11.4 Scaling up best practice in the WASH sector

If evaluation shows that a small-scale innovation in technology, policy or process is an advance on previous best practice, there is an obligation to spread the impact of the new knowledge to additional sites and/or expand existing capacity to benefit a larger number and a wider range of service-users. Scaling up a ‘tried-and-tested’ intervention is likely to be more successful than starting from scratch, and it makes more efficient and cost-effective use of human, financial and technical resources.

  • Can you think of an example of scaling up that you have read about in a previous study session?

  • The Dalocha Women Water Development Association (in Study Session 9) has been used as a model, and several similar women-led associations have since been created in other parts of Ethiopia, based on this successful example.

You may also have thought of community-led total sanitation and hygiene (CLTSH). This was piloted in Ethiopia by Plan International in 2007 and has since been applied across the country. By 2011, the approach had reached all nine main regions and was supported in 439 of 550 woredas (Crocker and Rowe, 2015).

Another example of scaling up is the legalisation of WASHCOs. An earlier study session mentioned that legalising WASHCOs (giving them formal recognition and authority), was important for their success. During MSF-5 in 2012, experiences of WASHCO legalisation in Benishangul-Gumuz region were presented to the forum participants, who acknowledged they demonstrated good practice. This led to expanding the process within the region as well as other regions, some of which have taken WASHCO legalisation as one of their key undertakings. Currently the legalisation of WASHCOs is being implemented in all the woredas of Benishangul-Gumuz and in SNNPR and Tigray regions. They are adopting the initiative after a sharing visit to Benishangul-Gumuz facilitated by WaterAid.

Scaling up depends on all the elements of learning and sharing that we have discussed in this study session. It requires effective knowledge management and good documentation to ensure a thorough and complete record of both processes and outcomes. It also needs a mechanism for sharing information with other stakeholders. This can be achieved by forums and events, which provide opportunities for others to learn about best practice in order to introduce it elsewhere.

Joint learning and sharing of knowledge and experience across the sector gives each organisation and stakeholder access to a more diverse range of perspectives and specialised information than they could hope to acquire through their own individual efforts. As a consequence, WASH organisations and practitioners are able to work in a more holistic or ‘joined up’ manner that contributes to the bigger process of providing effective WASH services across Ethiopia.

Summary of Study Session 11