Changing the way we change the world

Research

Survey of NGOs on donors and sustainability

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? This is the third year we’ve surveyed NGOs about how donors and funding mechanisms can affect the sustainability of water, sanitation and hygiene interventions.

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.
  • More than half of respondents said monitoring and/or evaluation after programs was underfunded.
  • While funders can be obstacles to sustainability, many respondents have donors that allow flexibility to innovate or adapt.

Despite the many challenges related to funding and sustainability, there is hope! For more details, read the full NGO survey report 2017(PDF 259KB).

Seeking Sanitation Successes

The sanitation sector has evolved over decades. While some attempts have been made to determine workable solutions, comparable information is scarce. This is an important gap to overcome – and quickly – because Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims “to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” in just 14 years. We reviewed the literature and interviewed experts to find long-term sanitation successes. Read more.  Download our Seeking Sanitation Successes Report here.

Watch video of a presentation on Sanitation Lessons Learned by Susan Davis for World Toilet Day at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, November 2015.

Monitoring, Evaluation, Resolution, and Learning

The process of Monitoring, Evaluation, Resolution, and Learning (MERL) can contribute to improving past and future programs by examining and acting on factors of program success or failure. Through MERL, problems identified during monitoring or evaluation can be resolved and lessons incorporated into ongoing practices for improved development practice. This technical note presents an overview of MERL and highlights examples of “resolution” of problems in the WASH sector. Download the MERL Technical Note here.

Water and Sanitation Failures

Failures in water, sanitation, and hygiene have been documented for decades. Unfortunately, they are often the same failures. Donors and development organizations have a responsibility to the people they’re trying to help to learn from mistakes – not just from their own, but also from those of other organizations.  Find water failure data here and sanitation failure data here.

Resolving problems with water systems

Resolution is the process of addressing problems with water systems or toilets. Such problems are often identified during monitoring or evaluation after a project, or possibly by the water and sanitation users. Resolution reflects the concept that the organizations that are made aware that water systems or toilets they built aren’t working are responsible for doing something.  Read more

Publications and Presentations

SuSanA Webinar: Meeting the hidden needs of change-agents in the WASH sector (video)
Hosted by SuSanA, presented by Emily Endres of Results for Development and Susan Davis, Improve International, August 25, 2016

Wastewater Treatment: A Growing Problem and Its Solutions (article)
By Susan Davis, WASHfunders.org blog, August 3, 2016

Overcoming Barriers Borehole Banking 2016 (slides with notes)
By Susan Davis, Overcoming Barriers to Systemic Change side event, WEDC Ghana Conference, July 2016

Seeking Sanitation Successes (slides with notes)
By Susan Davis and Vanessa Tobin, WEDC Conference, July 2016

Is money the root of some evil? Donor restrictions and sustainability (slides with notes)
By Susan Davis, Kampala WASH Symposium, June 14, 2016

NGO-led support for rural water services (presentation with audio)
By Susan Davis, WASH Futures conference, May 17, 2016

Is money the root of some evil? (blog)
By Susan Davis, IRC blog, May 9, 2016

Why aren’t we learning from our “lessons learned”? (blog)
By Susan Davis, Broken Toilets, March, 28 2016

Reasons to be Realistic and Optimistic about Achieving Universal Sanitation (article)
by Susan Davis, Defeat DD, January 7th, 2016

Do donor restrictions affect sustainability of water and sanitation interventions? Results from a Pilot Survey
By Improve International, December 21, 2015

How WASH is like the Game of Thrones
By Susan Davis, FailFest, December 10, 2015

Sanitation Lessons Learned
Presentation by Susan Davis for World Toilet Day at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, November 2015

Failing forward and future proofing. What we can learn from sanitation failures (video, about 15 minutes)
Presentation by Susan Davis at Sustainable Sanitation Alliance Meeting, August 22, 2015 in Stockholm

Beyond the Band-Aid: Building Sustainability into Emergency Response Efforts
By Susan Davis, Contributing Editor, Engineering for Change, August 8, 2015

