Assessing DFID’s results in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

UK aid has reached 62.9 million people with water, sanitation and hygiene interventions over five years, but must do more to ensure these improvements are sustainable.

Score: Green/Amber
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 24 May 2016
  3. Type: Impact review
  4. Subject: Global health
  5. Assessment: Green/Amber
  6. Location: Mozambique, Zimbabwe
  7. Lead commissioner: Richard Gledhill
  8. SDGs covered:Good health and wellbeing, Quality education, Gender equality, Clean water and sanitation


Over the 2011 to 2015 period, the UK government set itself the goal of providing 60 million people with clean water, improved sanitation or hygiene promotion interventions (a type of development assistance known collectively as WASH). In 2015 it reported that it had exceeded this target, reaching 62.9 million people.

We conducted an impact review of the Department for International Development’s (DFID) WASH portfolio to identify whether its results claims were credible, and to explore whether programmes were doing all they could to maximise impact and value for money.

For this review we awarded DFID a green-amber rating, recognising the impressive results, but also underscoring the need to better maximise the impact and sustainability of UK aid in this important sector. We made four recommendations for improvements.

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals relevant to this review are:

  • Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good health and well-being
  • Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality education
  • Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender equality
  • Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation



Published 9 October 2015

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 24 May 2016

Government response

Published 15 June 2016

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 29 June 2016

ICAI follow-up

Published 21 June 2017