Towards a meaningful evaluation for project staff and villagers
The Uganda Participatory Poverty Assessment Process (UPPAP) is an initiative of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MFPED). Its overall aim is to bring the voices and perspectives of poor people into policy formulation, planning and implementation by central and local governments. A first participatory poverty assessment (PPA1) was carried out in 1998/99 in 36 research sites in nine districts. Its findings were used to inform policymaking. This book details the second PPA (PPA2) which has now been implemented, with two main aims: to deepen the understanding of poverty and poverty trends gained in the first PPA; and to investigate people's experiences with selected government policies. Research was carried out in 60 research sites in 12 districts. Work was undertaken in three phases, or 'cycles', between November 2001 and May 2002. The research was undertaken by seven partner organisations - NGOs or research institutions - working with local researchers, usually from the district administrations, and the overall coordinating and implementing agency was Oxfam GB. The book includes sections on: the Uganda participatory poverty assessment process; poverty, vulnerability and poverty trends; livelihoods and the plan for the modernisation of agriculture; environment and poverty; health and poverty; water and sanitation; education; taxation; and good governance and poverty reduction.
This publication responds to the demand for guidance on how to conduct training of community-led total sanitation (CLTS) facilitators. The fast spread of CLTS to now over 40 countries means that the demand for good facilitators and trainers of facilitators currently outstrips supply. As CLTS requires a special kind of facilitation, it also calls for a different type of training of facilitators. Training always has to be hands-on, in real time, through triggering in communities and lead to emergence of open defecation free (ODF) villages.
The guide includes much useful information on how to organise and conduct CLTS training of facilitators, as well as how to follow-up, and thereby hopes to spread good practice. It is intended for immediate use by trainers around the world. It will also be helpful for those who manage and supervise trainers and facilitators in terms of giving them insight into the different ways CLTS facilitation and training work, allowing them to appreciate the flexibility, specific support needs and special ways of working that CLTS entails.
The Trainers’ Guide encourages trainers to innovate as appropriate and to add to the core principles and practices outlined in this manual.
This paper explores the idea of learning from failure in the sanitation sector. The recent trend of ‘admitting failure’ in aid and development forces sanitation practitioners, researchers and policymakers to ask if we can and should address failure more openly in order to improve our work.
The ideas in this paper developed from discussions at a workshop on ‘learning from failure’ convened by the UK Sanitation Community of Practice (SanCoP) designed to kickstart this debate. We first discuss the concept of failure itself and identify different approaches to learning from failure relating to sanitation.
These include acknowledging past failures in order to learn and adapt, and planning for ‘safe’ future failures through deliberate experimentation and innovation. We also argue that a series of further steps are required: understanding relevant previous approaches to learning from failure in the sector; recognising different types of failure; seeking different actors’ perspectives on failure; and framing the debate about failure constructively rather than negatively.
In the second part of the paper we examine different practical examples of how actors in the sanitation sector have tried to learn from failure, to assess how this happened and what changes resulted. In the final section of the paper we conclude with suggestions for how individuals and organisations working in sanitation and international development more widely can learn from failure. We also propose SanCoP itself as one example of a ‘safe space’ in which people can meet to discuss and learn from failure.
As a sector, we want to be better at reaching the unreached and not only ensure that the rights of people who may be disadvantaged are met, but also make better use of their skills, knowledge and contributions as part of sanitation programmes globally.
A well-facilitated Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programme that proactively considers and involves disadvantaged people has been shown to have many benefits. Absence of such programmes can often have negative impacts and make it difficult to sustain open defecation free status.
This issue of the Sanitation Learning Hub's Frontiers of Sanitation looks at who should be considered potentially disadvantaged, how they can effectively participate, and how to address diverse needs in order to make processes and outcomes sustainable and inclusive. Using a range of examples from Global Sanitation Fund programmes that were part of a recent study on equality and non-discrimination, it explores the challenges that may occur and concludes with suggested good practices that can strengthen processes to the benefit of all.
Developed primarily for UNICEF staff and its partners, these field notes can be used to learn about specific aspects of Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) programmes in different contexts. For example, learning on CATS monitoring was captured in the Zambia and Mali cases, while the Philippines and Nepal have good experiences on strengthening sub-national governance for sanitation.
The Haiti and Mali cases meanwhile capture lessons on improving and maintaining CATS effectiveness (defined as the number of communities ‘triggered’ that went on to become open defecation free [ODF]). The issue of what happens beyond ODF certification is addressed in Mali and in the Philippines.
