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Published on: 02/05/2012

Zimbabwe's water and sanitation coverage significantly declined in the last decade as a result of inadequate financial resources, socio-economic challenges, weakened institutions and deteriorating standards of essential services offered by local government. From 2006-2010 the ZIMWASH project aimed to contribute to the strengthening of capacities of government and civil society, and provide sustainable & integrated water, sanitation and hygiene services for the rural poor, especially those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe. The project was initiated by Unicef Zimbabwe, the Institute for Water and Sanitation Development (IWSD), IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre and Mvuramanzi Trust.

Unforeseen developments in the initial project monitoring logframe, and others beyond control of the intervention, took the projects away from their initial design.

However, as in most cases, the projects did not unfold exactly as initially designed. Instead, there was a bumpy road, with developments unforseen in the initial project monitoring logframe and others beyond control of the intervention. Factors such as hyperinflation, the instable political situation and  a cholera epidemic, influenced the course of the ZimWASH project, leading to delays and change of focus, but also posing challenges of financing, and practical cooperation between the project partners.

Process Documentation in ZIMWASH

In 2011, IRC and the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development published a report about the process of implementing ZIMWASH. Process documentation was done though the review of project documents and the collection of change stories, though district and community level interviews and district level workshops in each of the 6 ZimWASH districts. The synthesis report presents the road travelled, providing an picture of the starting point of the project (the WASH sector in Zimbabwe and its challenges at the start of the project), the original roadmap of the ZimWASH Project, the changing context and then focusing on the road taken and the results at district and community level.

Process documentation was envisaged to be an important element of the ZIMWASH project and to support the achievement and monitoring of the objectives of the project in various ways: as systematic qualitative monitoring of the outcomes of our efforts, to complement conventional monitoring as a way to structure learning and reflection with our main stakeholders at community, district and national level, and feed‐back lessons learnt into the implementation activities to help the team to document and understand how the change process is evolving and which factors may enable or hamper change

At the start of the project, a theory of change was defined in terms of a number of domains of change at community and district level. In order to guide the process documentation exercise, desired changes in stakeholder behaviour, or “outcomes”, were identified within each domain of change. Besides documenting changes on the pre-defined outcomes, the process documentation effort also reveals a few additional changes which resulted from the project.

The document tells a comprehensive story of both success and challenges and is an interesting read.  There is also a 15 min video on “The road we have travelled.”


The road travelled and where it has taken us; ZimWASH Process Documentationat district and community level for the period 2006 – 2010 Synthesis report June 2011 by Marieke Adank (IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre) and Marjory Dzapata (Institute of Water and Sanitation Development, IWSD)

For background information Process documentation and communication in ZimWASH see Smits, S. (2006) Process documentation and communication in ZimWASH, Background note and overall description of the approach, ZimWASH Project


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