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Improving Service Delivery for Water and Sanitation: Lessons from Sri Lanka

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Woman turns on tap for clean water in Sri Lanka
Working in development is often difficult, as even the best-planned projects can have different outcomes than expected. In this IEG Project Lessons series, we take a close look back at the World Bank Group’s projects to assess what has worked, what didn’t, and why, to better inform future projects and investments. This brief captures the lessons from evaluating the World Show MoreWorking in development is often difficult, as even the best-planned projects can have different outcomes than expected. In this IEG Project Lessons series, we take a close look back at the World Bank Group’s projects to assess what has worked, what didn’t, and why, to better inform future projects and investments. This brief captures the lessons from evaluating the World Bank’s Sri Lanka Second Community Water Supply and Sanitation Project. To read the full evaluation, Download the Project Performance Assessment Report (PPAR) Background: Uneven Access to Water and Sanitation Services between Urban and Rural Areas Sri Lanka is a lower-middle-income country with a growing economy and declining poverty. Despite decades of war, Sri Lanka ranks high on the UN Human Development Index and has also achieved most of the Millennium Development Goals. However, there is uneven development across the urban, rural, and estate sectors. Rural areas account for close to 80 percent of the population and have almost three times the incidence of poverty seen in urban areas. Although access to improved water supply is relatively high at the country level, water service levels in urban and rural areas has been quite uneven. In urban areas, the population with access to piped water increased from 52 percent in 2000 to 73 percent in 2015, while rural population with access to piped water was only 14 percent in 2000 and it is still as low as 25 percent in 2015. For sanitation, the rural population has better access to improved facilities than the urban population. In urban areas, the population with access to improved sanitation increased slightly, from 85 percent in 2000 to 88 percent in 2015. In contrast, the rural population with access to improved sanitation dramatically increased, from 80 percent in 2000 to 97 percent in 2015. In 2001, the government of Sri Lanka adopted the National Policy for the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Sector (Sri Lanka, Ministry of Urban Development, Construction, and Public Utilities 2001). Key principles of the policy include (i) demand-responsive and participatory approaches to service delivery and (ii) beneficiary contributions to the capital costs and full responsibility for operation and maintenance. The policy makes it clear that service delivery is the responsibility of the communities themselves and allocates a supervisory, monitoring, and technical support and capacity development role to provincial and local authorities. Read more about the water and sanitation challenges addressed by the Government of Sri Lanka’s National Policy for the Rural and Sanitation Sector. About the Sri Lanka Second Community Water Supply and Sanitation Project The World Bank’s involvement in rural water and sanitation in Sri Lanka started with the Community Water Supply and Sanitation Project. The project played a major role in introducing the community-based approach to Sri Lanka on a large scale and successfully developed systems and procedures for community-based planning, implementation, and operation and maintenance of rural water supply and sanitation. Following this success, the Second Community Water Supply and Sanitation Project was approved in 2003. According to the Development Grant Agreement, the objective of the project was “to increase service coverage and achieve effective and sustained use of water and sanitation services in rural communities in Sri Lanka”. The project aimed to implement demand-responsive and sustainable rural water supply and sanitation services for 1.23 million people in the Central, North West, and North East Provinces, and to strengthen capacities of key stakeholders, including central and local governments, communities, and partner organizations to deliver and manage sustainable water supply and sanitation services. The project comprised five components. The fifth component was added under a “Part Z” adjustment to the Credit Agreement in February 2005 following the tsunami that hit the country in December 2004. Read more about the project objectives, components and costs. Performance Rating Relevance of the development objective and that of design of the project are both rated substantial. The project objective was relevant to the government’s priorities and to the World Bank’s country assistance strategies, both at project appraisal and at closure, with respect to expanding water and sanitation service delivery for the rural population using demand-responsive approaches. The main components of the project, such as physical investments, implementation support, and program management and capacity building were linked logically to the project’s objective of increasing service coverage and achieving effective and sustained use of water and sanitation services in rural communities In terms of project achievements, the first project development objective—increasing service coverage—is rated modest, due to modest achievement of key indicators, such as the number of people provided with access to improved water sources and new piped household water connections established. This modest achievement was partially the result of reallocation of funds following the tsunami in 2004 and overly ambitious targets for increasing service coverage at the design stage. The second project development objective— achieving effective and sustained use of water and sanitation services—is rated substantial. Although there have been some challenges in ensuring reliability and water quality, such as the lack of 24-hour supply and water contamination, the project has contributed to providing adequate, affordable, and relatively sustainable water services and to ensuring convenience and time saving for the beneficiaries. Efficiency is rated substantial. The economic rates of return (ERR) calculated at closing were still favorable, at 30 percent for gravity schemes and 18 percent for pumping schemes. Overall Development outcome is rated moderately satisfactory. Read more about project implementation and outcome assessments. Lessons IEG’s evaluation resulted in the following lessons relevant to service delivery for water and sanitation improvement: 1) Lack of continuity in M&E and its utilization by an implementing agency beyond project completion undermines sustainability of development outcomes. In this project, the monitoring function for rural water schemes weakened after project completion. Currently, the Rural Water Supply Division of the NWSDB maintains a rural water schemes database. However, there is no clear evidence that this data is shared with relevant institutions or used to identify and prioritize critical support needs for CBOs managing water supply schemes. 2) Technical soundness of initial design and quality of construction affect performance of CBOs. In this project, poor CBO performance in sampled cases could be traced to poor technical design, resulting from several factors: (i) insufficient time and resources spent on identifying a suitable water source; (ii) lack of local knowledge or capacity of consulting firms; and (iii) insufficient oversight by technical experts such as NWSDB staff. These factors often led to water source depletion, water quality problems and frequent repair needs. 3) Strong and consistent institutional and technical support is needed to achieve sustainable service delivery in CBO schemes. In this project, CBOs were expected to be fully in charge of construction and management of rural water supply schemes. However, technical aspects regarding operation and maintenance and financial supervision were often beyond the capacity of the CBO members. While units of the Rural Water Supply Division of the NWSDB and Pradeshiya Sabhas are providing support in this regard, there appears to be great variation in the capacity and interest among these units to carry out this function, depriving needy CBOs of timely support in some cases, and affecting their performance. 4) Proactive and adaptive project supervision in response to exogenous events can help safeguard project efficacy. In this project, there are positive and negative examples: on the one hand, the task team responded nimbly to the tsunami by taking actions, including reallocating some of the funds to an emergency project and changing some project locations; on the other hand, the response was less nimble in taking steps to adjust the project targets to the decrease in available funds and an inflation surge, which affected project outcome. Read the full Report Read more about the Sri Lanka Second Community Water Supply and Sanitation Project Read more about IEG's Upcoming Evaluation of the World Bank Group's Support for Water Supply and Sanitation Services, with Focus on the Poor photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank

