Changing the way we change the world

From Statistics to Specifics: Join the WASH Monitoring Exchange (WASHME)

By Susan Davis, Executive Director, Improve International

Young boy shows the school handpump is functional. Kanat Kebele, Ethiopia (photo: Susan Davis)

Young boy shows the school handpump is functional. Kanat Kebele, Ethiopia (photo: Susan Davis)

One of the main themes at the upcoming 2012 Water and Health Conference at the University of North Carolina is Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainability. This reflects the growing interest in water supply, sanitation and hygiene monitoring. We all know that significant challenges continue to plague the WASH sector, with system failure rates of 30-50%. For this reason, more and more implementing organizations want better data to understand the results of their work over time, and philanthropists hope to understand the long-term impact of their investments. While many nifty tools for monitoring have been introduced recently, barriers remain that prevent organizations from conducting ongoing post-construction monitoring. Organizations say costs, time, skills, and knowing what to monitor make it difficult. And underlying all of this may be a fear that making the nameless statistics on failure specific to our organizations will affect our fundraising efforts.The WASHME initiative was developed by several leading WASH organizations to remove barriers to post-construction monitoring because we believe that monitoring is critical for the ongoing improvement of implementing organization practice and understanding.  Furthermore, sharing this information publicly creates a safe space for us all – including funders – to learn from each other.

Join representatives of Blue Planet Network, Global Water Challenge, Improve International, IRC, Splash, Water 1st International, Water For People, and others at the WASHME side event Monday, October 29 at 10:45 a.m. to learn more about the plans to launch WASHME to a larger audience.  This is a unique opportunity for WASH organizations to monitor and share their data in a simple yet powerful way. As more of us join together, we’ll get past the statistics to specifics, leading to learning, and more effective performance.

The WASHME website has been updated, click here.

See a list of other monitoring and evaluation related events at the UNC Water & Health Conference here.