Problem Addressed

Globally, 780 million people lack access to clean water and nearly 3 billion do not have access to proper sanitation. The WHO estimated in 2009 that 1 in 5 deaths of children under 5 are related to unclean water and poor sanitation. Government data estimates that nearly 45% of Ugandan’s rural citizens lack access to improved water sources - that’s nearly 14 million people, 8.5mm of which are children. Many interventions implemented to increase access to water and sanitation ultimately fail.This brings a necessity to prioritize lasting services and identify strategies that engage local communities in the maintenance of water and sanitation projects in order to ensure long-term use.

Innovative Approach

The Water Trust employs a demand-driven approach. They prioritize quantifying results, efficiency and effectiveness.They work only with villages, schools and health centers that apply to work with them. Approximately 7-10% of the construction process must be co-financed by the local partner. The Water Trust stimulates demand with awareness radio programs that explain why the work they’re doing is necessary and how to apply to work with the organization.

Since their start, The Water Trust prioritized an evidence-based approach with measurable results. In December 2014, they transitioned to a mobile monitoring platform to collect data. This transition included entering all historical – baseline and monitoring – data into the platform. The Water Trust uses the mWater mobile platform. The data is analyzed along eleven key performance indicators. The indicators align with industry standards, such as the Sustainable Development Goals. In line with the organization’s strategic goal to increase access to clean, flowing water, The Water Trust currently acts on two of the eleven key performance indicators – Functionality and Water Quality. The key performance indicators will also inform future programmatic improvements. All data – regardless of results – is shared on The Water Trust website. They are currently the only organization to make this data public.

Program Solution

The Water Trust’s field team collaborates with local communities, villages, health centers and governments to identify needs and implement unique community driven projects. They build wells, latrines, boreholes and rainwater tanks in villages, schools and health centers of East Africa.

They rely on and build the capacity of local governance and institutions to manage these projects. The Water Trust also trains local institutions to operate and maintain water and sanitation solutions to improve access including a network of Hand Pump Mechanics who are geographically assigned to partners. Hand pump mechanics work to maintain government implementation water points and have the skill set for repairs – funding of which comes form the communities. When needed, The Water Trust works with each village, school or health center to devise a community-led solution. They monitor projects for seven years using a mobile monitoring platform.

The Water Trust (Video)