Posts byNick Dickinson

WASHNote is led by Nicolas Dickinson. He is an associate at IRC and has been supporting country-led monitoring and evaluation of water and sanitation services at national and district/municipal levels where government, civil society and private sector set the monitoring agenda and the questions to be answered. In addition, he has worked on providing training for decentralized data collection, data processing, and life-cycle costing. He evaluated mobile-enabled water, sanitation and energy services for the Mobiles for Development Utilities Innovation Fund as a Grant Panel member and supports the commissioning and procurement of technology for governments and the WASH sector. Along with his passion for the use of evidence, he worked on developing data exchange and technology standards (WPDx) and tools for service providers, governments, NGOs and financiers.

Are national WASH M&E system important for accountability and transparency?

When policy and the roles and responsibilities of service providers and government are unclear, it is difficult for civil society to advocate  and tackle issues of accountability. Who is ultimately responsible for ensuring basic and safely managed WASH services, in rural areas and small towns were clear contractual arrangements are not necessarily well defined or sustainable? When these are clear, are there agreed measures of service performance and who is measuring and communicating results? It is crucial to hold parties accountable for their actions and promises.

Sometimes civil society may fill the evidence gap but then the agreed level of performance becomes a moving target. Government and service providers may choose to discount the methods used and results on the basis that they are not ‘approved’ or even ‘wrong’.

Establishing a national WASH M&E system is complex  and it requires clarifying a matrix of roles and responsibilities so that it is clear who is reporting what and why. Using and communicating results is an important step in holding sector stakeholders accountable .

Indeed, for change and improvement at all levels, there is a need to engage in dialogue around sector performance in WASH service delivery.