Home / Skip Navigation LinksProjects / Economics, Management and Planning / Evaluation and impact assessment

Impact assessment of water and sanitation project in Ghana

Photo: Innovative Services, Accra
Using innovative methods of data collection, COWI and a local consultancy firm carried out an impact assessment of the second phase of a Danida-supported community-based water and sanitation project in Ghana, measuring changes in quality of life, health and hygiene behaviour.

The original project had provided 50 districts in Ghana with planning, implementation and monitoring of water supply, including the installation of more than 1,000 boreholes, 30 small-town pipe schemes, school latrines, as well as sanitation promotion strategies.

Reaching objectivesThe task for the local Ghanaian consultant, Innovative Services, was to evaluate whether the main objectives had been met - did the beneficiaries themselves perceive an improvement in health status and quality of life? And was there a measurable improvement in hygiene behaviour with respect to the use of safe water and sanitary facilities?

COWI's role was to build capacity among the local consultants and staff at the Community Water and Sanitation Agency and to provide technical support and quality control at all stages of the impact assessment.

Beneficiary assessment method

The beneficiary assessment method, developed by the World Bank, mixing qualitative interview techniques with quantitative methods of analysis, was used to ensure that the opinion of the people using the new facilities was heard. Six consultants carried out semi-structured interviews with 358 beneficiaries and 55 respondents in control communities.


Interview findings were captured in coding sheets and entered into SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) to quantify findings. This was complimented by quotes and case stories to bring out the voice of the beneficiaries in the report, and to provide an understanding of what motivates (and demotivates) people in their decisions of which water and sanitation facilities to use and whether to change their hygiene behaviour.

Observation using schoolchildren as 'detectives'

In order to find out whether hygiene messages had been taken on board, structured observation was used extensively. This included systematic inspection of water and sanitation facilities, structured observation at water points and, most importantly, observation by schoolchildren of the hand-washing and toilet habits within their own households.

The children provided insight into private matters within the confines of the home, which would otherwise have been difficult to measure.

Results reach beyond waterThe results of the impact assessment show that the implemented interventions have had a significant positive impact on health, hygiene and quality of life.

Beyond that, the improved water and sanitation situation has had a broader impact on society as a whole, because it has reduced the time and burden of fetching water, freeing time for better conditions for women, for children to play and attend school, for families to spend time together, as well as boosting income generation in the area.

LAST UPDATED: 18.12.2017