Outcomes-Based Programming for Water and Sanitation: Oxfam’s vision and monitoring framework

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Framework overview

Oxfam’s ambition is to achieve greater sustainability and governance of water and sanitation services, especially for the poorest, most marginalized and most vulnerable people. To do this, we need to change the way we programme: from designing the intervention to establishing the monitoring system, we need to focus on outcomes. This framework provides ideas for what sustainable outcomes can look like, even in contexts affected by conflict and fragility, and how we can measure our progress towards achieving them.

The first five sections explain the rationale for adopting an outcomes-based approach, explain Oxfam’s foundational principles, which are the basis of all our water and sanitation programming, and show how to use the framework.

Section 6 contains ideas for programmatic outcomes, programme activities and potential measures of success sustainability. Section 7 is about supporting our partners in an outcomes-based approach, and section 8 provides some guidance on tools already available to help with some of the programme activities, particularly analysis tools.

We do not pretend to have all the answers on how to provide sustainable, affordable and equitable water and sanitation services to everyone, but as the global population grows and our natural resources shrink, inequality and conflicts over resources will get worse. So we do need to keep improving how we work.

This framework is not a blueprint for how to carry out a sustainable water and sanitation programme, but it is intended to help point the way. Think about the outcomes your programme is trying to achieve, find the measures of success for those ambitions and either use them as they are, modify them to suit the programme context or use them as a starting point to develop your own ideas to ensure that everyone can use affordable, safely managed and good-quality water and sanitation services all the time.