Sector Results and Learning:
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

This WASH Sector Results and Learning page is a repository of evidence generated by all MCC-funded WASH interventions. To promote learning and inform future program design, this page captures monitoring data from key common indicators, showcases recently released evaluations, and includes all agency lessons from WASH evaluations completed to-date.

What Do We Invest In?

MCC has spent $1.04 billion in WASH interventions through September 30, 2020. These interventions fall into the following categories: water supply, sanitation and/or wastewater, drainage, or training in hygiene and/or related topics, and are often complemented by investments in policy and institutional reform.

Water Infrastructure

These programs address inadequacies in water supply, quality, or access by investing in water, sanitation, or wastewater infrastructure, and supporting utility strengthening.

Sanitation and/or Wastewater Infrastructure

These programs address inadequate access to sanitation by investing in sanitation and/or wastewater infrastructure and supporting water utility strengthening.

Hygiene & Other Training

These programs complement infrastructure investments and aim to improve hygiene and sanitary practices around water collection, storage, and use and the safe disposal of waste.

Drainage Infrastructure

These programs address excessive economic loss caused by flooding by building water drainage infrastructure.

What Have We Completed So Far?

MCC and its country partners develop and tailor Monitoring and Evaluation Plans to each particular program and country context. Within these country-specific plans, MCC uses common indicators where appropriate to standardize measurement and reporting within certain sectors. See below for a subset of common indicators that summarize implementation achievements across all MCC WASH investments as of December 2020.

12,386

people trained in hygiene and sanitary best practices

1,191

water points constructed

21,776

temporary jobs created in water and sanitation construction

What Have We Achieved?

MCC commissions independent evaluations, conducted by third-party evaluators, for every project it funds. These evaluations hold MCC and country partners accountable for the achievement of intended results and produce evidence and learning to inform future program decision-making. They investigate the quality of project implementation, the extent to which the project objective and other targeted outcomes were achieved, and the cost-effectiveness of the project. The graphs below summarize the composition and status of MCC’s independent evaluations in the WASH sector as of February 2021. Read on to see highlights of newly published interim and final evaluations. Follow the evaluation links to see the status of all planned, ongoing, and completed evaluations in the sector and to access the reports, summaries, surveys, and data sets.

Go to our List of Evaluations to see the status of MCC’s WASH sector evaluations

Recently Published Evaluations

Woman harvesting onions on the Di Perimeter

April 7, 2021 | Burkina Faso Compact

Improving irrigation and land tenure in Burkina Faso

Agricultural incomes improved, but economic benefits fell short of expectations

  • Evaluation Type: Multiple
  • Evaluation Status: Final

MCC’s $480 million Burkina Faso Compact (2009-2014) included the $142 million Agricultural Development Project (ADP) to support increased agriculture production, incomes, and land tenure. The ADP financed the construction of a 2,246 hectare irrigated perimeter in the Di Department, supported improved water resource management, and provided farmers with training, irrigable land, and land titles. The activities were based on the theory that reliable access to irrigation, productive land, and secure land use rights would allow farmers to farm year-round, diversify into higher-value crops, and obtain higher profits and incomes.

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

Go to our Evaluation Brief page to see all completed WASH sector evaluations

What Have We Learned from Our Results?

To link the evidence produced by the independent evaluations with MCC practice, project staff produce an MCC Learning document at the close of each interim and final evaluation to capture practical lessons for programming and evaluation. Use the filters below to find lessons relevant to your evidence needs.

  • MCC should consider the suitability of decentralized solutions to drainage in urban centers, rather than retrofitting large backbone drainage infrastructure in dense urban centers, which can become clogged with solid waste.

    MCC should consider the suitability of decentralized solutions to drainage in urban centers, rather than retrofitting large backbone drainage infrastructure in dense urban centers, which can become clogged with solid waste. Setting up a solid waste utility was not part of the program at the inception of the compact. MCC was compelled to tackle a whole new sector because the operation and maintenance of the large river-like compact-funded drains was dependent on an alternative for the residents to throw their trash. The complexity of creating and operating the solid waste utility was beyond what the compact program originally set out to do, and despite some successes (such as passage of the law authorizing the creation of the solid waste utility), tackling this new sector was too ambitious. The key lesson to take away is to think creatively about solutions to problems (i.e. flooding) that do not themselves spur yet more problems that must be solved (i.e. tackling the solid waste sector). There are other decentralized solutions that may be worth exploring for drainage rather than the default engineering solution of big backbone central drains. This lesson can be extrapolated to water and sanitation as well through exploring the feasibility of point-of-use or consumer-centric solutions rather than large centralized treatment systems. The evaluation notes that holistic design, complementary investments and contractor due diligence are necessary to obtain the full benefits of water, sanitation, and drainage infrastructure.

  • MCC should undertake greater efforts during compact development to conduct screening and due diligence on a potential pipeline of projects that would be eligible for grant funding.

