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Building capacity for water, sanitation, and hygiene programming: Training evaluation theory applied to CLTS management training in Kenya

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Training and capacity building are long established critical components of global water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) policies, strategies, and programs. Expanding capacity building support for WaSH in developing countries is one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. There are many training evaluation methods and tools available. However, training evaluations in WaSH have been infrequent, have often not utilized these methods and tools, and have lacked rigor. UNC and Plan developed a conceptual framework for evaluating training in WaSH by reviewing and adapting concepts from literature. The framework includes three target outcomes: learning, individual performance, and improved programming; and two sets of influences: trainee and context factors. The framework was applied to evaluate a seven-month community-led total sanitation (CLTS) management training program delivered to 42 government officials in Kenya from September 2013 to May 2014. Trainees were given a pre-training questionnaire and were interviewed at two weeks and seven months after initial training. The data was qualitatively analyzed using the conceptual framework. The training program resulted in trainees learning the CLTS process and new skills, and improving their individual performance through application of advocacy, partnership, and supervision soft skills. The link from trainees' performance to improved programming was constrained by resource limitations and pre-existing rigidity of trainees’ organizations. Training-over-time enhanced outcomes and enabled trainees to overcome constraints in their work. Training in soft skills is relevant to managing public health programs beyondWaSH. This article makes recommendations on how training programs can be targeted and adapted to improve outcomes. The conceptual framework can be used as a tool both for planning and evaluating training programs in WaSH.

Download the article by Crocker et al which first appeared in Social Science and Medicine 166 (2016) pages 66-76.

Date: 18 August 2016