WASHwatch - An information hub and accountability platform for water, sanitation and hygiene

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WASHwatch - An information hub and accountability platform for water, sanitation and hygiene

The WASHwatch platform/website has been mentioned in several places on this forum already, but I thought it might be useful to give it a dedicated thread where updates could be posted and questions asked.

Who is behind WASHwatch?
The answer is here: washwatch.org/en/about/who-behind-washwatch/

WASHwatch is a platform for collaboration set up by WaterAid for the benefit of all sector partners, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

WASHwatch receives collaboration from a wide range of partners from CSOs to donors, governments, multilaterals or development banks. We works on a regular basis with many institutions such as the World Health Organization, End Water Poverty, AMCOW, ...


Information about WASHwatch was previously shared on the forum here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/242-ad...wateraid-america-inc

WASHwatch.org facilitates collaboration and monitoring of government and donor WASH commitments in a transparent, inclusive, efficient and iterative way. Concretely, WASHwatch is: a) a platform where all sector stakeholders can share evidence on progress or under-performance towards commitments; b) an up-to-date and reliable info hub on WASH commitments and progress; and c) a platform where all stakeholders can share their analysis of the sector and identify bottlenecks to progress.

washwatch.org was formally launched during AfricaSan4 and is increasingly used by WaterAid and WASH advocates to support sanitation campaigning and monitoring processes. At this time, WASHwatch receives collaboration from a wide range of partners from CSOs to donors, governments, multilaterals and development banks. It works on a regular basis with many institutions such as the World Health Organization, End Water Poverty, and AMCOW. WASHwatch started in 2010 as a side-project, but now has a dedicated full-time position to develop the platform. The website contains features like strengthening accountability; the eThekwini monitoring scores; country’s investments and progress for WASH; and a global WASH access map. Specific developments for the next 6 months include developing country case studies and success stories using WASHwatch in WaterAid’s country programs.

WASHwatch.org secured buy-in from AMCOW, Water and Sanitation Program, CSO representatives and SACOSAN stakeholders. WASHwatch.org has been operationally tracking government promises and commitments, such as the eThekwini commitments. In addition, End Water Poverty developed several country briefings for Zambia, Ghana and Pakistan on the current state of access to water and sanitation. These reports that are based on WASHwatch data and used for policy influencing at country level.


Also, WASHwatch was presented in this SuSanA webinar:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/183-mo...ording-now-available

Or see here:



They also have a twitter account: @WASHwatch

Questions and comments can be put in this thread.

Regards,
Elisabeth

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: WASHwatch - A platform facilitating transparency in monitoring, availability of information and communication

I actually have one simple question: with a platform like this, its usefulness lies in being there for the longer term. For how long do you have funding for this? I see some of the funding comes from a grant from the Gates Foundation. Is this the sole/main source of funding or is there other funding, too?

Regards,
Elisabeth

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • AmyKeegan
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Re: WASHwatch - A platform facilitating transparency in monitoring, availability of information and communication

Dear Elisabeth,
Apologies for the delayed response. Thank you for creating the page on WASHwatch and for your question. As you noted, many websites and platforms start and collapse within a few years because of a lack of funding (we actually have list to keep track of the dead websites.) One of WASHwatch’s prerequisites from its conception was to ensure that the platform would be sustainable in the long term. To ensure continued access to reliable, up to date data for the WASH sector for the foreseeable future. As of 2016, we can confirmed that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will continue to fund WASHwatch for another 3 years. On top of that, because of its low maintenance cost and its proven usefulness, we have already secured alternative sources of funding to maintain the website in case the current funding is not carried on after 2019. Therefore, we can promise that WASHwatch is here to stay!
Any other questions please feel free to ask.
Best, Amy

Amy Keegan
WASHwatch Project Lead
Policy Officer - Monitoring and Accountability
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Re: WASHwatch - A platform facilitating transparency in monitoring, availability of information and communication

Dear Amy,

(I am putting this here, rather than in an e-mail to you because I want to help raise awareness about this very useful website that you have developed and to encourage more people to go and take a look and check it out).

