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Published on: 12/04/2018

The SMARTerWASH initiative (2013-2016) established a system for nationwide and continuous monitoring of WASH services in rural communities and small towns in Ghana. Data was collected in 119 out of a total of 216 districts in 6 of Ghana’s 10 regions.  All handpumps, community managed piped schemes, public standpipes connected to these piped schemes, management structures (Water and Sanitation Management Teams) and service authorities (district assemblies) in these districts were mapped and assessed against the national monitoring framework developed by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA).

IRC has produced a series of four videos about the work and lessons learnt during SMARTerWASH. The videos are based on interviews with staff from CWSA, district assembles, IRC Ghana and World Vision. The interviewees talk about the objectives, implementation and impact of the project, and about how the monitoring data was used. Read the full transcript.

In the first video “What the SMARTerWASH project tried to address and how”, staff from CWSA and district assemblies emphasised the need to shift the focus from providing infrastructure to providing services. This requires, they say, up-to-date information on the functionality of water systems.

The second video “The process of the SMARTerWASH project” highlights the use of Akvo FLOW to collect monitoring data and making it accessible “in the cloud”. Interviewees mention that standardised ways of data capture and training are essential in setting up the monitoring system.

“What the data told us and what we did” is the title of the third video. Baseline data revealed that 30% of facilities were non-functional at any point in time while most communities had no Water and Sanitation Management Team (WSMT). The availability of this data led to better informed district planning. In the words of IRC Ghana Country Director Vida Duti: “We are beginning to build some collective action around addressing the issues on sustainable water services”.

The final video “Doing things better than before” reflects on the impact that SMARTerWASH has had. Mohammed Ibrahim Adoko says the project helped CWSA realise “that it is not just all about adding up to existing investments [but] also about taking very good care of whatever investments are already there”. Monitoring is “the soul of the water system”, says his colleague Ofori Macarthy. Indeed, several interviewees agree how important it is that monitoring is sustained.


This initiative was a Public Private Partnership (PPP) involving the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), IRC, Akvo, Water for People and SKyFox, with support of the beneficiary Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in six administrative regions of Ghana: the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Brong-Ahafo, Central and Western Regions. Total expenditure on the project amounted to 3,764,124 Euros provided by the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with matching funds from the RVO (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland) of the Government of the Netherlands.

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