Improve effective and sustainable WASH service delivery

Enabling Environment of the water sector is a set of interrelated sector functions that enable governments, public and private partners to engage in sustained and effective WASH services. 



Reliable WASH services


Closing the gap of failure and providing lasting and reliable WASH services to all require the use of sustainability principles and practices (such as the ability to maintain WASH service delivery, operation and maintenance) from the very outset of programme development.
The context in a country sets the stage on which sustained and effective water and sanitation services can be developed. Stakeholders adapt to and influence the context they operate in, and this has major implications on how the country and external support agencies promote sustainable and scalable solutions. Influencing what is within reach for stakeholders and adapting to what cannot easily be influenced requires a strategic and dynamic look at WASH service delivery. WASH stakeholders need to address sustainability and efficiency of services beyond being a technical challenge.

Training of trainers on Enabling Environment

Training of Trainers Enabling Environment: In its Global WASH strategy, UNICEF recognizes the significance of strengthening the Enabling Environment (EE) for ensuring improved access to water and sanitation for all and ending all forms of open defecation. Additionally, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Bottleneck Analysis Tool (WASH BAT) has been designed by UNICEF to meet the needs of WASH sector for diagnosing and solving key challenges in each of the Enabling Environment Building Blocks faced by countries.

The WGF team supports the development (content and moderation) of Training of Trainers (ToT) regarding enabling environment in general (concept) and also on several governance functions like accountability, regulation, service delivery arrangements together with UNICEF.

Over 4-5 days filled with intensive policy debate and simulation exercises, the participants learned how to apply some of the most indispensable WASH diagnostic tools such as WASH BAT, Accountability mapping, Service delivery models and Regulatory mapping tool.

The participants are UNICEF WASH staffs including WASH Chiefs/Managers/Specialists who oversee WASH EE components, senior Government counterparts (DG, DDG and key technical officials) who are WASH sector leads at national/sub-national level, key Implementing Partners (I/NGOs) at national/local levels.

These ToT are organised at a regional level.


ToT in Amman

ToT in Bangkok

ToT in Mexico


These ToT are organised at regional level. The last ToT done were:

  • in Amman for MENA region in May 2018
  • in Bangkok for EAPR in June 2018
  • in Mexico for LAC in September 2018
  • in Myanmar for the country office in April 2019

Training of Trainers on WASH BAT

These workshops provide an opportunity 1) to build a knowledge base of UNICEF staff, key government counterparts and implementing partners on WASH BAT and EE Building Blocks, 2) to apply the tool in different countries to identify and address priority bottlenecks impeding progress in the WASH sector and 3) to take collective action to address the bottlenecks and leverage domestic resources and capacity for the WASH sector towards the achievement of WASH SDGs. 

The participants are UNICEF WASH staffs including WASH Chiefs/Managers/Specialists who oversee WASH EE components, senior Government counterparts (DG, DDG and key technical officials) who are WASH sector leads at national/sub-national level, key Implementing Partners (I/NGOs) at national/local levels.

These ToT are organised at country level. Link to the tool, SIWI and UNICEF have developed a country implementation guide which aims at supporting resource people who are responsible for facilitating and organizing a workshop on the application of the WASH BAT to ensure an effective outcome.

We are also constantly working on the improvement of the WASH BAT tool in order to be also relevant to fragile states (adjustment of criteria on progress)

The last ToT conducted were Djibouti in November 2020, Tanzania in January 2020, Myanmar in April 2019, in Iraq in September 2018.

ToT of WASH BAT in Erbil

ToT of WASH BAT in Mandalay

  These ToT are organised at country level. The last ToT done were in Myanmar in April 2019, in Iraq in September 2018. 

WASH BAT Workshops

The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Bottleneck Analysis Tool (WASH BAT) has been designed and developed by UNICEF, with inputs from SIWI and other global sector partners, as a sector tool for WASH sector strengthening. It enables a systematic identification of factors (referred to as ‘bottlenecks’) that prevent the achievement of sustainable service delivery within national or sub-national WASH targets and helps stakeholders define activities aimed at removing the root causes of these bottlenecks.