In addition, application of components of Social Norms Theory to strengthen CATS programming was also captured in some of the cases – notably in Nepal and Zambia. Experiences on implementing CATS after humanitarian crises can be learnt from the Philippines and Haiti. With regards to equity, Mali has experience in working to leave no community behind, while Nepal has developed a programme that resulted in mobilising support for the most vulnerable households.
This blog originally appeared on the Institute of Development Studies website.
Do we really need debiasing, yet another word? Yes, unless anyone can improve on it, because we need a word to describe a rigorous discipline we development professionals need for grounded realism. This has been coming on me slowly. But now explorations and ‘aha!’ moments in India have accumulated and combined into an epiphany. For me, things will never be the same again. Let me explain.
The biases of rural development tourism are old news. These are biases in brief rural visits from urban centres. They were a collective discovery and articulation at IDS in the early 1980s. They have now receded into the mists of history and been largely forgotten. Few in later generations of development professionals have heard of them. But with rapid change, they are now more relevant than ever.
The biases are spatial (main tarmac road, roadside, accessible from an urban centre…) , project (special villages and places where there are projects, good things to show, contacts…..), person (males, elite, adults, government and NGO staff….), seasonal (during the dry season, not the rains…), professional (questions and curiosity limited to specialised professional mindsets and interests) and diplomatic (being tactful, not inquiring about sensitive subjects) and (an addition since the 1980s) security (confined to places considered safe, and limited to those accessible in daylight….).
The biases interlock and reinforce each other to exclude those people who are most remote, powerless, vulnerable, poor, stigmatised, discriminated against – those whom the SDGs are not to leave behind. With the intensifying capital trap – being stuck in a capital city or urban centre by meetings, emails, visitors, demands for accountability, reporting, and the like – the biases combine now more wickedly than ever.
And there is a new distorting influence to add: competitive campaigns. This is high profile campaigns in which districts and organisations compete to achieve, and to be seen to have achieved, more than others. This last bias is striking with the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin in India, the impressively massive and hugely ambitious campaign driven by political commitment and priority which seeks to make rural India open defecation free by 2 October 2019.
Systemically, with almost every brief rural visit, there is a special reason for where the visitor is taken, who is met, what is said and what is shown. This is most brazen with atypical model communities such as the Millennium villages in African countries. It is also manifest in visits to successful projects, or where the Government or an NGO works or has contacts, somewhere easily accessible and so on. This leads to a scattered archipelago of islands of special cases and contacts that are seen, studied, quoted, and then quoted again and again back and forth by visitors, with the authority of their personal experience of rural, or for that matter urban, reality.
Visiting these islands is better than not visiting at all. But it results not in representative ground truth but in a take-off through repetition into sustainably biased myth. The expanses of sea between the scattered islands are overlooked, unvisited and unexplored, but are many times larger, and more typical, than the islands. Even those who demand representative rigour in statistics are themselves through such visits systemically vulnerable to grossly unrepresentative views of reality. And all this is accentuated when there are competitive target-driven campaigns.
We need a systematic, timely and cost-effective approach offsetting the biases and for finding and exploring the seas between the islands. Here is what, again and again, I have found works astonishingly well, and far better than one might suppose.
Using this approach here is a tiny sample of what I have stumbled on in India. All happened to be in States or Districts that had been declared open defecation free (ODF). Except for one that was affluent and exceptional being on a main road, all were very far from ODF.
The point of these is not to denigrate the programme but to illustrate how the vast sea can differ from the scattered archipelago normally visited.
So let me invite all, yes all, development professionals who see this to look in the mirror and be wary of visits which systemically reinforce misperceptions and generate and sustain myths. Ring fence days for you to ground truth through de-biasing. It is fulfilling, informative, fascinating and fun, to explore, to meet people casually, to wander, observe, ask, listen and gain new insights. Every single de-biasing visit I have done has made me wonder – will it happen again? Will I learn anything new this time? Will there be aha moments? Or will this be a wasted day? And every time, every single time, I have been startled and provoked by unexpected revelations. This has always happened. The insights have been intense and memorable, and the implications for policy, practice and research significant. The use of time has been extraordinarily cost-effective.
