The Water Trust’s village program not only builds or repairs water points, but promotes sanitation and forms self-sustaining village institutions that can ensure the sustainability of the water point. With 45% of water points in rural Uganda not functioning, sustainability is a major challenge. To address this challenge, The Water Trust  forms community-based savings and credit groups called “self-help groups” that maintain a reserve fund for repairs while also providing access to savings and credit to communities that lack access to traditional banks or microfinance institutions. The group’s weekly meetings also provide an efficient platform for coaching and training community members to improve their household hygiene and community sanitation.

Lessons learned:
  • The year-one results (of 18-month program) show dramatic improvement in health, water sustainability, sanitation, and financial empowerment.
  • The weakest improvements were in handwashing with soap (12%), which improves from a very low level (2%), but significantly below target rates. We are prioritizing in the latter part of the program and considering different approaches.

 


The project invested in construction to ensure every school had a working water point, separate boys’ and girls’ latrines, and handwashing facilities. Notably, the project employed user-centered design of handwashing facilities, locating the facilities between the latrines and classrooms and “nudging” students to walk by the facilities with clear pathways. In addition, the project invested in teacher training and coaching to improve both school management and teaching practices to improve the maintenance and financial planning for facilities and student instruction on hygiene, including a competition for students to win small prizes for building handwashing facilities at home.

Lessons learned:
  • The year-one results show significant improvements in children’s hygiene behaviors, in addition to improvements in self-reported child health and school attendance.
  • The program was also successful in significantly improving household hygiene, although village rates are still below healthy levels.
  • Before promoting this program for greater scaleup, we have concerns about the schools’ capacity to finance repairs of their facilities. We are exploring options with the schools and government to identify a viable model.

 


We regularly monitor every water point constructed by The Water Trust since our founding. When necessary, we support communities to address maintenance issues beyond their means. Villages supported prior to 2016 primarily received support in building new water points and reducing open defecation. A report that illustrates the impact typical in these programs is available below.

2017 Evaluation Report

 

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If you’re interested in exploring more of our data and learning how we calculate the metrics above, visit our Reports and Data center to download the relevant data and documentation. In accordance with our transparency policy, we share all monitoring and evaluation data we collect (redacted of sensitive information). If you are interested in the empirical evidence base for water, sanitation, and hygiene, you can find more information in this comprehensive review of the literature published by the UK Department for International Development.