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World Water Week 2018 sharing key learnings on Payment by Results

World Water Week 2018: sharing key learnings on Payment by Results

World Water Week is the annual focal point for global water – and increasingly sanitation and hygiene – issues, organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

Over 3,300 participants from 378 organisations and 135 countries took part in this year’s event, which provides a unique forum for exchanging views, experiences and practices between the scientific, business, policy and civic communities.

The event focuses on new thinking and positive action towards WASH-related challenges, and their impact on the environment, health, climate, economies and movements towards poverty reduction.

As the consortium lead for the South Asia WASH Results Programme (SAWRP), Plan International UK co-presented a session on the Department for International Development (DFID) funded programme, alongside other suppliers SNV and SWIFT – led by Oxfam, alongside the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Tearfund.

Reaching over seven million people with improved WASH 

SAWRP, led by Plan International UK and implemented together with WaterAid, Unilever, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and Plan International, reached over seven million people in Pakistan and Bangladesh with improved WASH services from 2014 to 2018.

We achieved this by building or improving drinking water facilities and supporting communities to improve their own sanitation and hygiene. The programme:

  • used the Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach to motivate and empower people to build latrines
  • delivered fun and accessible hygiene messages in primary schools on handwashing with soap at critical times, using Unilever Lifebuoy’s School of Five approach 
  • supported the development of local commercial markets and supply chains for sanitation materials
  • worked closely with local and regional governance agencies, supporting them to plan, coordinate and monitor district WASH activities effectively. 

What makes SAWRP different to a traditional grant or contract is that it uses a Payment by Results (PbR) funding modality, where payment is tied to the achievement and independent verification of agreed outputs and outcome targets. 

In reality, this means that payments can be withheld or only given in part if results for outputs (including construction of toilets and water-points) or outcomes (such as continued use of toilets or latrines) are not achieved.  

Key learnings on Payment by Results

During this year’s World Water Week:

  • SNV presented on sustainability indicators, discussing the opportunities and challenges associated with PbR WASH projects and emphasising the need to understand what is doable, reasonable and useful within the PbR context. Our SAWRP Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Axelle Fidelin, presented a related presentation at the WEDC Conference this year, outlining how establishing detailed and robust sustainability indicators can be a challenging process. 
  • SWIFT focussed on balancing innovation and managing risk where payment is linked to externally verified outputs and outcomes, and how innovative approaches need to be considered within the context of PbR to minimise risk and foster improved approaches. 

Meanwhile, SAWRP focussed on our learnings on monitoring, verification and evaluation within a PbR project, with key observations including:

  • How a focus on monitoring, verification and evaluation systems can lead to robust and accurate data, as well as general improvements to suppliers’ approaches to monitoring, verification and evaluation.
  • The ways external verification can increase transparency and accountability of results.
  • How a range of monitoring and evaluation systems are required to aid the delivery of a large, complex PbR project. This includes current processes, and monitoring and tracking of people reached with an intervention, but also additional processes such as the collection and management of multiple and varied evidences, to manage and coordinate with the external verification and evaluation element.
  • With coordination and planning, innovative and community-led approaches can be verified by an external party, but the relative benefits of a survey approach should be considered against more innovative and qualitative approaches to monitoring, verification and evaluation. 
  • An open and transparent dialogue, with clear expectations, is required between suppliers and monitoring, verification and evaluation teams.

SAWRP is now entering its second stage, implementing in Bangladesh until 2021. Please do follow @PlanUK on Twitter and look out for future news and updates.


How access to clean water, safe toilets and good hygiene can transform children’s lives