I have recently taken a closer look at your WASHWatch website when I was verifying data inserted into the Wikipedia article on "Drinking water supply and sanitation in the United States" ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinking_water_sup...United_States#Access )

I noticed that on your website you report numbers like this:

Total number of People Lacking Access to "Improved" Sanitation (x 1,000) - 2015: 36.110
% of Population with Access to "Improved" Sanitation - 2015: 99.989


Do I interprete this right that the number of people without access improved sanitation is:
36,110,000 (i.e. 36 million)?
I wonder if your use of the dot could be confusing for people (especially given that some countries, like Germany, use the dot and the comma the other way around. E.g. in Germany we would say 99,5% where you say 99.5%. And we say 100.000 where you say 100,000). In one place it is the 1000 separator and in the other place it is the decimal dot.

I am not sure how to represent it in a different way but it is a little bit confusing like this, don't you think?
Perhaps it helps to put the figure expressed in millions (rounded) next to the other figure, just to make sure people don't get confused with the conversion, and report it possibly like this: 36.110,000.

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. I also just made a post mentioning WASHWatch here on the Forum regarding the situation in the U.S. and Germany: forum.susana.org/component/kunena/181-hu...and-sanitation#21009
If you have any insights on that please post in that thread, thanks (i.e. why the numbers can be so high in such wealthy countries - my guess was that it is related to the homeless population).

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • AmyKeegan
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Re: WASHwatch - A platform facilitating transparency in monitoring, availability of information and communication

Hi Elisabeth,

Thanks you for highlighting this confusion. The total figures for those without sanitation access in the US are 36,110. On WASHwatch we show this as 36.110 x1000 with using . as the decimal separator

This figure comes from the Joint Monitoring Programme WHO & UNICEF.

I would be hesitant to change the . for a , as they have the opposite meanings in other contexts.
I will however, change the way we portray all of our access figures to avoid these issues. This will be done by the beginning of next week.

Thanks,
Amy

Amy Keegan
WASHwatch Project Lead
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  • muench
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Re: WASHwatch - A platform facilitating transparency in monitoring, availability of information and communication

Dear Amy,
Thanks for replying so quickly! I totally agree with you, stay with the British convention of dot and comma (i.e. using the comma for thousand separator). I just pointed out that people from other countries might get confused (like I did). So if you can come up with a smart way of making it double clear, that would be great.
The 36.450 x 1000 can be confusing as we found out. :-) Let us know what you come up with, I look forward to it.
(good example how Wikipedia helps to spread information; I had never really looked at the WASHWatch page for the U.S. until I saw the data inserted into the Wikipedia article...)

By the way, today I saw on twitter a map by WASHFunders:
Invalid consumer key/secret in configuration

Check out our new funding map and see who's funding what, where in the #WASH sector: washfunders.org/funding-map/


Is that complimentary or the sams as what people could find on WASHWatch?

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S.

Regarding the figures for the U.S.:
So I had interpreted it wrongly, it's only 36000 not 36 million in the U.S. with unimproved sanitation.
It's actually strange in itself could you comment here in the other thread about it if you happen to know anything more about it?:
forum.susana.org/component/kunena/181-hu...and-sanitation#21009

It seems strange to me now that the figure in Germany in absolute terms is 10 times higher than in the U.S. I guess it's hard to define this exactly for developed countries.
But that other article spoke of 500,000 households (not people but households!) in the U.S. without access to improved water and sanitation.

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  • AmyKeegan
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Re: WASHwatch - An information hub and accountability platform for water, sanitation and hygiene

Hi Elisabeth,

I've replied in the other thread which should hopefully bring some clarity and we'll change the way we portray the information so that this doesn't happen again!

We have been working with WASHFunders and they are a great resource - they focus mainly on US foundations so we have been working together to link up our resources to share these complementary information hubs.

I am excited to share with you that WASHwatch have just released our new Donor Profiles.

Our aim for these profiles is to provide the information needed to increase donor accountability within the sector. (For more information read our WASHwatch blog)

Which donors are being profiled?
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, CzechRepublic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Our first wave of donor profiles have focused on bilateral donor countries that report to OECD to ensure that the figures are comparable. Over the next few months we will be developing multilateral donor profiles.

