Lessons learnt from WASH action research with practitioners in four countries, 2016. IRC. Authors: Snel, M., Verhoeven, J.
Having local researchers work with local stakeholders on the development of monitoring tools has been an important success of the Action Research for Learning programme.
This three-year initiative (2013–2015) was set up to improve the effectiveness of existing hygiene promotion and community empowerment programmes of selected local Dutch WASH Alliance partners in four countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda.
Local NGOs in the four countries have been supported to develop a monitoring framework with indicators for their specific activity. Tools such as household questionnaires and key informant interview guides have been jointly developed to do data collection on the indicators. After the actual data collection, analyses have been done, sense has been made of the data and lessons have been drawn up out of the outcomes.
The monitoring activities have helped local NGOs to improve the programmes they are working in:
In Ethiopia Amref Health Africa constructs public toilets and showers in places where many people gather as one way to increase access to sanitation, water and hygiene. It trained local youth to manage and operate the showers and toilets.
Because of Action Research for Learning, local partners started to meet with the washhouse youth management committee and health extension workers to reflect on progress and consider questions: ‘Is monthly revenue sufficient to cover the monthly operation costs? Are the showers being kept clean?
Are people in rural areas washing their hands after defecation and before handling food?’ It became clear in this process that extra training in managing the toilet and shower blocks was needed.
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