Tracking Aid To Clean Water and Sanitation
Money is being spent by donor governments to tackle the sanitation crisis, but is it enough, in the right place or spent in the best way?
2.6 Billion people do not have access to hygienic sanitation, and over 700,000 million do not use an improved water source. Because of this diarrhoea is one of the biggest killers of children under five years old, while numerous water-borne illnesses and sickness caused by living in a polluted environment cause even more sickness and death in all age groups. Money is being spent by donor governments to tackle this issue, but are they spending the right amount, in the right place, in the most effective way? Donors are spending money on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, and reporting it to the OECD-DAC CRS database along with all their other aid spending, but this data is somewhat difficult for non-specialists to interpret. It also needs to be cross-referenced with information on child deaths, available from the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group and Unicef, with information on the burden of disease, available from WHO, and with information on access to water and sanitation, available from WHO/Unicef Joint Monitoring Programme on water and sanitation (JMP). WaterAid have analysed these data sources and found that often aid can be seen to be both off-track, in terms of the quantity needed to meet MDG and other commitments, and off-target, often directed at countries which already have high levels of access. This analysis has revealed important information that can be used by activists, researchers and even WASH departments within donor agencies to hold a mirror up to their own activities, but it is expensive and time consuming to re-analyse every time new data is made available (annually for aid spending and child mortality, bi-annually for access data). It is also harder to reach a wide audience with a paper report, and necessary to omit some of the analysis that might be relevant in to some audiences for reasons of space. Without this analysis, it is difficult for global civil society to hold donor governments to account for poorly targeted or paltry aid, an issue which is evermore important as an aid-skeptic press demands explanations for a lack of results. The aid data can be downloaded in CSV or Excel formats from http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?DataSetCode=CRS1 The access to sanitation and water data can be downloaded in csv and excel format from http://www.wssinfo.org/data-estimates/table/ The burden of disease data is available in excel format from the annex tables at: http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/2004_report_update/e… The child mortality states are available in pdf tables from http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)60560-1/abstract – download the annex
Ideally, we would have a web-based tool which would read the new data when it is released, and allow cross referencing of these three datasets to reveal for example: are the countries with highest diarrhoea mortality receiving the most WASH aid? are the countries which are receiving the most WASH aid the ones with lowest access rates? are the countreis which are receiving the most WASH aid the ones with the highest number of people without access? are countries receiving WASH aid as loans or grants? which donors are the biggest/smallest contributers to WASH overall? which donors are the biggest/smallest contributers to WASH in country x? – allowing civil society in the south to focus their campaigns are donors giving appropriate amounts for urban vs rural sanitation? This would be a reference tool and, through visualisation these questions, an advocacy tool.
If a working solution is found, WaterAid’s campaigns department would be interested to develop this further, alongside similar work underway with existing supporters, as part of our ongoing efforts to raise awareness and political accountability for WASH