What are the donor profiles?
1.Statistics
a. Donor statistics including: general finance flows, WASH finance flows, WASH finance flows by system and WASH finance flows by channels.
b. Domestic statistics including: water and sanitation access figures.
c. Top WASH ODA Recipient Countries information
2.Donor Coordination Mechanisms including: government departments responsible for international aid, and national CSO coalitions working in domestic advocacy for international aid.
3.Donor Policies and Strategy including: any key documents on organisational strategy highlighting mentions of WASH and WASH specific strategy produced by the government department responsible for international aid.
4.Donor Monitoring Mechanisms: External documents evaluating the donor’s performance both overall and specifically with regards to WASH. Includes:
a. OECD DAC Peer Reviews
b. GLAAS ESA Reports
c. SEEK Development Donor Tracker
d. Aid Transparency Index
e. Commitment to Development Index, Centre for Global Development
f. Other country focused reports produced by domestic CSO coalitions.
5. Declarations and Commitments including: whether donors have met the commitment of using 0.7% of GNI to ODA.
6. Donor Comparison: There is a tool to enable you to directly compare donors statistics and commitments to each other. For example: Development Assistance Countries

WASHwatch is a collaborative platform and as such we encourage contributors. Please share with us any suitable data, analysis or comments to be added to the website via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Thanks,
Amy

Amy Keegan
WASHwatch Project Lead
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Re: WASHwatch - An information hub and accountability platform for water, sanitation and hygiene

Hi all,

We are conducting some research into data use within the WASH sector and would greatly appreciate you filling out our short survey - www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HWVNNFN

The aim of our research is to better understand how people are using WASHwatch and data in their work. This research will be used to further inform the development of the platform to allow us to be more responsive to the needs of the sector.

If you are interested in engaging more with our research please contact me.

Best wishes,
WASHwatch Team

Amy Keegan
WASHwatch Project Lead
Policy Officer - Monitoring and Accountability
WaterAid
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Re: WASHwatch - An information hub and accountability platform for water, sanitation and hygiene

Dear Amy,

I am just wondering what came out of your survey? Could you share the results with us?

As to my own use of WASHWatch ( washwatch.org/en/ ), I only started using it recently as part of our Wikipedia work on the suite of articles on "water supply and sanitation by country" where under the heading of "access" we added information taken from WASHwatch (same data as from JMP but more easily accessible with a few clicks). And that's because you had an intern who began editing those articles - a good move!

I mean this suite of articles:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_water_supp...anitation_by_country

Regards,
Elisabeth

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: WASHwatch - An information hub and accountability platform for water, sanitation and hygiene

Hi Elisabeth,

Apologies for the delayed response, I've been on leave. Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey, we have published our results in a blog on our website available here: washwatch.org/en/blog/washwatch-data-survey-results/

Our key findings were:
The survey shows that users are accessing data for a variety of different reasons in their work including advocacy, communications, fundraising, programming, policy briefs and research. Within these different data needs there is a split in the way individuals are using data. The first group are those driven by data, interested in the statistics and research and use this to shape their work. The second are individuals who are looking for data to back up their work, they want easily downloadable visualisations and graphs. Content should be developed with this in mind to ensure that the website reflects these needs.

When asked what type of data the respondents use in their work, some responses validated data that are already hosted on WASHwatch such as national, comparable, regional and global data. The answers also show that a large percentage of our respondents use sub-national data in their work which is currently not shown. The most used parts of the platform are country profiles, statistics and WASH monitoring reports, the least used part of the website is the blog.

Trust in the platform is an issue that must be considered with three quarters of respondents stating that they trust WASHwatch, but a quarter of respondents stated that they either did not trust the platform or had neither a positive or negative response. More research needs to be done in this area to discover why people do not trust WASHwatch and what can be done to mitigate some of these concerns.

Many of the recommendations for new features to add to WASHwatch detail features that already exists which suggests that the communication of features should be included. Other recommendations included adding new data to include on the site; provide an easier way to access the data with downloads and visualisations; improve more outreach and produce more analysis."

Glad to hear that Wikipedia has been useful. We enjoyed taking part in the Susana sessions and hope that when we have more capacity within the team we can revisit this and continue adding to different country pages!

Many thanks,
Amy

Amy Keegan
WASHwatch Project Lead
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Re: WASHwatch - An information hub and accountability platform for water, sanitation and hygiene

Hello all,

I wanted to share that we've just launched an interactive global aid flow map (available here washwatch.org/en/wash-maps/ ) and 7 new multilateral donor profiles: African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Union, Inter American Development Bank, UNICEF, United Nations Development Programme and World Bank. (available here washwatch.org/en/donors/ )

Thanks,
Amy

Amy Keegan
WASHwatch Project Lead
Policy Officer - Monitoring and Accountability
WaterAid
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