WASH BAT in Gaza


SIWI’s Water Governance Team is invited by UNICEF Country Office, to moderate this multi-stakeholder process to identify the bottlenecks in the WASH sector.

  • In 2017, we supported Ethiopia, RDC.
  • In 2018, we supported Iraq, Bolivia
  • In 2019, we supported Haiti, Gaza, Myanmar, Somalia, Ecuador
  • In 2020. we supported Tanzania, Djibouti


We are developing on several theories of change to link the WASH BAT results and action plan with specific situation (sector – level). Further development might be to link Water Resources Management (water scarcity) and WASH within the WASH BAT tool.



In the recent years, UNICEF has conducted a significant number of WASH BAT exercises in various sub-sectors and in different jurisdictions (i.e. levels of government)[1]. Some of these exercises have been reported, and thus there is, to a certain extent, information about the method applied and the approach adopted when conducting the exercise. In the preparation for the online WASH BAT version in 2015-16, two international meetings were held where stakeholders contributed to the re-design of the tool. On the other hand, no systematic assessment has been undertaken to increase the understanding of the usefulness of the tool in diagnosing the sector bottlenecks and in ultimately improving sector planning and partnering.

The purpose of the study is to provide UNICEF with an accurate assessment of the pros and cons, the strengths and weaknesses of the WASH-BAT, particularly in relation to its usefulness to i) bring stakeholders around a common platform and give space for joint assessment and problem solving; ii) identify WASH sector bottlenecks, and support sector diagnosis and planning, and iii) trigger stakeholder buy-in leading to coordinated actions towards removing bottlenecks, strengthening the enabling environment and thereby improving WASH services delivery.

The study has been designed to gain an insight in relation to three different pivotal issues: 1) the WASH BAT process and the tool itself; 2) the WASH sector bottlenecks identified; and 3) the WASH BAT outputs and outcomes, i.e., the suitability of the tool to trigger action.

SIWI and UNICEF recently completed the first-ever review of the WASH Bottleneck Analysis Tool (WASH BAT), which shows that most users feel the tool has helped them improve their services. For the future, the report recommends more focus on accountability. 

[1] Until Q2 2019, the WASH BAT will have been applied in multiple sub-sectors in more than 35 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa (Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Zambia), West and Central Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Togo), South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan), East Asia and the Pacific (Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Vanuatu, Vietnam), Latin America and the Caribbean (Bolivia, Haiti), MENA (Iraq, Gaza).

A resources page is now available at



Service delivery model

UNICEF work with GWF to address the governance functions challenges of the WASH sector.

SIWI’s Water Governance Team works on a study to serve as a first step to inform UNICEF’s ambition to apply district service delivery approaches in their rural water supply programming. This study is part of the emphasis to build the enabling environment for, and capacity of, private sector actors, including small scale operators and service providers.

The study aims at analysing the experiences from a number of countries that have adopted decentralised water and sanitation service delivery approaches.

The analytical framework will be based on the so-called “service delivery triangle” and the framework for Enabling Environment.


The aim is to understand:

  • how the country models allocate roles and responsibilities differently to the actors
  • what policies, legal frameworks, financing reforms, regulatory frameworks and any other policy instruments/ reforms were put in place as a pre-requisite to create a favourable enabling environment at national sector level for the (decentralised) rural water supply service delivery approach.
  • unpack what “institutional factors” might be influencing rural water supply service delivery in the WASH sector (e.g. decentralisation, public finance management, etc.).
  • Identify constraining factors that are obstacles and any opportunities that can be assets to advancing or scaling-up the service delivery approach.
  • Draw lessons from across the country case studies on what is working and what is not working.
  • Provide recommendations (for governments and development partners) on priorities for sector-strengthening measures (ranking importance and order) to improve performance of the service delivery approach in the rural water sector.