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Learning to improve WASH programs

22 November 2016

workshop participants

Six key ingredients for creating learning cultures within civil society organisations (CSOs) working in WASH are outlined in a recently published research report and learning brief.

Over 100 WASH practitioners and other non-CSO stakeholders, including governments, academics, donors and consultants working in the WASH sector across the world shared with ISF researchers their knowledge about how CSOs learn and draw on evidence to improve WASH programming and practice.

quote from survey respondent

Whilst there is a lot of information available about best practice in the WASH sector, this research shows which organisational characteristics and processes support the uptake of evidence based approaches to WASH.

The findings and recommendations from the research, commissioned by the CS WASH Fund, will be useful to CSOs and WASH researchers aiming to improve the sharing and dissemination of their work.

quote from survey respondent

The six key ingredients for creating learning cultures within CSOs working in WASH identified by the research are:

1.     Peer-to-peer and on the job learning

2.     Reflection processes

3.     Leadership to drive Knowledge & Learning (K&L)

4.     Time and funding allocated to K&L

5.     Feedback loops between Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E)and programming

6.     Identifying K&L duties in work plans

quote from survey respondent

The research also found that the most preferred and effective formats of K&L products for CSO learning were:

  • face-to-face,

  • hands-on and experiential learning formats; 

  • practical guidance notes and toolkits; 

  • well-written, concise and evidence-based products; and 

  • multiple online formats.

quote from survey respondent

For the complete findings on how CSOs can improve organisational K&L processes for improved practice download the research report and learning brief.

Findings from this research were presented by ISF in a webinar in April 2016 (watch the recording here) and at the 2016 WASH Futures conference in Brisbane.