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

Read the approach paper

Our approach

This review assesses the contribution of UK aid to achieving sustained access to clean drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene (WASH). As an impact review, it generates insights about the level of results achieved across the portfolio, their credibility and sustainability.

The review examines the results in WASH contributed by UK aid and the quality of the evidence underlying those results. This includes a close look at the aggregate results set out in the Department for International Development’s (DFID) Results Framework 2011-2015, the quality of evidence behind and at specific claims to impact made as part of selected WASH programmes.

DFID set itself an ambitious target of reaching 60 million people with WASH interventions in the period 2011 to 2015. In its annual report 2014-15, DFID reported that it had exceeded this target by 2.9 million.

With the wider reckoning on Millennium Development Goals achievement now taking place, 2015-16 was a good time to assess the validity of DFID’s results claim and to influence how DFID responds to the proposed WASH target in the Sustainable Development Goals. Success in WASH is not only considered important in its own right but is pivotal in achieving other development goals, including child mortality, maternal health, nutrition, gender equality and poverty reduction.

Review questions

  1. Impact: What has been the impact of DFID’s WASH programming in the 2011-2015 DFID’s Results Framework period?
  2. Effectiveness (results measurement): Are the aggregate WASH results reported under DFID’s Results Framework based on credible evidence?
  3. Sustainability: Has the impact from DFID’s WASH programming proved sustainable?



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