to five lakh located along the Ganga at a cost of $2.50 million per year,” the statement added.