A new joint initiative in Ghana aims to ensure that monitoring information is effectively used to keep water and sanitation services working.
The Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, Akvo, Water for People and SkyFox have launched SMARTerWASH, a 3-year project to monitor water and sanitation in 64 districts, nearly one third of Ghana.
Indicators for functionality, service levels and sustainability have recently been developed and tested, using mobile phone technology and a web-based application.
SMARTerWASH will mainstream the monitoring vision and operational guidelines of the CWSA so that districts will have the necessary data to solve problems with infrastructure and community service providers.
AKVO FLOW will be used for collecting the data.
At the same time Ghanaian private company SkyFox will set up an SMS alert system and strengthen customer relationships between community service providers, area mechanics and spare part distributors.
For more information go to www.irc.nl/SMARTerWASH
Posted in Ghana, Information and communication, Monitoring & evaluation, Water supply
Tagged Akvo FLOW, Community Water and Sanitation Agency, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, mobile phones, rural water supply, SkyFox, SMARTerWASH, SMS, Water For People
Addis Ababa – 8 April 2013. Providing universal access to water and sanitation, the goal of the Ethiopian Government, is a huge effort that is transforming lives and the economy. Behind efforts to improve service delivery – building new communal water systems, repairing broken pumps, encouraging households to improve their family wells and latrines – are monitoring systems, data and statistics. Reliable data are vital for investments to be made in the right places and the correct policy decisions are taken. Should limited public finance be directed to maintaining and repairing existing water supply systems, or to new construction, for example.
The recently completed National WASH Inventory has been a major initiative to better monitor the performance of the water and sanitation sector in Ethiopia. This involved survey of over 92,000 rural water supply schemes, over 1,600 small town systems, 50,000 schools and clinics and interviews with 12 million households. The costs amounted to more than 200 million Birr (about 12 million USD). For the first time, the National WASH Inventory provides a national baseline of all water and sanitation facilities using standard methods across all regions.
The African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) has been awarded a US$ 2 million grant  from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help countries build capacities for sanitation policy development, monitoring and advocacy.
AMCOW will use the 3-year grant for:
- technical guidance and training to four fragile counties to develop and adopt national sanitation and hygiene policies and plans
- organising the 4th AfricaSan conference and awards to boost implementation of the AfricaSan Action Plan and eThekwini ministerial commitments 
- country support in using the African mechanism for water and sanitation monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
“Across the globe, about 2.6 billion do not have access to safe sanitation. Africa accounts for almost 40 percent of these figures.” said Bai Mass Taal, AMCOW Executive Secretary.
AMCOW is an initiative of African Ministers responsible for water and a Specialized Technical Committee on water and sanitation for the African Union.
In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched  its Reinvent the Toilet initiative at AfricaSan 3 in Kigali, Rwanda.
 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Oct 2012
 WSP, 2008. The eThekwini declaration and AfricaSan action plan. Nairobi, Kenya: Water and Sanitation Program – African Region.
Available at: <www.wsp.org/UserFiles/file/eThekwiniAfricaSan.pdf>
 Reinventing the toilet: Gates Foundation launches new sanitation strategy and grants, Sanitation Updates, 19 Jul 2011
Source: AMCOW, 18 Dec 2012
The majority of the water and sanitation projects funded by the European Union (EU) in six African countries are not sustainable says the EU’s spending watchdog. The European Commission (EC) maintains that most of the audited projects were approved before it had implemented quality control reforms.
ECA Member David Bostock presenting Special Report no 13/2012. Photo: European Union
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) reviewed 23 projects in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania. The projects represent an investment of over 400 million euro of which the EU provided 219 million euro. Total EU spending on water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa between 2001 and 2010 amounts to over 1 billion euro.
In their report , the auditors warn that the majority of projects will not be sustainable unless non-tariff revenue is ensured and institutional weaknesses are addressed. Less than half of the projects examined delivered results meeting the beneficiaries’ needs.
Posted in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Financing, Monitoring & evaluation, Nigeria, Sanitation, Sustainable services, Tanzania, Water supply
Tagged European Commission, European Court of Auditors, European Union, financial sustainability, institutional sustainability, source_publish
A policy review  of Dutch aid during 1990 to 2011 to improve drinking water and sanitation services in developing countries found that while millions of peole have gained access, the impact on health and sustainability was limited.
The main focus of the review is on the period from 2004 when aid was directed at supporting the Millennium Development Goal of halving the world’s population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.
The review is primarily based on:
- a study of Dutch policy and its execution;
- impact evaluation studies of drinking water and sanitation programmes in Benin , Egypt, Yemen, Mozambique  and Tanzania .
The policy review was supported by a reference group which included Dr. Christine Sijbesma of IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre.
After a delay of more than half a year, the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, finally signed the Liberia WASH Compact in January 2012. The signing follows almost two months of lobbying by the WASH Working Group, an alliance of civil society organisations (CSOs). The group organised a series of WASH Crisis Talks around the country to promote the Compact.
The Liberia WASH Compact was developed at the Multi Donor Conference on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) held in Paynesville, outside Monrovia in May 2011. It is a product of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Partnership aimed at ensuring that the Liberian population can have adequate access to safe water and improved sanitation facilities. The Compact identifies four priority areas for sector stakeholders: institutional capacity; service provision priorities and equity; data and monitoring and evaluation gaps; and financing mechanisms.
