Tag Archives: Systems Approach

Recent publications on Sustainable WASH Systems

Afar 2016
photo: Petterik Wiggers/Hollandse Hoogte Amsterdam

The Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS) learning partnership is a collaborative activity funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop, test, and document high-potential “systems approaches” for local water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) service delivery. The five year project (2016-2021) in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda aims to provide concrete improvements to service delivery while placing a significant emphasis on building knowledge and providing evidence to USAID and the global WASH sector on how systems approaches can be applied, adapted, and scaled in different contexts.

Below are some of the most recent SWS publications:

Valcourt, N., Walters, J., Javernick-Will, A., Linden, K., and Hailegiorgis, B., 2020. Understanding rural water services as a complex system : an assessment of key factors as potential leverage points for improved service sustainability. Sustainability, 12(3), pp.1-17 : 3 fig., 3 tab.

Results from stakeholders workshops in Ethiopia and Uganda indicate that a more intentional focus on factor interactions in WASH systems could lead to more effective strategies for improving service sustainability.  Read more: https://www.ircwash.org/resources/understanding-rural-water-services-complex-system-assessment-key-factors-potential

Hope, R., Thomson, P., Koehler, J. & Foster, T., 2020. Rethinking the economics of rural water in Africa. Oxford review of economic policy, 36(1), pp.171- 190 : 2 fig.

Why is rural water is different for communities, schools, and healthcare facilities across characteristics of scale, institutions, demand, and finance? Read more: https://www.ircwash.org/resources/rethinking-economics-rural-water-africa

Hollander, D., Ajroud, B., Thomas, E., Peabody, S., Jordan, E., Javernick-Will, A. & Linden, K., 2020. Monitoring methods for systems-strengthening activities toward sustainable water and sanitation services in low-income settings. Sustainability, 12(17), pp.1-16 : 10 fig.

Early findings from the application of outcome mapping and system-wide assessments within the USAID-funded Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership (SWS) indicate the importance of including both within an overall monitoring approach to support systems strengthening of water and sanitation services. Read more: https://www.ircwash.org/resources/monitoring-methods-systems-strengthening-activities-toward-sustainable-water-and

University of Colorado Boulder. Environmental Incentives, 2020. Defining collective action approaches in WASH. (Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. Research brief). Washington, DC, USA: USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. 4 p. : 1 tab.

This research brief presents a definition of collective action approaches and a working typology of the range of related approaches. Read more: https://www.ircwash.org/resources/defining-collective-action-approaches-wash

Harper, D., 2020. Using social network analysis in WASH programs. (Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. Learning brief). Washington, DC, USA: USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. 5 p. : 2 tab.

This learning brief summarizes the application and use of social network analysis (SNA) in the Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS) Learning Partnership in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Cambodia. Read more: https://www.ircwash.org/resources/using-social-network-analysis-wash-programs

Pugel, K., Javernick-Will, A., Koschmann, M., Peabody, S. & Linden, K., 2020. Adapting collaborative approaches for service provision to low-income countries : expert panel results. Sustainability, 12(7), pp.1-26 : 6 fig., 2 tab.

This study contributes to both literature and practice by identifying the relative importance of factors to consider when designing collaborative approaches in low-income countries with limited governance capabilities. Read more: https://www.ircwash.org/resources/adapting-collaborative-approaches-service-provision-low-income-countries-expert-panel

Chintalapati, P., 2020. Maintenance approaches to improve the sustainability of rural water supplies. (Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. Research brief). Washington, DC, USA: USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. 7 p.

This document reviews literature about the factors influencing the sustainability of rural water services, and the emerging maintenance approaches seeking to address these factors and improve service reliability. Read more: https://www.ircwash.org/resources/maintenance-approaches-improve-sustainability-rural-water-supplies

Valcourt, N., Javernick-Will, A., Walters, J. & Linden, K., 2020. System approaches to water, sanitation, and hygiene : a systematic literature review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(3), pp.1-18 : 4 fig., 3 tab.

There is insufficient information in the literature to evaluate the utility and efficacy of systems approaches for improving WASH service sustainability. This article proposes recommendations for improving the evidence base. Read more: https://www.ircwash.org/resources/system-approaches-water-sanitation-and-hygiene-systematic-literature-review

McDermott, M., 2020. Ethiopia midterm organizational network analysis report. (Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. Research report). Washington, DC, USA: USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. ii, 67 : 27 fig., 16 tab.

Measuring change over time in the relationships and network structure of learning alliances in four separate Ethiopian locations in USAID’s Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership (SWS). Read more: https://www.ircwash.org/resources/ethiopia-midterm-organizational-network-analysis-report

Ajroud, B., Hollander, D. & Peabody, S., 2020. Measuring systems change in WASH programming : a practical application of two tools. (Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. Research report). Washington, DC, USA: USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. 31 p. : 6 boxes, 3 fig.