Staying on track with the Sustainable Development Goals- What evaluation can teach us

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Staying on track with the Sustainable Development Goals – What evaluation can teach us
What IEG has learned about the Sustainable Development Goals through evaluating the World Bank Group’s work.What IEG has learned about the Sustainable Development Goals through evaluating the World Bank Group’s work.

Ask the Experts: Early Lessons from the World Bank Group’s Country Engagement Model

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Ask the Experts: Early Lessons from the World Bank Group’s Country Engagement Model
Join our panel of experts to explore the World Bank Group’s experience with implementing its new country engagement model. Join our panel of experts to explore the World Bank Group’s experience with implementing its new country engagement model.

Evaluation for Policy-making: Are We There Yet?

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Evaluation for Policy-making: Are We There Yet?
Done well, evaluation can and should be a tool for informing policy as one of the core pillars of the evidence-based policy-making agenda.Done well, evaluation can and should be a tool for informing policy as one of the core pillars of the evidence-based policy-making agenda.

Turkey CLR Review FY12-16

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Turkey is an upper middle income country with a GNI per capita of USD 9,950 dollars in current US dollars (2015).The government set out its objectives in the Ninth Development Plan for 2007-13 and the 2012-14 Medium-Term Program. Four priorities stood out: (i) pursue sound macroeconomic and structural fiscal policies to maintain stability and reduce vulnerabilities, (ii) improve the investment Show MoreTurkey is an upper middle income country with a GNI per capita of USD 9,950 dollars in current US dollars (2015).The government set out its objectives in the Ninth Development Plan for 2007-13 and the 2012-14 Medium-Term Program. Four priorities stood out: (i) pursue sound macroeconomic and structural fiscal policies to maintain stability and reduce vulnerabilities, (ii) improve the investment climate and labor market to increase competitiveness and create jobs, especially for women and youth, (iii) reform education, health service provision, and social welfare to increase productivity and promote equal opportunity, and (iv) continue reforms of energy and water sectors, and invest in increasing energy efficiency. In support of the government's objectives, the WBG Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) pursued reforms in three areas for enhancing competitiveness and employment, improving equity and public services, and deepening sustainable development. The CPS was extended by one year to include FY16, in part to allow the CPS period to be aligned with the political cycle, as parliamentary elections were scheduled for mid-2015.The CPS supported the government's priorities and was adjusted during the PLR to reflect changing priorities, although the adjustment was not robust enough to reflect economic vulnerabilities. The program areas were selective, but program objectives were unfocused owing to their many dimensions, which diminished the program's impact. Development policy operations and project lending were complemented by economic and sector work and technical assistance; however, the non-lending portfolio was spread thinly over many areas.In Focus Area 1, there was limited progress in increasing domestic savings and enhancing external resilience while progress was mixed on the investment and business climate objective. The objective on sustaining macroeconomic stability, domestic savings, strengthen exports and external resilience had multiple dimensions not reflected in the two outcome indicators that covered a narrow range of the objective. Corporate governance was improved through more extensive firm audits, and enhanced reporting and disclosure requirements. In Focus Area II performance was adequate, with some progress on gender equality and a more inclusive labor market, and evidence of improved equity in the provision of health services. While work remains to be done in health to improve client satisfaction, broad measures of health outcomes show progress in improving health outcomes during the program period. In Focus Area III, good progress was made in increasing the supply of energy and use of renewable energy, mixed progress on improving the sustainability of Turkish cities, and limited achievements in strengthening environmental management and adaptation to climate change.

