Can failed water & sanitation projects cause harm? Quote from a recent evaluation

Improve International

By Susan Davis, Executive Director

A recent AidSpeak blog asked “Is any harm being done?” It was about “amateur do-gooder, voluntourism” but much of it could apply to international development. I wanted to share this excerpt from the Madagascar WASH Sector Sustainability Check because it nicely summarizes the harm that can indeed be done by “slippage” (aka “the crisis of rural WASH ‘sustainability’ across the developing world” aka failure):

It is a fact that, in most developing countries, a significant proportion of rural water systems do not function within a relatively short period of being installed, that many rural sanitation facilities are not used either properly or at all, that declarations of total sanitation (communities free from open defecation) are too often superseded by a reversion to old habits, and that hygiene behaviours fade over time.

This crisis threatens progress across the rural WASH sector, and therefore is hampering economic…

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