This report provides a guide to the practical application of outcome mapping and sustainability scorecards to monitor systems change in WASH programming. Read more: https://www.ircwash.org/resources/measuring-systems-change-wash-programming-practical-application-two-tools

For more on the Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS) learning partnership and a full list of publications go to:
https://www.globalwaters.org/sws

@WASHStrong takeover: How do human rights strengthen systems?

A4C Twitter takeover

Tuesday, 28 July, marks the 10th anniversary of the recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation!

@WASHStrong takeover: How do human rights strengthen systems?

On this day, @RealiseHRWS and @sanwatforall will take over the @WASHStrong twitter account to discuss how human rights contribute to strengthening WASH systems. We will share local and global approaches from Making Rights Real and Sanitation and Water for All.

The takeover will take place from 8am to 8pm Central European Time / 11.30am to 11.30pm India Standard Time / 2am to 2pm US Eastern Time.

Join us! https://twitter.com/WASHstrong

10 years after the human rights to water and sanitation were first recognised and with 10 years to go until the promise of SDG 6 should be fulfilled, we want to use this day as an opportunity for everyone to share their experiences of applying human rights to their own work.

Joins us if you…

–          Have used human rights and it has helped to improve WASH systems

–          Have questions on how human rights are relevant to WASH systems change

–          Want to see what experiences other have made

We hope for a lively exchange among practitioners in this space!

See you there

Hannah (WASH United/Making Rights Real), Manishka (SWA), Alec (Agenda for Change)

Decolonising the WASH sector

Being true to #BlackLivesMatter. Report of an IRC Global Talk

BlackLivesMatter-Montreal-Martin-Reisch-Unsplash

Gay Village, Montreal. Credit: Martin Reisch/Unsplash

“The problem isn’t men, it’s patriarchy.
The problem isn’t white people, it’s white supremacy.
The problem isn’t straight people, it’s homophobia.
Recognize systems of oppression before letting individual defensiveness paralyze you from dismantling them”. (Ruchika Tulshyan, founder of inclusion strategy firm Candour)

This is not a quote you would expect to hear from an opening speaker in your usual WASH sector webinar, but the title of the IRC Global Talk on 16 July was anything but usual: “Decolonising WASH sector knowledge and decolonising systems thinking”.

On 18 June 2020, IRC posted a message from our CEO on Black Lives Matter with a commitment to the global struggle against racism. For this Global Talk, we found two, young undaunted voices to help IRC kickstart discussions on our commitments to #BlackLivesMatter. We asked them to elaborate on their recent provocative think pieces on decolonisation. First up was Euphresia Luseka, a WASH Governance Consultant from Kenya who wrote “Initiating De-colonization of WASH Sector Knowledge”, followed by the UK-based writer/facilitator and historian, Alara Adali who believes in “Decolonising systems thinking” for social change.

Continue reading

WASH Debates – Sustainable WASH service delivery in fragile states: how far can you get?

What can actors in the WASH sector do to provide long-lasting and sustainable drinking water and sanitation services in the most fragile contexts? Should focus be on basic infrastructure delivery outside the state structures, knowing that conditions for ongoing service delivery would be weak? Should focus be on WASH systems strengthening, knowing that these systems are likely to remain weak? Should support go to the state, or rather to civil society organisations?

This edition of WASH Debates on “Sustainable WASH service delivery in fragile states” seeks to explore and discuss these questions on 20 November 2019 in The Hague, the Netherlands, from 17:00-18:30 CET.

Those unable to attend the WASH Debate in The Hague can follow the live stream on IRC’s Twitter page

Speakers include:

  • David De Armey, Director of International Partnerships at Water for Good, who supervises the organisation’s water sector partnerships in the Central African Republic
  • Dr. Afou Chantal Bengaly, Programme Manager at Wetlands International and lead of the Watershed empowering citizens programme in Mali
  • Ele Jan Saaf, founder and managing director of the Dutch consultancy company SaafConsult B.V and working for Wetlands International at the Watershed empowering citizens programme
  • Annette Rozendaal-Morón, policy officer at World Waternet, where she manages a team responsible for the Blue Deal Dji Don project in Mali, focusing on improving urban wastewater treatment.

For more information on the WASH Debate go to the IRC WASH website.

Enabling environments for inclusive citywide sanitation: a conceptual framework

Enabling environments for inclusive citywide sanitation: a conceptual framework. WSUP Blog, September 2018.

A necessary shift is taking place: away from a narrow focus on building taps and toilets, and towards an understanding of water and sanitation as a service, whose effectiveness depends on the wider enabling environment. In simple terms, universal coverage requires services which are 1) sustainable and 2) delivered at scale – and neither is possible without strong systems. wsup.png

In Stockholm the increasing momentum towards systems change was evident – my week began with an excellent “morning of systems” convened by Agenda for Change highlighting a number of ongoing initiatives in this area  –  and served to build on July’s UN High-Level Political Forum and the associated SDG 6 synthesis report, underlining the imperative to strengthen governance, finance and capacity development if we are to achieve universal access.

