This paper summarises current donor thinking on measuring sector progress towards developing sustained water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, and the degree to which donors are embracing aspects of systems thinking in their approaches.
|Title||Monitoring results of complex systems change : measuring and assessing the changes fundamental to sustained WASH services |
|Publication Type||Briefing Note |
|Year of Publication||2016 |
|Authors||Battle, C |
|Secondary Title||Discussion note |
|Pagination||16 p. |
|Date Published||08/2016 |
|Place Published||London, UK |
|Publication Language||English |
This paper synthesises the findings of a WaterAid study into current donor thinking on measuring sector progress towards developing sustained water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, and the degree to which donors are embracing aspects of systems thinking in their approaches. It also offers recommendations for additional exploration and collaboration.
The paper distils inputs from the WASH departments or lead practitioners of 13 donors (including seven bilaterals and four multilaterals), including those directly or indirectly responsible for the design and implementation of donor investments. It covers design, measurement and monitoring approaches.
The following key messages emerge:
- Donors are attentive to the emerging discussion of complex systems thinking and the relevance of systems thinking to sustained development impact. They consider their approaches to be consistent with and supportive of systems development.
- No donor yet has a holistic systems approach that encompasses analysis, design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and learning.
- Each donor has entered the dialogue and applied approaches based on its own priorities, its understanding of 'systems', and the characteristics of its programming.
- Donors have been more focused on honing analysis, approaches and instruments for sustaining results than on monitoring and measuring their contribution to systems development.
- Access indicators remain important for domestic accountability, and any donor initiatives to measure and monitor contributions to country systems development will co-exist with existing quantitative results monitoring regimes.
- Proxy indicators are often used to measure the sustainability of WASH efforts. In some cases a functionality indicator is used as proxy, while others use indicators more indicative of demand, or the continued use of services within a target area.
- Many donors are now working to systematise and expand their thinking on monitoring system change. USAID has the most developed approach but only pilot applications in the field and none in WASH.
- Approaches to local systems and WASH service sustainability will always be context specific and each contribution to systems development is valuable.
- Evidence of the importance of country ownership and the validity of systems approaches can be better documented if there is greater harmonisation of efforts and approaches in-country. Experience with new government-to-government instruments and budget support should be shared and linked with organisational performance monitoring.
- There is a richness of experimentation and thought on systems thinking as a path to sustainable development. However, there is still a wide divergence in how 'systems' is perceived, whether among donors, between donors and partners, or (likely) between countries and development partners. Going forwards, efforts should be made to provide a platform for collaboration and exchange across the sector to ensure coherence.
|Citation Key||82079 |