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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2016 Somalia: Evaluation of the Performance of Solar Powered Water Systems in Somalia

Author: EED Advisory

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 3’.


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has been promoting the installation of solar powered water supply systems (SPWSS) in rural communities in Somalia since 2006. This is aimed at realizing the Fund’s vision in Somalia of developing and scaling up sustainable community-managed water supply systems governed by sound frameworks, and managed and overseen by a capable and dynamic private and public sector. The choice of solar technology is informed by i) solar pumps are suitable as most parts of Somalia enjoy up to 10-12 hours of sunlight per day throughout the year, ii) solar pumping has minimal recurrent costs iii) solar-powered systems have low operating and maintenance costs and iv) solar energy, being renewable, is environmentally friendly. Working with its partners, UNICEF has installed over 100 SPWSS sites across Somalia in various regions including Bari, Nugaal, Sool, Sanaag, Awdal, Togdheer, Woqooyi Galbbed, Hiraan, Gedo, Lower Shebelle, Benadir, Galgadud and Mudug.


The overall objective of this assignment is to assess progress towards achievement of sustainable community water supply through SPWSS with the goal of generating lessons and recommendations from efforts implemented so far. The evaluation assesses varied factors including: the efficiency, effectiveness and relevance of installed technology to the local context; factors to be considered in scaling up installation of solar powered supply systems; ability of communities to embrace and use the technology and; impact of installed infrastructure among others.


This evaluation is done through a three-step approach – i) a technical evaluation looking at the appropriateness of the installed hardware including sizing and installation; ii) sustainability and management structures evaluation assessing the systems in place, within and beyond UNICEF, to ensure long term sustainability of installed systems and; iii) impact evaluation looking at the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency impacts of the SPWSS project to the local social context.

Findings and Conclusions:

As a general conclusion, UNICEF has made significant progress towards its goal of achieving sustainable community water access through Solar Powered Water Supply Systems (SPWSS)  SPWSS sites have a functionality rate of 77%, with the highest functionality rate in Somaliland at 91% and lowest in Puntland at 56%. A large majority of those who use SPWSS sites (84%) depend solely on the sites for all their water needs.


The following are key recommendations for taking the SPWSS project to scale in Somalia: i) Adopt a template approach as opposed to a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to designing solar PV systems, that incorporates both Grundfos and Lorentz pumps (a suggested pump selection decision tool is provided in this evaluation); ii) Carry out well-specific power sizing calculations for efficient allocation of resources and to avoid over-pumping of wells/boreholes; iii) Implement a WASH-MIS system – a data collection and management system that allows targeted and synchronized data collection across the three regions; iv) Phase II of the project should be time bound with a well-defined logical framework that outlines the project’s specific objectives, inputs to realize these objectives, expected outcomes and impacts and indicators of success; v) Carry out targeted baseline and needs assessment studies that incorporate community engagement prior to implementation of Phase II activities; vi) UNICEF should use its position as a WASH sector leader to form and run a WASH-funds coordination body within the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility and at regional levels

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