So let me challenge all fellow professionals who are engaged with rural or urban development – in government organisations, NGOs, training and research institutes, academics, the media, and funding agencies – all who have the scope to do so – to de-bias. Let me challenge all who can to encourage or require others in their organisations to do likewise. Escape the cognitive trap and help your colleagues to escape theirs. Be a devil. Straight away ring-fence a de-biasing day for yourself. Be systematically rigorous. De-bias, enjoy and tell others what you did and what you learnt.
Inspired to take up the challenge? For a useful reminder, download and print A systematic approach to debiasing, instructions from Robert Chambers
This paper focuses on an Immersive Research Approach designed by Praxis, the Sanitation Learning Hub at IDS and WaterAid whereby researchers lived in villages in recently declared open defecation free districts, to gain an in-depth understanding of ground realities and community perspectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin.
The study shed light on key aspects and dynamics influencing local ownership, behaviour change and construction quality, and also revealed multifaceted exclusion processes. The immersive approach helped build trust with villagers and allowed a unique insight into the SBM in its ‘real life’ context, necessary to explore hidden dynamics and diverse perspectives, and understand the complexities involved.
Despite some practical challenges, undertaking immersive studies and experiences would be beneficial for improving the Swachh Bharat Mission and other sanitation programmes. The approach could be adopted pragmatically, but always respecting some basic principles and ethical behaviour.
The ‘Sustainable Total Sanitation (STS) Nigeria project –implementation, learning, research, and influence on practice and policy’, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aimed to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, inclusion and sustainability of total sanitation approaches for the poor and underserved in Ekiti and Enugu States in Nigeria, and contribute to wider national and regional good practice.
Sanitation Marketing, also known as ‘SanMark’, is an emerging field that combines social and commercial marketing approaches to scale up demand and supply of improved sanitation facilities. It involves a more comprehensive demand and supply strengthening strategy drawing on social and commercial marketing as well as behaviour change communication approaches.
As part of the Sustainable Total Sanitation (STS) project, WaterAid Nigeria, in collaboration with community members in two states (Enugu and Ekiti)developed an affordable, accessible and durable sanitation product named the Water Easy Toilet (WET).
The project also aimed to generate learning on another sanitation approach – Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS). CLTS is one popular approach to increasing sanitation coverage. CLTS works with an entire community to identify the negative effects of poor sanitation, especially the practice of open defecation, and empowers them to collectively find solutions.
Recent debates on ensuring equity and inclusion in sanitation and hygiene provision in the Global South have begun to explore the needs of excluded groups of individuals. Yet, the sanitation and hygiene needs of perimenopausal (PM) women, who are making the transition to menopause, are neglected.
This study explores this new field of research and aims to provide recommendations to meet the sanitation and hygiene needs of PM women. Opening the doors to these needs warrants the use of adaptive, participative, feminist methodologies, placing PM women at the centre of the study to enable them to share their experiences. This research uses a six-stage case study methodology: a literature review, a phenomenological review, research design, case study selection, data collection, and data analysis.
This research identified several sanitation and hygiene needs as crucial to PM women’s health. This research concludes that the hidden sanitation and hygiene needs of PM women require participatory techniques to reveal them. Relationships with certain people allow PM women to discuss and meet the sanitation and hygiene needs to a degree. PM symptoms vary in nature, between women and day to day. This research demonstrates that the sanitation and hygiene sector needs to become more attentive to bathing and laundry issues overall, learning from the needs of PM women.
Looking at 50 programmes that used support mechanisms, this rapid review emphasises the importance of monitoring, evaluating and knowledge-sharing processes in building an evidence base for facilitating equitable rural sanitation outcomes.
The benefits of conventional rural sanitation programming and service delivery are often not spread equally, and risk leaving disadvantaged groups behind. Greater attention needs to be paid to these groups to achieve adequate and equitable access to sanitation for all, and an end to open defecation.
This issue of the Sanitation Learning Hub's Frontiers of Sanitation (the second in a two-part series) examines support mechanisms designed to help disadvantaged groups access and use hygienic toilets as part of efforts to drive more equitable rural sanitation outcomes. It covers the latest thinking on the opportunities and challenges of support mechanisms, and explores what works remains to be done.
The issue uses a broad definition of ‘support’ for creating equitable outcomes. Although financial and physical subsidies often come to mind, a broader practical understanding of support needs to encompass both ‘hardware’ mechanisms and ‘software’ approaches, as well as various combinations of the two.
Translations in Portuguese, French and Khmer are available via the Sanitation Learning Hub website.