Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation WaSH Initiative

This project, with support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, developed a comprehensive framework for monitoring, evaluation, and learning for water projects in 7 countries between 2013 and 2017. This framework enabled Hilton partners for the first time to collect rigorous data on their progress and performance and systematically use these data to improve.

The Water Institute developed state of the art indicators to track performance, as well as robust smartphone surveys, mobile water quality testing kits, and practical field guides to support monitoring of these indicators.

Through the use of these indicators and tools, Hilton partners have identified critical opportunities to enhance the sustainability and impact of their WaSH programs and have taken quick action to accomplish these improvements. This work represents the first time cutting edge implementation science methods have been applied to WaSH programs. Other global WaSH implementers and funders have been inspired by Hilton foundation’s example to adopt similar MEL frameworks.

Water Institute Researchers and Staff

  • Jamie Bartram
  • Pete Kolsky
  • Rohit Ramaswamy
  • Kaida Liang
  • Mike Fisher
  • Ryan Cronk
  • Kate Shields
  • Shannan George

Output: WaSH MEL Toolkit

We have crafted a collection of practical, adaptable, implementer-friendly tools for monitoring, evaluation, and evidence-based learning. Many organizations monitor their activities. Robust, fit-for-purpose monitoring requires asking the right questions, using validated methods, having an adequate sample size, and including internal quality checks to ensure data are accurate.

This toolkit includes all the components for organizations to include these essential elements in their monitoring programs. Many M&E programs don’t include all of the disparate elements that our toolkit contains. Adopting missing (or adapting existing) components may improve the quality of monitoring or help organizations learn and adapt their programming to improve impact.

This toolkit has been extensively implemented, replicated, and validated in over seven countries with a variety of multinational and local partners and implementers. Internal quality control checks suggest that teams quickly learn to collect credible data using these tools.

The documents below are designed to be self-explanatory and modular. We also offer regular online training courses if you need something a bit more hands-on. 

Indicators and Surveys

Other Outputs

  • Monitoring and targeting the unserved: Can we? Should we? And how?” Cronk, Ryan. 2013. Hilton MEL Convening, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, October 14, 2013. 
  • “Evaluating mobile survey tools (MSTs) for field-level monitoring and data collection: development of a novel evaluation framework, and application to MSTs for rural water and sanitation monitoring.”Fisher, Michael B., Benjamin H. Mann, Ryan D. Cronk, Katherine F. Shields, Tori L. Klug, and Rohit Ramaswamy. 2016. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 13(9), 840. doi:10.3390/ijerph13090840.
  • “Indicators for monitoring water, sanitation, and hygiene: a systematic review.” Schwemlein, Stefanie, Ryan Cronk, and Jamie Bartram. 2016. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 13(3), 333. doi:10.3390/ijerph13030333.

The WaSH Performance Index Report

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