Category Archives: About WASH Results

Hard work pays off: access and service delivery results under a Payment by Results programme

In 2014, the ‘new kid on the block’ for WASH sector funding was introduced through DFID’s WASH Results Programme’s Payment by Results. The fund was designed to give impetus to meet the MDG goals on WASH, found to be lagging behind in many countries. The targets were ambitious, the model risky. SNV’s Anne Mutta shares SSH4A RP’s experience in implementing PbR.

The Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All Results Programme (SSH4A RP) of SNV, financed by UKAID, was among the first organisations to engage in PBR programming in 2014. By end of December 2017, our four-year experience in implementing SSH4A RP in 62 districts across nine countries in Africa and Asia successfully engaged 7 million people. Independently verified results of the programme found that at least 2.7 million people have gained access to and are using new and improved sanitation facilities. Beyond meeting our pre-defined results at household level, SNV’s payment was tied to so-called ‘Sustainability Results’, measuring progress towards sustainable service delivery systems in each district.

Stephen Covey says ‘begin with the end in mind’, under a PBR system this translates to having a definite goal to work towards (the results) and constantly reviewing what you are doing (process) to see if it is getting you where you want to go!

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SNV staff and government officials dialogue with kebele female sanitation group

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Kebele residents count days before flag turns green signifying ODF achievement

Under a PBR contract, programme targets are fixed and underachievement is ‘penalised’. Because overly-optimistic targets are considered financial risks, organisations are challenged to be more realistic at the start of programme design. Building on and ‘growing’ our years of SSH4A work (developed in 2008) had helped us offer ambitious but realistic targets that can be delivered within a given time frame. Similarly, because we’ve been physically present in our SSH4A RP countries for years (for example, we’ve been present in Kenya since 1969) our knowledge base and partnership with local government and CSOs allowed us to prepare for potential risks and unforeseen events. The number of countries and districts, helped to balance out the effect of those unforeseen events, as there are many factors beyond our control, in particular affecting sustainability indicators.

Although targets are fixed under DFID’s WASH Results Programme (WRP), there is flexibility in implementation: programme activities may be changed to respond to evolving contexts. A lot of time savings were realised because there was no need for us to engage in a protracted consultation process with UKAID when funds had to be shifted. The WRP’s PbR gave us more control on how things can be done and allowed us to swiftly respond to shifting needs or priorities. Our country teams –  who had a better handle of the contexts they were working in – were able to adjust their interventions and search for those most suitable in supporting households to gain access to sanitation facilities. Experience and engagements on the ground guided our interventions, and facilitated actual ‘learning and doing’.

PbR increased attention on the need for sound monitoring systems within project designs. A defining characteristic of the WRP is the integration of an independent third party verification process, which is conducted prior to ‘pay out’. With quality monitoring and evaluation (M&E) becoming an integral part of programme conversations, we introduced robust M&E tools, our country teams became involved in conducting household surveys, and they organised regular stakeholder review/ reflection meetings on sustainability indicators. Constantly questioning whether progress had been made, why and how things can be done better and sustainably have helped us reach optimal results. This reflection process served as the main driver behind our achievements, and the results that we all take pride in.

By embracing this new working modality, and with hard work, we managed to surpass at least 95% of our SSH4A RP pre-defined targets. Without a reflective, evidence-based process of target setting and progress monitoring, it is foolhardy to imagine that we are able to get the same desired results.

About the Author: Anne Mutta is multi-country programme manager of SNV’s largest Payment by Results (PbR) programme to date – a multi-million programme that is being implemented across eight countries in Africa and Nepal. Anne, based in Kenya, has 20 solid years of experience leading action-oriented and evidence-based WASH programmes.

Photo credit: Anjani Abella/SNV

This post was originally published on the SNV website and is one of a series leading up to World Water Week 2018.

Going to #WWWeek? Come to the WASH Results session on Sunday morning and find out more about the realities of Payment by Results.

WASH Results’ evaluation highlights differences in design

The WASH Results Evaluation Team (led by Oxford Policy Management) shared their midline evaluation findings with the programme’s Suppliers through a webinar earlier this year and the slides are now available online together with the full report.

The WASH Results Midline Evaluation was carried out mid-2016 and explored:

  • The relevance of programme design (theory of change).
  • To what extent the verification systems were fit-for purpose (relevance and efficiency).
  • In what ways the Payment by Results (PBR) modality affected implementation.
  • Which outputs were achieved (those paid for, and those outside the PBR framework).

The evaluation showcases how the three Suppliers designed their PBR systems in different ways, to suit the different WASH activities being implemented across 12 countries between them. As a result, a tailored verification system was also implemented by its Third Party Verifier (led by Itad) to fit this variation. This diversity is summarised nicely in the slides that accompanied the webinar.

The planned output targets of the programme were achieved by December 2015 – with significant over-achievement (though over-achievement was not paid for under the PBR modality). They were achieved off the back of results-oriented problem-solving by the Suppliers who adjusted activities to achieve agreed results. The increased scrutiny of the third-party verification mechanism also helped strengthen monitoring systems of the Suppliers, resulting in more regular and higher-quality monitoring data. However, the evaluators also found that the pressure of achieving results put significant burden on programme staff and partners.

