Programming for sustainability in water services – a framework

Brief English Authors: Alejandro Jiménez , Antoine Delepiere , Angie Saleh , Dr. Cecilia Scharp , Hélène Le Deunff
Published: August 2018 Publisher: UNICEF

This framework document was written under the collaboration between UNICEF and the UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility through the Accountability for Sustainability programme.


This document is intended as a resource guide for UNICEF WASH staff and partners, helping them understand how to increase a focus on sustainability in their WASH programming. It considers the different programming intervention levels and models, the upstream enabling environment, as well as the importance of meaningful interaction with communities in order to ensure better access to sustainable water and sanitation services.

The document consists of four parts, linked to the Sustainability Pathway: the first part (understanding) explores the concepts linked to sustainable WASH services across the different levels that contribute to service delivery (sector, services, and community levels). The second part reviews various tools designed to plan for and partner for sustainability. The third part details a series of programming actions that can be undertaken for improved sustainability. The fourth part discusses the monitoring of sustainability.

The framework offers guidance on how to understand and integrate sustainability in WASH programming throughout the programme cycle, from the assessment phase to implementation and monitoring of results and how to feedback findings for reinforcement or course correction. Available supporting tools and examples are provided throughout. A guidance to simplified ’Sustainability Checks’, including a list of core indicators and underlying factors to be analyzed in sustainability monitoring, has been developed and complements this document.

© Antoine Delepiere



August 2018


Central and Eastern Europe , East Asia and the Pacific , Eastern and Southern Africa , Latin America and the Caribbean , Middle East and North Africa , South Asia , Western and Central Africa