Our review assessing the Department for International Development’s (DFID) results in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) found relatively good achievement on impact and results management, but weaker performance on sustainability. We awarded a green-amber score and made four recommendations.
Our review concluded that UK aid has made a significant contribution to improving WASH access in low-income countries, and that its claim of reaching 62.9 million people is based on sound evidence.
However, the review highlighted sustainability as an area of particular concern, with not enough being done to ensure that improved WASH access was becoming a permanent part of people’s lives. It concluded that DFID needs to do more to address long-term problems like water security, maintenance of infrastructure, strengthening local institutions so they can manage services, and changing behaviour.
It also found improvements are needed to ensure value for money – with a stronger focus on lifetime investment costs – and to target vulnerable people as well as hard-to-reach communities, in line with the Global Goals commitment to ‘leave no one behind’.
- DFID should improve the measurement and reporting of the development impact of its WASH programmes, particularly for vulnerable groups.
- DFID should embed sustainability in its WASH programming and measure how well this is implemented.
- DFID should act quickly on the results of its value for money research to develop a suitable framework for measuring value and guiding programming choices.
- DFID should improve how learning on WASH (including from its research programmes) is shared throughout the organisation.
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