Effective WASH planning with baseline surveys

WaterAid India

Universal access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene can only be achieved by understanding the core causes of its deprivation and identifying the problem areas that affect the implementation of strategies. It is also essential to develop strategies that effectively contribute to these conditions. WaterAid India (WAI) has thus taken up a baseline survey for all intervention areas across the country, for the year 2017-18.

For a comprehensive understanding of the process, a three-day orientation workshop was held in each region of WAI’s intervention area. The orientation, attended by partner NGOs, included sessions on the need for baseline, marginalisation and equity mapping, on-site visits to field-test the survey, and brainstorming sessions on observations, reflections and critical feedback.

Orientation workshop in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (Photo credits: WaterAid India)
Orientation workshop in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (Photo credits: WaterAid India)

The participants also learnt about the mWater application (a web and mobile-based application that would enable the users to capture and upload the data from a mobile), and mock exercises of Participatory Rural Appraisal (an approach to incorporate the knowledge and opinions of rural people in the planning and management of development projects and programmes).

Equity Mapping in Medak District, Telangana (Photo credits: WaterAid India
Equity Mapping in Medak District, Telangana (Photo credits: WaterAid India)

This community baseline is a participatory tool with a focus on mapping water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) status, as well as the extent of marginalisation in the intervention areas. Following are the steps are undertaken during the process: Step-1: Rapport building with the

  • Step-1: Rapport building with the community
  • Step-2: Formation of facilitation group in the village
  • Step-3: Transect walk in the village
  • Step-4: Social and WASH resource mapping
  • Step-5: Focused group discussions with the community, and equity mapping
Field testing taking place at a slum in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (Photo credits: WaterAid India)
Field testing taking place at a slum in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (Photo credits: WaterAid India)

The rest of the tools are developed on the mWater app. In order to take the plan forward, WAI’s Knowledge Management Team has adopted various IT-based tools and developed them to carry out the baseline. It also intends to help identify the ground realities, understanding WASH accessibility for the most marginalised, mapping all water sources in the communities, as well as the status of WASH in institutions, like schools, anganwadis (AWCs) and health care facilities (HCFs).

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