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Monitoring and evaluation – moving beyond the data graveyard

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) has long been considered a necessary companion to WASH interventions but the relationship between ‘doing’ and ‘observing’ continues to be a tricky one. Over three sessions during the UNC Water and Health conference last week, Professor Barbara Evans and Dr Jamie Bartram took participants through a highly interactive investigation of where M&E are currently at in the WASH world, which fuelled conversations both in and outside the sessions.

Enhancing collaborative behaviours to achieve the SDGs

Looking at achieving the sustainable development goals, Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) has taken the lead in developing some key collaborative behaviour that if adopted by governments and WASH sectors stakeholders could accelerate progress.

What could everyone do for example in increasing chances of villages attaining ODF faster and sustaining ODF? The 4 collaborative behaviours identified and that formed the core of discussions in some side events and the plenary sessions are:

Sanitation options for sustainability: reflections from the UNC Conference

I am attending the 2016 Water and Health conference organised by the Water Institute at University of North Carolina USA. The conference whose theme is ‘where science meets policy’ focuses on safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene and water resources. Participants and presenters include members of academia, governments, development banks, donor agencies and WASH implementers. So far, I attended sessions that discussed experiences from implementing projects around the world as well as results of case studies in the area of WASH.

CLTS in the Solomon Islands – the word is spreading…

The Solomon Islands has a reputation for being laid back and the smiling, barefooted airlines hostess that greets me at the grassy strip formerly known as Fera Airport, in Isabel Province, portrays this in typical fashion.  Coconut palms sway in the gentle breeze and as the 10 seater plane slides back down the muddy island runway, the hostess laughs guiltily from our transit boat, telling me that the plane came and went ahead of schedule, leaving passengers on the two boats heading our way stranded.  Nobody seems too phased.

People make systems, and systems people : Notes from Swachh Madhya Pradesh campaign

Ajit Tiwari is Deputy Commissioner, Swachh Bharat Mission, Madhya Pradesh. Years ago, prior to launch of Swachh Bharat, he was working as BDO of Budhni block in Sehore district, and was exposed to CLTS training. He says everyday he went to the training thinking that he would attend that day only if he found it useful- and ended up attending all five days. To convince himself of the practicality of approach, he started ‘triggering’ techniques in villages himself. Village after village began to become ODF in his district.

Beyond swachhta, with women's empowerment: Mandi Vikas Abhiyaan

Sandeep Kadam, DC Mandi, again demonstrates the criticality of district leadership for change. A district already declared open defecation free, Sandeep has not only continued the momentum, but reenergised it by activating mahila mandals (women groups) across his district. Hailing from Maharashtra, he says the philosophy behind this approach is the teaching of Mahatma Phule – ‘teach a woman, and you reform a family’.

Using practical triggering tools to promote handwashing in Madagascar

Studies show that handwashing with soap can reduce the risk of contracting diarrhoea by up to 47%. In Fort Dauphin, a small town in the South East of Madagascar, poor hygiene practices and widespread open defecation has had serious consequences for a population struggling with diarrhoea and malnutrition. Poverty and poor infrastructure means that the overwhelming majority of residents do not have in-house water connections. Water must bought by the bucket, at public water points throughout the town. With water such a scarce resource, handwashing is not always seen as a primary concern.

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