UNICEF contracted the Zambia Evaluation Association, which assembled a team of consultants, to conduct an evaluation of the WASHE projects in the four AusAID districts. The evaluation was undertaken from 10th January 2005 to 15th February 2005. This project commenced in October 2001 and was executed up to December 2004, with funds provided by UNICEF Australia and AusAID. The main objective of the project was to improve water and sanitation services in 200 schools and 600 villages, and to promote the WASHE basic needs for 72,000 people in four target districts in the Southern Province of Zambia, namely Choma, Siavonga, Gwembe and Namwala.
The prime purpose of the evaluation was "to examine the actual achievements of the project in relation to the stated objectives in the proposal, with a view to document the progress, experiences and lessons learnt, and identify the issues and challenges for the project." The evaluation aimed to assess the project's effectiveness, sustainability and relevance and draw lessons for future programmes.
The methodology used for this evaluation included both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Data collection methods included documents review, interviews with key informants, institutional mapping, SWOT analysis, interviews, checklists and focus group discussions. The use of triangulation and reference to project reports helped to validate information collected. At the district level, great emphasis was placed on participation from the project staff and beneficiaries.
Findings and Conclusions:
Measures to effect improvements on the existing levels of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene education amongst schools and their adjacent communities in the four districts by UNICEF Zambia, with assistance from UNICEF Australia and Australian Agency for Development, have yielded appreciable positive results. This is evident from the noticeable improvements that are now visibly evident in the areas, such as increased access to clean water, improved sanitation facilities and increased hygiene awareness.
Prior to the implementation of the project for example, the existing usage ratios of access to improved sanitation facilities in schools stood at 1:91 for boys and 1:80 for girls. The set target for the project was to attain a usage ratio of 1:40 for boys and 1:25 for girls. To date, the usage ratios currently stand at 1:50 for boys and 1:41 for girls. This is still lower than the envisaged set target; however, a substantial improvement has nevertheless been achieved. Access to adequate, safe and convenient water supply increased by 73.5% of the target beneficiaries, which includes schools and surrounding communities. Behavioral change has improved from 11% to 27% in the target districts; people are able to wash their hands at critical times. It can, therefore, be deduced that the interventions that were executed in this project were relevant and effective in as far as meeting the needs of the beneficiary communities was concerned.
There are many inherent factors that have been identified in this evaluation that are attributable to having had a negative effect on the overall project performance. Major ones include: mechanisms used to disburse project funds, erratic and sometimes erroneous material supply and delivery, insufficient involvement of the beneficiaries in the project planning process, ambiguous technical specifications for construction purposes, poor workmanship, inadequate monitoring, weak linkages and co-ordination amongst the players and poorly organized maintenance activities.
The hallmark of the WASHE concept is community management whose principles entail that communities are accountable, responsible, have control and authority over WASHE activities within their area, implying that there should be full and continuous involvement of the beneficiaries from inception to completion. This approach greatly enhances the aspect of "creation of a sense of ownership" amongst the beneficiaries which, in turn, makes the intervention(s) much more sustainable and increases its likelihood to continue well after donor support is ceased.
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WES - multithematic
Zambia Evaluation Association, AusAID