    MCC should undertake greater efforts during compact development to conduct screening and due diligence on a potential pipeline of projects that would be eligible for grant funding. During implementation of the Innovation Grant Program (IGP), significant time and effort was expended in administering a process to identify and award grants to qualified organizations, with each grant cycle requiring nearly one year to compete the process leading up to the signing of grant agreements. In addition, the evaluation revealed that many of the grantees ultimately selected lacked the organizational capacity to quickly launch their interventions in a way that met MCA-Zambia’s requirements for initial disbursements. MCA-Zambia and its grant facility manager subsequently provided extensive capacity building to several grantees in financial management, accounting, reporting, monitoring and evaluation and other areas – using up added time and resources that were not originally planned for as part of the design of the program. In planning for future grant facilities, it is therefore important to assess the likely pool of applicants and eligible grantees working in the specific technical intervention areas envisioned under the broader grant facility, and to determine their capacity to develop and implement well-targeted and effective interventions. Where their financial and administrative capacity is found to be limited, MCC should carefully consider the appropriateness of the grant facility modality for the project. When there are specific advantages to working with grantees with lower capacity (such as their local knowledge and understanding of hard-to reach populations), MCC should set aside sufficient time and resources for technical assistance in order to meet requirements for effective oversight and administration. MCC will incorporate this lesson by requiring more rigorous screening and selection mechanisms for future grant programs, with greater emphasis on capacity. Where necessary, grant programs will provide resources for capacity building of grantees in key areas.

  • MCC should standardize a broad set of common approaches and requirements for the design and implementation of grant facilities, including a requirement to engage with a facility manager for oversight and implementation of grant programs.

    MCC should standardize a broad set of common approaches and requirements for the design and implementation of grant facilities, including a requirement to engage with a facility manager for oversight and implementation of grant programs. Under the IGP, the engagement of a grant facility manager proved to be an asset to the program in light of the various challenges, delays, and bottlenecks that arose throughout the start-up and implementation of the facility. In particular, the facility manager was able to lead in the provision of capacity building to grantees supported by the program, and to augment MCA-Zambia resources and efforts in responding to issues as they arose throughout the implementation of each grantee’s project. Despite this strength, some aspects of implementation suffered due to misunderstandings between the facility manager and grantees, and a high administrative burden on both MCA-Zambia and MCC staff – challenges that resemble those documented across several MCC-funded grant programs. For instance, the evaluation noted that there were disagreements between the facility manager and various grantees in verifying the achievement of key milestones, contributing to delays in disbursements and complicating engagement with beneficiary communities. Therefore, greater effort is required to identify and implement strategies to streamline the design and implementation of grant facilities. MCC will incorporate this lesson by developing a standard operations manual for grant facilities, and a standard terms of reference for a grant facility manager.

  • Clearly define key objectives of grant programs, and align these with strategies and guidance for implementation that is conveyed to program stakeholders.

    Clearly define key objectives of grant programs, and align these with strategies and guidance for implementation that is conveyed to program stakeholders. The rollout of the IGP was explicitly conveyed to potential applicants and beneficiaries as an initiative that intended to be “pro-poor” in its focus, including objectives aimed at increasing access among the poor to water and sanitation services, expanding incomegenerating opportunities for participants, and incorporating women and vulnerable groups into its programs. While these objectives were incorporated as part of the scoring of grant applications, the evaluation found that prospective grantees expressed confusion over how these features should be specifically demonstrated in their projects, with some having difficulty showing that their interventions effectively target the poor. MCA stakeholders also noted that the relative weighting of the pro-poor criteria changed over time during the selection process, and may have had tradeoffs with other scoring criteria that were used to rate proposals. In addition, the pro-poor emphasis during much of the outreach and selection process raised expectations among some stakeholders that the program would award grants primarily to smaller, local organizations or to the poor specifically, leading to disillusionment among some groups with the announcement of final grantees. Therefore, it is important that objectives such as focusing benefits on the poor or vulnerable groups be coherently defined, agreed between MCC and MCA, and communicated, and that key details for selecting and implementing projects are designed to reflect and reinforce the stated objectives.

  • Build on efforts to integrate gender equality into grant activities and ensure women’s representation among beneficiaries and workers under grant programs.

    Build on efforts to integrate gender equality into grant activities and ensure women’s representation among beneficiaries and workers under grant programs. A key objective of the IGP was to provide significant access by women and vulnerable groups to the program and its benefits – an aim that was conveyed widely to stakeholders during early outreach efforts, and encoded into the selection process. Women ultimately comprised over 50 percent of the total number of beneficiaries of IGP, although they constituted just 31 percent of the workers holding temporary jobs created through the grant programs. In addition, the evaluation found less than half the incomes associated with jobs created under IGP went to women, suggesting they often missed out on the economic benefits of the program. During implementation, the evaluation cited instances of grantees striving to increase employment of women in their programs through practical measures, such as directly hiring additional female staff or designing interventions to improve women’s livelihoods. These examples suggest that the women’s employment rate of 31 percent is higher than it would have been in the absence of IGP requirements. Additional efforts to identify barriers to female employment, address them during design, and benchmark progress will likely bring about enhanced results that can be more directly attributed to MCC measures for equality of opportunity.

‘Principles into Practice’

MCC has also developed a Principles into Practice paper using evidence from completed independent evaluations in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygeine sector Principles into Practice: Lessons from Evaluations of MCC Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Programs. The Principles into Practice series offers a frank look at what it takes to make these principles MCC considers essential for development operational in the projects and activities in which MCC invests. The learning captured in this paper will inform MCC’s ongoing efforts to refine and strengthen its own model and development practice in the WASH sector. MCC hopes this paper will also allow others to benefit from, and build upon, MCC’s lessons.