The Power of Incentives: Lessons Learned from Designing and Implementing Results-Based WASH Programs

The Power of Incentives: Lessons Learned from Designing and Implementing Results-Based WASH Programs. by  by Elynn Walter, Guy Howard, Jan Willem Rosenboom, Jeff Albert, Susan Davis, Yi Wei. WASHfunders blog, November 2017.

This week we highlight lessons by UK Department for International Development (DFID)Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationiDE  and Thrive Networks in designing and implementing  innovative results-based WASH programs.

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Source: Thrive Networks

On September 20th in New York City, Improve International and IRC convened a conversation on innovations in grantee-donor relationships in WASH programs hosted by the Voss Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Society at their offices next to the Central Park Zoo. This week on the blog we summarize key takeaways from the meeting.

Payment by results
Guy Howard from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) presented on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene results programme. WASH Results is a 12-country payment by results program involving three supplier contracts. Payments are made by DFID following independent verification of results achievement. The program is supported by a monitoring, verification and evaluation component which provides independent verification of suppliers’ results achievement, and includes an evaluation component including a randomized control trial on program sustainability.

Background
DFID wanted to quickly reach 6 to 7 million people with water access, and so needed to expand its supplier base (previously, 60% of their water programs had been implemented by UNICEF).  This was the first time DFID tried payment by results at this scale.

Benefits
NGOs started using robust hybrid monitoring systems that were input- and output-based, with third party verification. All suppliers worked well, and liked this method.  PBR has expanded to other programs.

Challenges 
Organizations need to have an asset base to take on risk because they only get paid at the end. Most large non-profits do have this, but it is set aside for contingency funding. DFID’s partners had to negotiate with their boards to be able to access these funds. Few people have the skills (WASH and auditing) to do verification. Also, because the results are time-limited they need proxies to measure the strength and sustainability of systems.

Read the complete article.

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