Learning from Failures: Water Currents issue

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  • Dan Campbell, USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management Project
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Learning from Failures: Water Currents issue

This issue features articles that talk about failure, how to identify and avoid future failures, and the role of finance in mitigating failure. It includes case studies from Tanzania, Nigeria, and Nepal, as well as studies that discuss learning from failure in rural water supply and urban sanitation systems.

Also highlighted are studies that looked at both success and failure, including the first four (in a series of six) ex-post evaluations that discuss factors that affect the long-term sustainability of USAID WASH projects. A special thanks goes out to @FSM_Fail and Improve International for contributing content and reviewing this issue.

IN FOCUS

Learning from Failures – Overviews

Blunders, Bloopers and Foul-Ups: Sharing Failures in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs. Engineering for Change, August 2018. Until a culture of sharing and learning from failures is more widely instilled in the WASH sector, practitioners will continue to make the same mistakes, possibly at the expense of those whom the programs are designed to benefit. This article describes how a “failure event” raised awareness of this topic.

Ten Reasons Why Your WASH Project is Failing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Takudzwa Noel Mushamba, WASH Delegate at Swedish Red Cross, January 2019. In the last half a century, numerous externally funded/supported WASH initiatives have been implemented in sub-Saharan Africa. These projects have resulted in many positive changes, but there have also been major failures in some sectors and parts of the continent. These can often be attributed to one of 10 reasons.

Opinion: Want to Improve Development Outcomes? Anticipate the Failures. Here's How. Devex, February 2018. This article discusses “premortems,” a strategy in which a team imagines that a project has failed, and then works backward to determine what can lead to failure in order to address the issues before projects start.

Read the complete issue .

Dan Campbell
USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management Project
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1901 N. Moore St, Suite 1004
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