Suppliers managed the risks of PBR in a variety of ways, including front-loading payments and moving output targets between countries if one was under-achieving. With a few exceptions, the Suppliers also opted to pre-finance their local implementation partners and thus hold the PBR risks at the headquarters level, instead of passing them down to local implementation partners.

The midline evaluation webinar concluded with a suite of recommendations for PBR suppliers (NGOs), for DFID and for independent verifiers. The endline evaluation will be carried out in 2018 and will focus on outcome achievement, impact and sustainability aspects.

If you would like to be notified when the WASH Results Endline Evaluation Report is available, please email Cheryl Brown, WASH Results MVE Team Communications Manager.  You may also be interested in the Evaluation Team’s Short Reading List on PBR.

 

 

 

As the MDGs become SDGs, what progress has WASH Results made?

What has the DFID WASH Results Programme achieved so far and what lies ahead for the programme in 2016?

January 1st, 2016 is an important date for the DFID WASH Results Programme. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) take the place of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ‘WASH Results’ moves into the second half of its funding period. At this stage the focus for the programme’s Suppliers (SAWRP, SNV and SWIFT) will start shifting from getting things done, to keeping things going and ensuring the sustainability of WASH outcomes. For e-Pact too, as the independent verifiers, it’s farewell to Outputs and hello to Outcomes.

Embed from Getty Images Once the goals to provide access have been reached, attention turns to sustainability.

Before we look ahead to next year, let’s take a look at what’s been achieved so far. According to the UN, 2.6 billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources between 1990 and 2015 – a key part of MDG 7. Worldwide, 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation but 2.4 billion are still using unimproved sanitation facilities, including nearly 1 billion people who are still defecating in the open. This July, DFID was able to report it had exceeded its own target of supporting 60 million people to access clean water, better sanitation or improved hygiene conditions.

What contribution can we attribute to the WASH Results Programme? The full report on the programme’s 2015 Annual Review is available on the UKAid Development Tracker website. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The reviewers gave the programme an ‘A’ overall (for the second year running) and considered it to be “on track” to meeting its targets by the end of 2015.
  • By December 2014 the WASH Results Programme had reached 296,438 people with improved sanitation, 65,611 people with improved water supply, and over 1.25 million people with hygiene promotion.
  • The reviewers noted that “strong independent verification systems” have been established that also allow for adjustment and improvement based on learning from previous verification rounds.
  • WASH Results is generating significant policy knowledge around use of Payment by Results and programming for outcomes (sustainability) in the WASH sector.

We’ll come back to these results in early 2016 when the final numbers are in and compare them to the programme’s targets for December 2015 which are:

  • 968,505 people have access to clean drinking water;
  • 3,769,708 people have access to an improved sanitation facility;
  • 9,330,144 people reached through hygiene promotion activities through DFID support.

Large numbers, however impressive, don’t fully convey the effects that improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene are having on people’s lives. The Suppliers have been collecting stories of change from some of the people on the ground who are closely involved in delivering the WASH Results Programme or directly benefitting from its work. You can read about 70 year old subsistence farmer Maria and mother-of-five, Jacinta, in a recent DFID blog post. The SWIFT consortium’s website is also packed with news and images from their involvement in the WASH Results Programme.

So what happens next?

From 2016 onwards, e-Pact starts answering a critical question for DFID: how many poor people continue to use improved water and sanitation facilities and are practising improved hygiene because of the WASH Results Programme? Right now we’re exploring how best to monitor, report on and verify these outcomes and look forward to sharing what we learn, with you.

As always, if you have any ideas or observations about this topic, we encourage you to Leave A Reply (below), or email us.

Introducing DFID WASH Results

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By 2015 the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation will be halved (according to Millennium Development Goal 7c.) Yet, millions of people worldwide still lack access to improved water supply and the sanitation target is severely off track.
The DFID Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Results Programme aims to support poor people to access improved water and sanitation, and to introduce improved hygiene practices, to support the UK Government’s targets of reaching 60 million people with improved water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives. Three Suppliers have been contracted by DFID to deliver results by December 2015 and strengthen local systems and build local capacity to help sustain these results up to March 2018:

WASH Results uses a funding relationship known as Results Based Financing (RBF) where the funding goes from DFID to a Supplier or Service Provider. RBF is a type of Payment By Results (PbR), a relatively new form of financing used by DFID that makes payments contingent on the independent verification of results – which is where e-Pact comes in.

The e-Pact consortium is the Monitoring, Verification & Evaluation (MVE) services provider for WASH Results with Itad as the lead agency, joined by OPM, IWEL and Ecorys.
The Monitoring & Verification team supports DFID by monitoring progress and verifying that the Suppliers’ reporting on results is accurate and realistic.
The Evaluation team is assessing if and why the programme delivers sustainable outcomes, how efficiently and effectively it is and how to effectively design and implement RBF programmes in the WASH sector.
Cutting across both teams is a Learning & Dissemination function, that supports knowledge-sharing and learning between the Suppliers, DFID and the MVE team and helps lessons learned about RBF in WASH reach a wide audience.