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Monitoring the WASH sector: WASHwatch in action at AfricaSan

As Africa’s WASH stakeholders meet to discuss progress at the AfricaSan conference, key resources and data monitoring platform WASHwatch.org is officially launched. Tim Brewer, WASHwatch coordinator and WaterAid’s Policy Analyst – Monitoring & Accountability, introduces the platform’s value to the sector.

Blog

27 May 2015

The fourth AfricaSan – a gathering of key stakeholders in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector in Africa – is now well underway in Dakar, Senegal. Monitoring of progress and commitments has been a key topic of discussion in many sessions, as the sanitation sector recognises that progress on eThekwini commitments has been patchy at best, and that monitoring has been an area of particular weakness.

Where you can monitor WASH progress

What better moment to formally launch WASHwatch.org, and contribute to an improved monitoring programme for the next 15 years? WASHwatch.org is an online platform for monitoring the commitments governments and donors make to WASH – the primary source of information on WASH policy commitments and budgets.

The final eThekwini monitoring scores are available to compare on WASHwatch.org, alongside information about every country’s investments, and progress, in sanitation and water. For the first time, not only the top-level ‘traffic lights’ but the indicators upon which these are based, and the evidence related to those scores, are available for anyone to analyse or comment on.

Civil society colleagues in Ghana have used this tool to produce their own set of scores to compare with the official record. They argue that many of the scores are currently too high, highlighting that 3c – the systematic assessment of sector progress – is missing in the urban context, that the separate budget lines need to disaggregate hygiene, and that, although allocations are reported, spending is not, so real impact is missing.

Allowing for analysis

Other scores are reported to be correct, but feature important additional analysis about the difference between rural and urban indicators and the nature of progress, which will aid sector professionals and civil society to interpret the scores and improve progress.

End Water Poverty members have used the information provided by WASHwatch to produce a briefing paper describing the sanitation situation and highlighting important considerations for decision makers at AfricaSan.

As the conference continues, we will be encouraging delegates to consider how to strengthen monitoring and mutual accountability for the SDG period, to ensure that the step change we need can be achieved.

This must include publicly available, and usable, information on the status of the sector, and honest and open discussion about the necessary reforms. We look forward to using WASHwatch.org to inform and facilitate these discussions.

Tim Brewer is WaterAid’s Policy Analyst – Monitoring & Accountability. He tweets as @TimBrewer1 and you can read more of his blog posts here.

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