World Vision is committed to working with our partners to provide sustainable clean water and sanitation to everyone everywhere we work, and in order to fulfill this vision, we need to improve our approach — doing some things differently and some things more efficiently.
Towards this objective, World Vision is pleased to announce a new partnership
with The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) to improve our water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs in the developing world. Our partnership with UNC will provide data and lessons
learned allowing us to improve at an unprecedented scale.
For me, when I think of this goal, I think of the hundreds of villages and thousands of people in the developing world who I've met as they've received water for the first time. This is a life transforming experience, and a cause of a huge celebration that I'd encourage you to enjoy if you ever have the opportunity. Equally as important to providing access to water is ensuring the water keeps flowing after the celebration.
Several years ago I met a young man named Emmanuel Tenge from Ghana. His early life was spent making trips to fetch water, but when World Vision brought water to his village he had the opportunity to do something besides haul water. Emmanuel remembers that day as a day of joy for his family and freedom from long hours of water hauling. This life changing event allowed Emmanuel to excel in his studies, and I'm thrilled that Emmanuel will graduate this Spring with an accounting degree from the University of Ghana.
I travelled with Emmanuel to see water points in Ghana, and we celebrated water points that were the same age of Emmanuel (23 years) with continued functionality. We know that water points only function for decades with community ownership, but there's much more to learn about how to do this better.
Specifically, World Vision and UNC are committing to collaborate over a six-year period in an extensive research and monitoring program. By conducting rigorous evaluations in 10 countries, and more countries going forward, World Vision is investing in building an evidence base and measuring results. This partnership is unique as few partnerships exist between nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and research institutes to use data and evidence at this scale to inform program improvements.
Baseline, Midline and Final Evaluations.
UNC has recently completed the largest known baseline evaluation of a multi-country NGO WASH program by conducting surveys in 10 countries involving 26,851 households, 1,193 water points, 2,568 schools, and 1,453 health facilities along with 7,561 microbiological samples. The main value of this work was to create a baseline from which future progress and achievement can be rigorously measured through a follow-up midline (2017) and final evaluation (2020). The results will allow for ongoing improvement as World Vision and partners seek to reach one new person every 10 seconds with clean water and sanitation by 2020 and provide universal sanitation and water in all program areas globally by 2030.
Community-Managed Water Systems.
A previous Hilton-funded study
in Ghana showed that nearly 80% of World Vision water points were operational even after two decades and that water committees and fee collection were critical to sustainability. As follow-up, UNC is determining the common factors that result in long-lasting water committees through a qualitative study involving 237 hours of interviews in three countries. Initial results demonstrate the value of the involvement of women in leadership roles in water committees and the importance of informal payment schemes.
Mechanized Solar-Powered Sustainability.
UNC will conduct a three year/three country research effort to identify factors leading to long-term sustainability of solar powered mechanized systems. Mechanized systems have become an important part of the way that World Vision provides water and, as explained in our last newsletter, we have plans with Grundfos to provide 1,000 mechanized systems reaching 2 million people by 2020. This partnership includes the use of market-based mechanisms to allow for fee collection including an innovative digital payment platform solution provided by an Ericsson and Grundfos partnership, and being implemented by World Vision in Kenya that received some attention recently.
Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI).
The CQI approach to improvement has been used for decades in the private sector, but UNC and World Vision are the first to bring this approach to the WASH Sector. It’s already demonstrated improvement in water quality in Ghana and will be scaled to West Africa and beyond to continue to improve implementation.
The above specific studies along with results from completed studies including the baseline evaluation are explained in more detail in the attached brochure (LINK
World Vision Fellowship
. As part of this effort, a World Vision Fellowship has been created to support specific research for graduate and Ph.D. students. Meghan Miller, who is leading the mechanized water system research, is the first Fellow