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Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS)

About the Project

Sustainable service delivery remains a daunting challenge in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector. Traditional efforts that have emphasized constructing WASH facilities and expanding service coverage have led to high rates of post-project failure. While it is widely recognized that new approaches are needed to address long-term maintenance and sustainability of WASH services, there has been limited exploration of what approaches work, what benefit they bring to sustainability, and how they can be applied effectively.

LINC and a consortium of partners are breaking new ground in the USAID Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS) Learning Partnership, a $15.3 million activity being implemented from 2016 to 2021. The partnership seeks to generate and apply evidence on how systems approaches can improve the sustainability of WASH programs. This activity tests new ideas, approaches, and tools to overcome barriers to sustainability in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda.

With the overall leadership of the University of Colorado Boulder and lead learning partner Environmental Incentives (EI), LINC is supporting three main activities:

  • In Ethiopia, LINC is working alongside partners IRC Netherlands and Tetra Tech to foster learning and collaboration among local stakeholders in the WASH sector. LINC is conducting a series of organizational network analyses to aid local stakeholders in designing and monitoring their initiatives. Additionally, we are applying network strengthening methodologies to support the health and resilience of local coalitions over time.
  • In Cambodia, LINC worked with WaterSHED Asia to design a collective action approach with local stakeholders in support of the national rural water and sanitation strategy. Through a participatory process, we conducted an organizational network analysis (ONA) that generated common understanding, discussion, and coordinated actions in support of sector-wide goals.
  • Across multiple countries, LINC is leading research on the application and use of network analysis to achieve goals in sustainable systems change. These efforts are capturing learning on how to best design and deploy network analyses in diverse settings.

LINC recently completed network analyses in Ethiopia and Cambodia. Read the research briefs and full reports at the links below:

Consortium partners identify and map out issues related to sustainability of WASH services in Ethiopia

Latest SWS News

Resources

The July 10, 2018 issue of USAID’s Water Currents newsletter, dedicated to “WASH and the Systems Systems Approach” features several examples of LINC’s work under SWS and other projects.  This includes our work applying systems mapping, network analysis and collective action to complex WASH problems, as well as resources such as our Systems Thinking User’s Guide and Systems White Paper to assist practitioners to apply this approaches. Learn more.

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