In response to Zimbabwe's critical health status and the degraded state of the country's water infrastructure, USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) funded 12 projects related to the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Promotion (WASH) sector in schools, hospitals, and clinics across the country. These water supply intervention activities began in fiscal year FY 2009 and continued through FY 2012 to determine whether they provided adequate access to improved water during the rainy and dry seasons. This evaluation examines the sustainability of water supply infrastructure in various locations, including households and schools.
This evaluation assesses five issue areas encompassing 20 specific evaluation questions with support from information gathered during dry and rainy season field visits (July and December 2013, respectively) and a thorough document review. The five areas are: (1) overall performance and impact; (2) efficiency; (3) coverage and design; (4) sustainability; and (5) gender equality and equity.
The major issues influencing the achievement or non-achievement of the objectives include the following: changes in rain patterns; sharing of water sources; using water for purposes other than drinking or hand washing. Regarding impact, the evaluation team discovered during the field visits that many households in urban areas use multiple sources. This unexpected finding made it difficult to determine the contribution of the USAID/OFDA-funded sources to an improved water supply. The evaluation team concludes that the overall performance of the funded water supply projects in the service levels evaluation indicates that none of the water sources, on average, provides a basic level of service. Water quality, reliability, and quantity are the areas of particular challenge for the interventions.