Changing the way we change the world

SuSanA Webinar: Meeting the hidden needs of change-agents in the WASH sector

By Susan Davis, Improve International

Click here for the video recording of today’s webinar hosted by the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA): ‘Meeting the hidden needs of change-agents in the WASH sector: Understanding the role of learning and donor-implementer relationships.’

Overview:
This webinar provided perspectives on two rarely discussed obstacles that innovators face in doing impactful work: the role of learning processes and the role of donor-implementer relationships:

Emily Endres, Senior Program Associate, Results for Development Institute: 6 barriers local change-agents face when implementing new ideas or approaches & ideas for overcoming these challenges

Because of the important role civil society organizations play in global development, international development organizations and donors want to support capacity building as well as knowledge sharing and learning within this group. Millions of dollars are invested each year in events and programs designed to disseminate information, share knowledge and build skills, but little is understood about what happens after learners leave the “hotel conference room”. This is called “the Monday morning problem.” After a learner develops or encounters a new approach or skill that they want to integrate into their program or organization, what barriers do they face when they go back to work on Monday morning and try to implement the new idea? Since 2014, Results for Development (R4D) has conducted a series of interviews, focus group discussions, and surveys with WASH program managers based in India and East Africa. This presentation will focus on six major barriers that were identified to implementing new ideas learned from their peers or from other knowledge sharing activities, and discuss a set of recommendations for fellow program implementers, international development partners, and donors or investors to improve the learning and adaptation process.

Susan Davis, Executive Director, Improve International: Is money the root of some evil? Investigating whether donor restrictions affect the sustainability of water and sanitation interventions

In the development world, money makes the world go around. Donors large and small from many countries have funded efforts to address water issues for decades. This is good news. But is all this money leading to good work? Many evaluations of programs have been done, but they haven’t looked rigorously at how things are funded. Improve International decided to examine this issue by seeking the perceptions of people who work for WASH development organizations. In 2015, we distributed an online survey to organizations that receive funds from US-based donors to implement or fund water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions. You might be surprised by some of the differences we found in perceptions. We plan to distribute this survey annually to get more opinions and see whether alignment is changing over time, so we’d like your feedback and input.

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