By working together, we're making great progress. But there is still a huge amount to do. And the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have marked an important shift in the accountability of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.

National and sub-national monitoring and accountability

We're moving away from simply monitoring access to tracking the level of services received – including water quality, reliability, and wastewater treatment. Governments and service providers need to have effective sector monitoring systems to make lasting progress possible. However, in the countries where we work, service level monitoring – including data collection, analysis and use – is often limited, due to a lack of resources, frameworks and coordination.

Without reliable data, governments and other service providers cannot monitor progress and make the necessary plans for service improvements. Service users and civil society groups cannot hold providers to account or call for improved access and service levels where they are lacking.

These challenges must be addressed to ensure clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene for everyone, everywhere by 2030. WASH sector monitoring systems at national and local levels need to be robust, easy to use and affordable to update, so that they can be used for planning and also aggregated to inform regional and global monitoring. Developments in information communication technology (ICT) are now making it easier to collect, analyse, use and share information in many instances. But challenges remain in monitoring affordability and incentives, and in inconsistency in data use for making decisions.

Our approach

To have a bigger impact, we help governments, utilities and other service providers to develop, harmonise and use meaningful indicators that track WASH service levels and their sustainability. 

Often multiple monitoring initiatives are underway within a country, with different organisations bringing different tools and approaches. We help to align these behind a common approach that governments agree on. We also support governments and work with sector stakeholders to address gaps and strengthen monitoring processes, particularly in relation to data-updating mechanisms and the use of data for planning, budgeting and management, to ensure sustainability. 

Our approach includes:

  1. Supporting the adoption of service level and sustainability indicators, adapted to local context where needed.
  2. Developing and demonstrating context-suitable and affordable data collection and updating processes. ICT (including mobile data collection, citizen reporting, management information systems, mapping, etc.) can support and accelerate processes when context allows. Different methods involve different costs and management complexity. We work with local and national governments to select viable data-updating mechanisms that can be sustained.
  3. Strengthening capacity for data analysis, e.g. using tools such as mWater and the Water Point Mapper.
  4. Supporting reporting processes, such as Joint Sector Reviews.
  5. Supporting the use of data to inform planning and budgeting at national and district levels, e.g. with the development of district investment plans.

We are technology agnostic and help identify what is needed for successful and sustainable maintenance of data collection in each context.

Water Point Mapping

We have supported water point and sanitation mapping for more than 15 years, in collaboration with national and district governments. We ensure the process is institutionalised and maintained to help make services more sustainable and accessible. Download and read about examples from Malawi and Tanzania, Pakistan and West Africa.

Our Water Point Mapper and Mapper Lite tools are free, Excel-based, offline tools. They make it easy to map water and sanitation facilities, overlaid with population information, at district and sub-district levels. To enable further real-time mapping of water and sanitation services, we have worked with mWater to integrate features of the Water Point Mapper into the advanced data collection and analysis tool mWater.

This makes data analysis possible without the need for complex, costly GIS software, allowing use at the local level where advanced tools are not accessible.


Explore our monitoring and accountability publications and resources.

News and blogs

Opinion pieces and discussions relating to monitoring and accountability.