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Boscoe Final Research Dissertation with Annex D and E.pdf (1.34 MB)

An evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of sphere WASH standards at field level

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posted on 2023-01-12, 16:15 authored by Andrew Philip Boscoe

This dissertation investigates the impact and effectiveness of Sphere WASH standards at field level. The research consisted of in-depth interviews with fourteen humanitarian WASH professionals, complemented by an online survey, and a literature review.

The research concludes that Sphere is widely known, and used, within the humanitarian sector, and has had a positive impact via promoting consistency of WASH response between agencies, improving accountability, and saving time by providing pre-defined standards and indicators.

However, there exist major misconceptions regarding the distinction between standards and indicators, and quantitative indicators are frequency misinterpreted as targets rather than minimums. This has wide-ranging negative impacts ranging from setting HRP funding levels to field-level project quality. Other identified issues include that Sphere is rarely adequately contextualised, few practitioners refer to anything other than the quantitative indicators, and monitoring based on Sphere indicators is often not reflective of the real impact on beneficiaries.

History

School

  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

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