2010 Ethiopia: Evaluation of Netherlands-UNICEF Water Initiative (NUWI)
Author: Yemarshet Yemane
“With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. Please ensure that you check the quality of this evaluation report, whether it is “Outstanding”, “Good”, “Almost Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” before using it. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report.”
On 12th October 2006, the Netherlands Government’s Directorate General of International Co-operation (DGIS) and UNICEF entered into a multi-country cooperation programme focusing on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Eastern and Southern Africa. Originally established in four countries, the Netherlands / UNICEF WASH Initiative (NUWI) now covers seven countries: the Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Zambia. The multi country programme will contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7, Target 10, by creating the conditions for at least 5,548,000 people in these countries to gain access to safe drinking water, and 5,028,000 to gain access to basic sanitation, by 2012-2013.
The NUWI project in Ethiopia commenced on 1st January 2007 and ended on 31st March 2010. It is focused in 8 Woredas (Districts) in the four most populous regions of Ethiopia: Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) and Tigray. The NUWI project is an important component of the National WASH programme, not only in terms of the magnitude on investment, but also because of its potential to pilot new thinking and inform the WASH sector accordingly. The project was implemented with the regional bureaus of water, education and health with additional support from a number of national and international NGOs.
Implementation of the project has now been completed. UNICEF commissioned an external evaluation to assess the project achievements in terms of strengthening the sector, the extent to which the project objectives were met, and the technical and strategic achievements in the introduction and scaling up of innovative and sustainable approaches to service delivery.
The evaluation is designed to assess:
1. The role of NUWI in strengthening the sector and the extent to which the project objectives were met;
2. The physical targets and outputs mentioned in the Technical Updates; and
3. The technical and strategic achievements in the introduction and scaling up of a number of innovative and sustainable approaches to service delivery, such as: Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS); support to self-supply of family water supplies; support to the establishment of supply chain; legalization of WASHCOs; and the WASH inventory to improve access to reliable data on access, use and sustainability.
The evaluation focuses on 5 areas: Relevance, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Impact and Sustainability, with Gender Equity a cross cutting issue.
Review of project related documents; focus group discussion and key informant interviews with those who can provide valuable information at Federal, Regional Woreda, Kebele, and Community levels primarily to measure the effectiveness, relevance and sustainability of the project through visits to the four regions, the 8 project woredas and 17 kebeles. Spot checks/structured observations of WASH facilities in each Woreda to understand better the atmosphere of the study site, to familiarize self with the physical context and to obtain first hand information on WASH related practices in and around these locations.
Findings and Conclusions:
The design of the NUWI project is particularly relevant – at Woreda, Regional and Federal level. This relates to local outputs and outcomes – improved access to and use of WASH infrastructure; but also to the contribution it has made to the wider WASH sector.
Furthermore, the project is effective: All major outputs have been achieved, noting that some activities were not completed, for example, the establishment of sani-marts. The project has been successful in establishing over 500 community managed water schemes – providing water to 297,000 people; promoting basic sanitation using CLTS – providing an estimated 550,000 with access to home built toilets, and establishing WASH facilities in 100 schools and 110 health posts – benefiting 60,000 students and a catchment population of about 550,000 people. Whilst some work is needed to complete piped water supplies in Oromia and SSNPR, the additional beneficiaries have not yet been counted.
The project has been efficient: achieving its results in a little over three years – remarkable given its slow start and the capacity constraints which affect the WASH sector, especially at local level. To achieve these results in a short time frame has only been possible with the support of government, NGOs, the private sector and participating communities. The project has demonstrated that by harnessing collective capacity, considerable progress can be achieved in a short time frame in a focused geographical area – despite initial weaknesses in absorptive capacity.
In general, there is sufficient evidence to justify WASH interventions without measuring health impact on a project basis: Studies indicate that 51% diarrhea reduction can be achieved with the use of latrine, 15% with the use of clean water, 35% with proper sanitation and 32% with the practice of hand washing.
The evaluation report refers to the sustainability of the results achieved. Different dimensions of sustainability are assessed. On the positive side, local Water and Sanitation Committees (WASHCOs) are managing the water supplies completed, and school committees have been established to care for institutional WASH facilities. There is a basic cost recovery system in place, and beneficiaries have been involved in the planning process. However, it is recommended that more be done in terms of legalizing WASHCOs, establishing sustainable supply chains and to market high levels of sanitation. In overall terms, although the short project timeline has limited opportunities for developing local capacity and systems over time, this has been counterbalanced by the sheer density of project inputs in just 8 Woredas, which enabled more intense capacity building interventions.
The project also addresses a number of gender concerns, with women and girls not only benefiting from the outputs, but also participating in there delivery. School WASH facilities, and the related guideline developed by NUWI, are gender sensitive. In general, it is recommended that UNICEF reinforce these efforts which an approach that does even more to empower women to take decisions about WASH services, and even lead this process.
Notwithstanding the positive outcomes of the NUWI project, it is recommended that UNICEF consider the following actions.
- Strengthen community facilitation and decision making in a phased approach to WASH service delivery, with particular emphasis on gender equity and empowerment. This may involve a process similar to that adopted by the innovative Community Development Fund, supported by Government of Finland and active in parts of Amhara and Benishangul Gumuz.
- In this context, strongly advocate for the full legalisation of WASHCOs with a clear mandate, constitution and responsibilities that extend to catchment protection, institutional WASH and ‘community’ sanitation.
- In this context, invest more time and resources to set up, pilot and demonstrate sustainable supply chains, probably using local private entrepreneurs to sell spares to WASHCOs.
Continue to develop self supply as a viable family water supply option that the government can promote, taking into account safety concerns.
- In sanitation, link CLTS with the promotion of higher service levels (improved sanitation) and the supply of related goods and services through sani-marts or other appropriate outlets.
Using the results of the formative work on handwashing, continue to work with the Government and other stakeholders to roll out a nation hand washing strategy, which could eventually be linked to improved home water management.
- Continue to advocate for and programme school and health facility WASH, ensuring that Woreda WASH Teams practice convergent planning and allocate budgets accordingly. In this respect, more emphasis should be placed on sustainability concerns, and the role of teachers and education officials in the use, care and management of WASH facilities.
- Continue to support the roll out of the National WASH inventory, emphasizing the importance of quality and the use of data by Woreda WASH Teams to inform strategic and annual plans.
Full report in PDF
PDF files require Acrobat Reader.