So how does WSUP work to strengthen systems? From the outset, system-strengthening has been embedded in our Theory of Change: we partner with institutions and the private sector to develop effective service delivery models, and work in parallel to create the conditions for these services to be provided at the city level, including within low-income areas.

Read the complete article.

WASH and the Systems Approach – Water Currents, July 10, 2018

Water Currents: WASH and the Systems Approach – Water Currents, July 10, 2018.

The USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership (SWS) prepared this special issue of Water Currents focusing on systems approaches, which seek to understand the complexity, interactions, and interdependencies between actors and factors involved in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). systems

Actions are implemented based on this understanding and have the flexibility to adapt to feedback and changing conditions.

The purpose of SWS is to test new ideas, approaches, and tools to overcome barriers for improving WASH service sustainability via systems approaches. Additional information about SWS activities can be found on the SWS website.

Reports and webinars featured in this issue are from SWS and its consortium members, as well as the World Bank, USAID, and others.

2018 and 2017 Publications and Webinars 
Using Network Analysis to Understand and Strengthen WASH SystemsSWS, February 2018.

This webinar provides an introduction to network analysis and early lessons learned from analyses conducted in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Cambodia. SWS is using such analyses to better understand the complex interactions of actors in a local WASH system, with the ultimate goal of increasing the sustainability of WASH services.

Read the complete issue.

Taps and toilets aren’t enough: designing WASH programmes that strengthen the system – WaterAid

Taps and toilets aren’t enough: designing WASH programmes that strengthen the system – WaterAid, June 19, 2018.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes that focus solely on providing taps, toilets and one-off trainings are unlikely to deliver lasting outcomes. An overwhelming body of evidence highlights that services underperform and improved behaviours regress because there is insufficient ongoing support from permanent, in-country institutions and the local private sector. wateraid

Even in cases where development agencies successfully push for inclusion of WASH access in national policies, this does not necessarily bring about lasting, sustainable outcomes, unless there is also a robust supporting environment and strong government leadership at all levels.

Lasting services for the poorest and most marginalised will therefore only be achieved through efforts that focus on strengthening all aspects of the environment (or system) into which WASH services and behaviours are introduced.

Read the complete article.

A systems approach to sanitation – iDE Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a global success story in sanitation, reducing open defecation from 34% in 1990 to less than 1% today. But despite this initial progress, nearly 40% of the country still lacks access to improved sanitation.

To tackle Bangladesh’s sanitation problem iDE takes a comprehensive systems approach to increase improved sanitation coverage.

iDE’s interventions facilitate different actors in the market system, leveraging existing skills and resources, building connections from the local to the national level, and coordinating across public, private, and development sectors to create a complete ecosystem that enables the sustainable, inclusive delivery of improved sanitation products and services.

 

WASH and the Systems Approach

Increasing Interest in the Agenda for Change and Investments in the Systems ApproachIRC WASH, December 2016. IRC’s CEO Patrick Moriarty discusses key takeaways from the 2016 UNC Water and Health Conference and the growing number of individuals and organizations becoming aware of the necessity of strengthening national WASH systems—and of adopting a systems-based approach. It represents an important step forward that so many in the WASH sector are moving toward strengthening systems rather than just providing hardware.

Systems Thinking: Unlocking the Sustainable Development GoalsEco-Business, October 2016. The world has made some good progress toward advancing the SDGs, but a key piece is missing from these efforts, says Forum for the Future Deputy Chief Executive Stephanie Draper. That is: systems thinking.

Systems Strengthening Thematic Keynote at the UNC Water and Health Conference 2016. (PowerPoint presentation). Heather Skilling, DAI, October 2016. In this presentation, Ms. Skilling discusses her WASH experiences and states that several characteristics of a systems-based approach are: a shift away from fixed, long-term planning to more iterative and adaptive planning based on learning and experimentation; a focus on multi-stakeholder approaches and co-creation with local stakeholders; and a movement away from piecemeal project-by-project progress and toward sector change.

Can Agent-Based Simulation Models Help Us to Improve Services in Complex WASH Systems? IRC WASH, December 2016. In this blog the author discusses the use of a complementary modeling tool to understand and analyze complex social interactions in WASH: an agent-based modeling (ABM) tool. ABM can help practitioners to: diagnose the system; explore the effects of policy interventions; and discuss with partners and clients how the theory of complex systems affects them.

Towards ‘Sustainable’ Sanitation: Challenges and Opportunities in Urban Areas.Sustainability, December 2016. Sustainable sanitation is not a single technology or specific limited sanitation system design, but rather an approach where a broad set of criteria needs to be taken into consideration to achieve universal and equitable access to services over the long-term in a particular context.

Improving Health in Cities Through Systems Approaches for Urban Water ManagementEnvironmental Health, March 2016. This paper reviews links between water and health in cities and describes how the application of four main elements of systems approaches—analytic methods to deal with complexity, interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, and multi-scale thinking—can yield benefits for health in the urban water management context.