Future-proofing Water Systems in Developing Countries: How to Protect Investment and Increase Success through Preventive Maintenance
By Susan Davis, Improve International, presenter; Sophia Sunwoo, Water Collective, moderator. Engineering for Change webinar, February 2015

Guidelines for Resolution of Problems with Water Systems
By Susan Davis, Improve International, October 2014

3-Part MERL Webinar Series – Event 3: A Framework for Action
Presented by Susan Davis, Improve International; Raul Gauto, Fundación Avina; Ton Schouten, IRC; Nanette Barkey, Plan USA; John Sauer, Water For People, September 2014

WASH & Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) e-course, Module 3: Targeting WASH implementation for NTD control and measuring impact
Presented by Susan Davis, Improve International and Dr. Rachel Pullan. April 2014

Six Factors for Improving Rural Water Services in Central America
Authors: Susan Davis, Improve International; Adan Pocosangre, CRS; and Paul Hicks, CRS. March 2014

Collective Impact in Ethiopia 2004-2012: Independent Study of the Millennium Water Alliance WASH Program
By Susan Davis, Improve International. December 2013

WASH and the Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Manual for WASH Implementers
Authors: Stephanie Ogden, Children Without Worms, The International Trachoma Initiative, CARE USA; Kerry Gallo, Children Without Worms, The Task Force for Global Health; Susan Davis, Improve International; Courtney McGuire, Emory University; Erika Meyer, Emory University; David Addiss, Children Without Worms; Danny Haddad, International Trachoma Initiative. December 2013

Book Review: Empowerment Evaluation in the Digital Villages: Hewlett-Packard’s $15 Million Race Toward Social Justice
By Susan Davis, American Journal of Evaluation, December 2013

From Rehabilitation to Resolution: Developing an Action Brief on Resolution of Problems with Water and Sanitation Systems
By Susan Davis, SustainableWASH blog, November 7, 2013

Water Management Roles and Responsibilities
By Susan Davis, CRS Blueroot, June 7, 2013

Collective Impact in the Water Sector
by Susan Davis, WASH Advocates newsletter, May 16, 2013

Collective Impact in the Water Sector
By Susan Davis & Susan Dundon, Betwixt & Between: the Journal of Partnership Brokering Issue 1, 8 May 2013

Services Monitoring for Service Delivery
By Susan Davis, WASHfunders.org, April 29, 2013

Water for Life: Promoting Accountability: Monitoring WASH Services & the Enabling Environment Long After Implementation
By Susan Davis, Presentation at IRC Symposium on Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery, April 10, 2013

Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Service monitoring
Susan Davis (video interview) IRC Symposium on Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery, April 8, 2013

Of horses and water: is anyone learning from evaluations of WASH programs?
By
Susan Davis, Johns Hopkins University Global Water Magazine, Feb 25, 2013

What do others say about Life Cycle Costing Approach?
IRC WASHCost project website, February 2013

Of horses and water: is anyone learning from evaluations?!
By Susan Davis, SEA Change, February 14, 2013

Why physical unique identifiers on water points will improve sustainable services
By Susan Davis, WASHFunders.org blog, November 26, 2012

A Novel Way to Promote Accountability in WASH: Results from First Water & Sanitation Accountability Forum & Plans for the Future.
Presented with Marla Smith-Nilson of Water1st, 1st Pan Asia-Africa M&E Forum, Bangkok Thailand, November 25, 2012

Why physical unique identifiers on water points will improve sustainable services
By Susan Davis, WASH Advocates newsletter, October 24, 2012

Why physical unique identifiers on water points will improve sustainable services
By Susan Davis, Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) blog, September 24, 2012

WASH Organizations with Independent Evaluations
By Susan Davis, WASHfunders blog August 7, 2012

10 un-FAQs about International Development—Questions Social Entrepreneurs & Investors Should be Asking
Blog on presentation to Atlanta+Acumen gathering March 28, 2012 

The Need for Common WASH Indicators
By Susan Davis, WASHfunders.org blog March 5, 2012

Getting School WASH Right: Notes from a Forum
Compiled by Susan Davis, December 2011