Evaluating the Effectiveness of Programs and Policies to Improve Access to Safe Drinking Water


Guy Tadoum numerongar


Evaluating the effectiveness of drinking water access programs and policies is crucial to ensure that these initiatives achieve their objectives and genuinely contribute to improving people’s lives. Several approaches can be undertaken to conduct this evaluation:

1. Define clear and measurable indicators:

  • Drinking water access coverage: Percentage of the population with access to an improved drinking water source (tap water, protected wells, etc.).
  • Water quality: Compliance with drinking water quality standards (physical-chemical and microbiological parameters).
  • Water availability: Quantity of water available per person per day.
  • Water use: Quantity of water consumed per person per day.
  • Health impact: Reduction in cases of water-related diseases, such as diarrhea and cholera.
  • Socio-economic impact: Improvement in school attendance, productivity, and income.

2. Collect reliable data:

  • Household surveys
  • Monitoring of water supply facilities
  • Water quality analysis
  • Demographic and health data

3. Data analysis and identification of strengths and weaknesses:

  • Compare indicators against set targets
  • Identify factors influencing access to and use of safe drinking water
  • Analyze the costs and effectiveness of programs

4. Formulate recommendations for improvement:

  • Adapt programs and policies based on evaluation findings
  • Allocate resources more efficiently
  • Strengthen the capacities of institutions responsible for water management

5. Evaluation tools and approaches:

  • Impact studies: Assess the impact of a specific program or policy on drinking water access and its socio-economic impacts.
  • Effectiveness evaluations: Determine the ratio of resources invested to results achieved.
  • Qualitative evaluations: Gather information and perceptions from stakeholders on a program or policy.
  • Monitoring and evaluation systems: Track the progress and performance of a program or policy over time.

6. Examples of effectiveness indicators:

  • Percentage of the population with access to an improved drinking water source within 2 km of their home.
  • Percentage of households using improved drinking water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene.
  • Percentage of water samples meeting drinking water quality standards for microbiological parameters.
  • Number of diarrhea and cholera cases per year per 1,000 inhabitants.
  • School attendance rate for children aged 6 to 11.

7. Factors influencing access to safe drinking water:

  • Poverty
  • Geographic location
  • Inadequate infrastructure
  • Poor governance
  • Conflicts and natural disasters

8. Conclusion:

Rigorous evaluation of drinking water access programs and policies is essential to ensure their effectiveness and sustainability. By measuring progress and identifying shortcomings, policymakers and development actors can adapt their interventions and optimize resource use to ensure universal access to safe drinking water.

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