Lessons from Water for Women

The Water for Women team has launched a collection of case studies and an accompanying synthesis report on monitoring safely managed water and sanitation services, drawing on the experiences and practical lessons from partners, including the International WaterCentre, working in diverse country contexts in the Asia-Pacific region including Solomon Islands, Indonesia, Cambodia, Bhutan and Papua New Guinea. Download the report here.

The Monitoring Safely Managed Water and Sanitation Services – Lessons from Water for Women Case Study Report and Synthesis aims to test and adapt tools to monitor safely managed services and to support national and sub-national monitoring systems to report against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6.1 and 6.2.

Water for Women supports universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene for all in the Asia-Pacific region through 20 water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects being implemented by civil society organisations (CSOs) and 13 research projects, including those undertaken by IWC. Water for Women projects cover a range of objectives and contexts, and several have developed evidence and practice that can inform monitoring of safely managed services.

The report launch preceded a webinar that was held on 30 March where Rosie Sanderson shared the IWC insights to monitoring safely management WASH in rural Melanesia based on two action research projects the IWC have been progressing with the Solomon Islands National University (SINU).

The projects aim to increase the evidence base for informed water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions in a Melanesian context. Pacific Community Water Management Plus (PaCWaM+), seeks to understand how civil society organisations and governments can better support rural community-based water management in the Pacific to improve SDG 6 outcomes.

The Promoting Safe Child Faeces Management project (Safe CFM) is a behaviour change research project that explores the psycho-social, technological and epistemological determinants of CFM in rural contexts to support safe child sanitation and hygiene practices.

In Melanesia, more than 80% of the population live in rural and remote areas, of which only 44% have access to basic water services. There is limited data on water quality for rural water systems and insufficient data at national or regional level to estimate coverage of safely managed services in almost all countries in the region. Access to sanitation is lower still, with an estimated 20% of rural Melanesians accessing basic services.

IWC and SINU have monitored SDG6 service levels, using the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) service ladder standards, during the formative research phases in the projects to compare the WASH service levels experienced by village residents with national and global service levels, and to provide baselines for later phases of project implementation. For example, in PaCWaM+, one measure of how successfully a village managed its water system was the status of WASH services available to community members, including household water accessibility, availability, reliability and drinking water quality. IWC and SINU evaluated SDG 6 service levels using data from household surveys and infrastructure spot checks, utilising both the core indicators and expanded questions provided by JMP.

Amongst several recommendations resulting from the case study, IWC found that the use of targeted expanded JMP indicators, judged in relation to risk, were useful in strengthening assessments of communities’ access to WASH services. For example, in Solomon Islands, expanded indicators for seasonality, inclusivity and household behaviours make data more insightful and meaningful.