President Johnson-Sirleaf promised to share the learning and successes of the Compact with the nations in the Mano River Union and ECOWAS.
Read the Liberia WASH Compact
Related news: Liberian President and WASH Ambassador Ellen Johnson Sirleaf awarded Nobel Peace Prize, E-Source, 05 Dec 2011
Related web sites:
Source: Augustine N. Myers, Shout-Africa, 24 Jan 2012
Posted in Advocacy, Financing, Governance, Liberia, Monitoring & evaluation, Policies & legislation, Sanitation, Water supply
Tagged Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia WASH Compact, Sanitation and Water for All, source_publish
Translating Research into National-Scale Change: A Case Study from Kenya of WASH in Schools, 2011. SWASH Project.
Over the past 5 years CARE, Emory University’s Center for Global Safe Water, and Water.org, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Sustaining and Scaling School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Plus Community Impact (SWASH+) project, have worked to achieve sustainable and national-scale school WASH services in Kenya through applied research and advocacy. The project tested a multi-armed school WASH intervention through a randomized, controlled trial with multiple policy-relevant sub-studies. Research results were then used to advocate for policy change to bring about sustainable school WASH services nationally. These efforts have focused on improving budgeting for operations and maintenance costs, improving accountability systems with a focus on monitoring and evaluation, and more effectively promoting knowledge of WASH through teacher training and the national curriculum.
Advocacy objectives were developed through a problem-tree analysis and stakeholder analyses. SWASH+ used Outcome Mapping to track progress against these objectives. Specific advocacy goals were to identify important policy intervention areas, work with policymakers to update knowledge and identify learning gaps and then act as a learning adviser to the relevant ministries.
Though the project has not achieved all advocacy objectives, it can claim some advances. Lessons for effective school WASH advocacy gained from the program successes and mistakes are as follows:
1) Having a rigorous evidence base creates large amounts of credibility with policymakers.
2) Significant time and follow-up are needed as well as having staff with appropriate skills.
3) The “ripeness” of the external policy environment is crucial and can make or break efforts to affect national-scale change. Successful advocacy initiatives avoid being insular, focus on the external policy environment at the outset, assess data needs and stakeholder roles and responsibilities, and set reasonable objectives.
Effectiveness of Large Scale Water and Sanitation Interventions: the One Million Initiative in Mozambique, October 2011.
Chris Elbers, et al.
The One Million Initiative of the Government of Mozambique aims at supplying access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation for one million people. The program has constructed hundreds of new boreholes and implemented trainings on sanitation in communities from three provinces. To evaluate the program, a panel survey design was set up with a baseline in 2008, a midterm in 2010 and an end-line in 2013. The survey covers interviews with 1600 households, focus group discussions about the community and water points in 80 clusters in 9 districts. To our knowledge this is the first rigorous evaluation of such a large scale program in the water and sanitation sector.
This paper summarizes the findings of the baseline and midterm surveys in terms of health impacts, latrine ownership and the use of improved water sources. Our results indicate that the water point intervention had a sizeable impact on the use of improved water sources and on the health outcome of children under 5 but no impact for older individuals, while the sanitation component of the program had a strong impact on latrine ownership and health outcome for older individuals, and a limited impact on hand-washing with soap and the use of improved water sources when it was available in the community
Handeni residents have blamed the government for the delay in rehabilitation and expansion of a key water project to allow villagers access clean water supply.
The 20-year design period of the project was supposed to end in 1994, but the project, which is now 35 years old, has depended on short term repairs. It has not, however, been able to operate at full capacity and in some areas like Manga, on Segera-Chalinze highway, water has not been flowing since 1996.
The stakeholders were voicing their concern during a special tour sponsored by Policy Forum. According to the Forum accountability, evaluation and monitoring manager, Mr Albanie Marcossy, the DC had requested the stakeholders to visit the project to see government efforts to ensure Handeni residents get water from the project.
Source: George Sembony, The Citizen /allAfrica.com, 12 December 2010
A discussion workshop entitled “Monitoring the Sanitation Status of African Cities”, supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), was held at the University of Surrey (UK) on 29th June 2010, to discuss the accuracy of current estimates of sanitation status in African cities, and how monitoring procedures might be improved. Participants also discussed related issues of knowledge sharing within and between African cities.
Key conclusions were as follows:
1) Research is needed to identify improved metrics of urban sanitation quality, notably metrics that take into account the effectiveness of downstream systems (sewerage or faecal sludge management systems) for reducing disease burden.
2) The JMP might wish to consider the possibility of modifying its procedures for assessment of urban sanitation status, with the aim of adopting indicator sets that more accurately evaluate the effectiveness of the whole sanitation chain.
3) Knowledge-sharing initiatives like SWITCH Accra, in which a hub is created to collate and disseminate city-level watsan information resources, are very promising, and should be encouraged.
4) Drawing on the experience of the Indian Cities Sanitation Rating Scheme recently introduced by the Government of India, an analogous African Cities Sanitation Rating Scheme or schemes may be of value for stimulating urban sanitation progress.
For further information:
See also: Sanitation Status of African Cities
This is a fully editable open-access reference resource on the sanitation status of African cities. It currently covers all 40 agglomerations in sub-Saharan Africa with a population of 1 million or more. Individuals and organizations with expert knowledge of specific cities are invited to edit and expand this resource as appropriate, so that it can evolve into a valuable knowledge-sharing resource. [This material is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, so can be freely distributed and re-used in any way.]