Changing the way we change the world

Do WASH donors influence sustainability? Results from a 2016 survey

By Susan Davis, Executive Director

Responses to survey question: Overall, how good are your donors at funding sustainable services?

The WASH Sustainability Charter was published in 2011. About 100 organizations (including a few donors) endorsed it. We wondered:

  • Did it influence how WASH interventions were funded?
  • Did this in turn improve the services over time?

There’s not much information to make these connections. In place of evidence, we asked some WASH development organizations their perceptions.  This made us curious about the role of funding mechanisms in contributing to sustainable services.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most respondents believe the ways donors fund influence sustainability of water, sanitation and hygiene interventions.
  • Most respondents think donors are pretty good or okay at funding sustainable WASH services. But we wonder how they know because
  • Monitoring and/or evaluation after programs was reported by 59% of respondents as underfunded.
  • Ideally, we could track the results of different types of grants over time. But often, unrestricted and restricted funds are blended to cover the full cost of a program.

You can access the full report here.



1 Response

  1. I wonder how much of the results can just be attributed to wishful thinking.

    Sustainability of Interventions is in the interest of donors, as this would lessen the amount of repeated failures at particular regions and issues.

    Monitoring and evaluation is indeed underfunded. I would go further and even say that many don’t even read evaluations before moving on to the next project.

    Lastly, I think that there should be a greater effort towards quantifying and assessing enabling environments for the WASH sector. Whether one is talking WASH governance indices, political economy analysis, or other assessment tools, there are extraordinary benefits from understanding how sector institutions and actors work.. or don’t work well.

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