Accelerating sanitation and water for all with UNICEF, IRC and national governments

6 minute read

According to UNICEF, approximately 39% of the population are without access to safe drinking water and 101 million people have no access to sanitation facilities in Central and West Africa. In order for governments to make informed decisions, they need an up-to-date overview of WASH infrastructure.

The 9 country programme is part of the current regional programme with the UNICEF Western and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO). The programme aims to accelerate national and subnational WASH monitoring for the improved management and delivery of water and sanitation services in nine West and Central African countries.


West and Central Africa Regional Office of UNICEF (WCARO)

National Direction of Public health (Benin) 

Ministry of Water (Central African Republic)

Community Water and Sanitation Agency (Ghana)

Institutional Support for the National Water Point Management Service (Guinea)

Ministry of construction, of sanitation and urbanism (Ivory Coast)

Ministry of Energy and Water (Mali)

Ministry of Hydraulics and Sanitation (Mauritania)

Ministry of Public Work (Liberia)

Ministry of Water Resources (Sierra Leone)




Central African Republic



Ivory Coast




Sierra Leone



Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)


Survey design

Planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning (PMEL)

Water quality testing

The challenge

In order to achieve sustainable development goal 6, “to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” national monitoring systems are required in order to facilitate data-driven decisions at national level. In Mali, Liberia, Benin, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Central African Republic, Mauritania and Ghana, the WASH monitoring systems at each level of government differ in terms of systems and processes. Without a nationwide overview of WASH infrastructure in each region, services and infrastructures cannot be built and maintained where they are most needed.


national governments using Akvo tools and services


forms collected using Akvo Flow


projects monitored using Akvo RSR

The partnership

The first step towards establishing national monitoring systems is evaluating the current systems in each country. How do local governments keep track of water, sanitation and hygiene services in their regions? Together with UNICEF, IRC, and the local governments, Akvo mapped each country’s current monitoring systems and assessed where each country was in terms of its data management.

Based on this evaluation, the programme teams made a plan on how these monitoring systems could be improved at national level. Akvo staff bring their expertise to the programme, from offering technical advice on capturing data at scale to visualising that data for decision making. In 2017, pilots were conducted to test the capacity for data collection and analysis in each country and the suitability of Akvo’s tools for national monitoring.

The change

Effective monitoring and evaluation systems are essential in following progress on sustainable development goal (SDG) indicators and planning for scarce resources. While the journey to establishing national monitoring systems is long and complex, significant steps have already been taken. With the field data collection, the availability of data on WASH infrastructure at national level has increased significantly, and some countries are sharing their data openly on the international Water Point Data Exchange (WDPx) platform.

Each country now has a plan outlining what needs to be done to implement a national WASH monitoring system, and how these pilots can be scaled up to national level. These plans pave the way for national WASH infrastructure monitoring in the region.

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