Measurement of sustainability


The lasting provision of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene depends on systems that work. Various actors play a key role in ensuring that systemic challenges are overcome. Measurement of sustainability is therefore a key issue in the improvement of our programs. The WASH Alliance does not want to re-invent the wheel. Rather, we want to build on experience gained by others. Therefore a co-operation is started with IRC (International Water and Sanitation Centre) to develop an approach that would allow us to monitor these key sustainability aspects in a consistent manner. In the recent past, IRC has actively been exploring concepts, factors and processes that determine the sustainability of WASH projects and services, e.g. by carrying out action research (such as WASHCost).

Framework development in Ghana and Uganda
IRC will support the development of a framework to monitor sustainability aspects of WASH systems & services and projects. This framework will be piloted in Ghana and Uganda. The framework will be linked to the existing country-specific, government-owned and generally applied WASH Sector Monitoring Framework. In Ghana, a national and district monitoring system is being developed – we will try to influence this development by addressing the need to focus on sustainability indicators. In Uganda, improvement of the yet existing sector monitoring system is sought by expanding this system with indicators that address sustainability.

Process of the project
The project consists of three phases: an assessment, a development and an embedding phase. At the start of the project, current monitoring frameworks are analysed and the possible involvement of local partners as well as local and national governments is identified. A workshop will be organised to discuss findings and to establish a Task Force. In the second phase actual sustainability indicators and tools will be developed and tested. Pilot data will be collected and analysed. The feasibility and the potential for scaling up these indicators to the national WASH Sector Sustainability Monitoring Framework will be evaluated and discussed both at local and national level in the third phase. It will then be assessed which indicators should be incorporated in the national WASH Sector Monitoring Framework. A lobby plan will be developed to this end.

Learning on sustainability monitoring
The pilot will enhance learning of the WASH Alliance, both at programme and sector level. The pilot will support the WASH Alliance to formulate a possible rolling-out plan of sustainability monitoring to other Alliance programme countries.

Annemieke Beekmans works for Rain Foundation. If you have any additional questions you can send her an email at