Africa: WASHCost improves understanding of sustainable access to water and sanitation
Through WASHCost and other programmes, IRC is pushing beyond the current technology-focused approach to achieving the UN's Millenium Development Goal target for water and sanitation. The WASHCost framework extends planning and budgeting beyond the costs of inputs (technologies) to include the costs of outputs (water and sanitation services).
In particular, WASHCost promotes the identification of service levels against which to measure the costs. Service levels are determined by criteria such as quality, accessibility and reliability. The development of the service levels is based on a growing understanding of different country norms and realities.
WASHCost Sanitation service level approach published
The working paper, 'Assessing sanitation service levels', is a recent addition to the growing body of WASHCost research publications. It sets out a framework to analyse and compare sanitation cost data collected in different country contexts, with different service delivery norms.
It represents a fundamental shift of focus away from the limits of exclusively examining capital investment costs and toilet technologies to enable planning and budgeting to include the full life-cycle costs of sanitation services.
Engage in dialogue with WASHCost partners and like-minded professionals
The IRC symposium, 'Pumps, Pipes and Promises: Costs, Finances and Accountability for Sustainable WASH Services', in the Hague 16-18 November 2010, is an opportunity to discuss groundbreaking thinking and research work from across the world. It will also highlight the partnerships and participatory approaches (e.g. Learning Alliances) that ensure research work feeds into policy making and implementation of projects on the ground.
At the symposium, the first analysis of WASH life-cycle costs research conducted in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and India (Andhra Pradesh) will be presented and discussed, including:
costs per technology from the four WASHCost countries (sanitation and water),
costs per service levels from the four WASHCost countries (sanitation and water), and
initial findings from cost drivers and poverty analysis.
Other important work on the costs and financing of WASH services in countries of the South will also be presented.
In the lead up to the IRC Symposium 2010, various components of the WASHCost research methodology will be made available on line. These will include sampling methodologies, data collection methods and lessons learnt.