Peru: Rural Electrification Project (PPAR)

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Peru has been one of the Latin America and the Caribbean Region’s fastest-growing economies. It grew an average 6.2 percent between 2004 and 2013. Moderate poverty was more than halved from 58 percent to 22 percent of the population between 2004 and 2015. Extreme poverty, which is mainly rural, also fell from 16 percent to 4 percent during that period. Although urban inequality declined Show MorePeru has been one of the Latin America and the Caribbean Region’s fastest-growing economies. It grew an average 6.2 percent between 2004 and 2013. Moderate poverty was more than halved from 58 percent to 22 percent of the population between 2004 and 2015. Extreme poverty, which is mainly rural, also fell from 16 percent to 4 percent during that period. Although urban inequality declined substantially, rural inequality was reduced only modestly. To avoid a reversal of its achievements, the government needs to raise the quality of basic services, expand access to markets for the poor and vulnerable, and close infrastructure gaps to facilitate access to markets and services—all of which underscores the high priority of addressing rural electricity needs. The reform of Peru’s electricity sector in 1992 separated the generation, transmission, distribution, and regulatory functions. Based on an efficient enterprise model, the reforms introduced cost-recovery tariffs, and generation and transmission were privatized. A new regulatory body was created, and private companies are now in charge of electricity distribution in Lima and other urban centers. In rural areas, about 20 public electricity distribution companies (EDCs) provide electricity service. Most of the EDCs have performed well operationally and financially, with losses of less than 12 percent and payment rates above 95 percent. In 2005, when the first Rural Electrification Project (REP I) was appraised, Peru had a rural electrification rate of 30 percent—one of the lowest in the Region. According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, more than 300,000 isolated households in rural areas could be reached only through renewable energy technologies, specifically individual solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Prior to REP I, service providers allocated negligible funding to meet this off-grid demand through renewable energy. The scarcity of rural electricity—coupled with the broader lack of access to infrastructure—have perpetuated the cycle of low quality of life, poor education and medical care, and limited opportunities for economic development in Peru’s rural areas. Ratings for this project were as follows: outcome was satisfactory, risk to development outcome was negligible, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Borrower performance was satisfactory. Lessons from this project included: i) The promotion of productive uses of electricity needs consistent and adequate levels of technical assistance and investment support, without which their sustainability is put at risk. (ii) Achieving the financial sustainability of solar photovoltaic systems remains a challenge that the government and electricity distribution companies need to address. (iii) To reach “the last mile” of rural electrification while ensuring sustainability, the government and the EDCs need to take specific actions.

World Bank Group Engagement in Upper-Middle-Income Countries: Evidence from IEG Evaluations

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This report synthesizes existing evaluative evidence on the outcomes and lessons learned from the World Bank Group’s partnership with upper-middle income countries. The report focuses mainly on IEG evaluations produced in 2007-16, including relevant thematic, corporate, and country evaluations, along with select project evaluations. This report synthesizes existing evaluative evidence on the outcomes and lessons learned from the World Bank Group’s partnership with upper-middle income countries. The report focuses mainly on IEG evaluations produced in 2007-16, including relevant thematic, corporate, and country evaluations, along with select project evaluations.

Making Water and Sanitation Services More Sustainable - 3 Lessons from Zambia

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A water kiosk in Chipata
This brief captures the lessons from evaluating the World Bank’s Zambia Water Sector Performance Improvement Project (2006-2010). This brief captures the lessons from evaluating the World Bank’s Zambia Water Sector Performance Improvement Project (2006-2010).

Building Resilience through Disaster Risk Management-3 Lessons from Colombia

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Colombian family whose home floods every year creating hazardous living conditions.
This brief captures the lessons learned from evaluating the World Bank’s Bank’s Colombia Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan.This brief captures the lessons learned from evaluating the World Bank’s Bank’s Colombia Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan.

Conversations: Is Off-Grid Electrification the Key to Sustainable Energy for All?

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Conversations: Is Off-Grid Electrification the Key to Sustainable Energy for All?
Highlights of an expert discussion about the commercial viability and potential of off-grid technologies.Highlights of an expert discussion about the commercial viability and potential of off-grid technologies.