Understanding the WASH Sector

Year of publication : 2010

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Intended for implementation partners and/or civil society organizations, this framework outlines how to carry out an analysis of the capability, accountability and responsiveness (CAR) of the WASH sector at the national level.

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Published by Tearfund in 2010, this framework enables the analysis of a country’s core components of WASH governance – capability, accountability and responsiveness (CAR).

Components of the CAR framework:

  • CAPABILITY
    The ability and authority of leaders, governments and public organisations to get things done.

  • ACCOUNTABILITY
    The ability of citizens to hold leaders, governments and public organisations to account.

  • RESPONSIVENESS
    How leaders, governments and public organisations actually behave in responding to the needs and rights of citizens.

The Framework was originally developed for use by DFID country offices so that the UK, as a donor government could  better understand the governance context in which it is working.  Initially, its focus was for general analyses of governance with some steps to look at how it could be applied specifically to the water sector.

Tearfund began using the CAR Framework in 2008 its WASH Disaster Management work, developing it in two ways:

  1. by taking the sectoral focus a step further and applying it to the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector, rather than just to water.
  2. by approaching it from the perspective of a civil society organisation, rather than the perspective of a donor government

The use of the CAR Framework in this way (ie applied to WASH by a civil society organisation) has proven beneficial in several respects. First and foremost, the CAR Framework provides a means by which the governance conditions affecting the WASH sector can be analysed. It helps develop a much better understanding of the policy and political context in which an organisation is working, either programmatically or in advocacy. Furthermore, for those engaged in, or wanting to start engaging in, advocacy, it enables the gathering of information from which an advocacy strategy can be developed and on which informed communication with the government can be based. In the longer term, it provides a means of monitoring government performance in the WASH sector, and data collected in the first CAR analysis can provide a baseline for future monitoring of progress in advocacy work and in governance more broadly. Where governments are open to civil society engagement and participation in WASH policy issues, the CAR Framework can provide the basis for constructive dialogue between civil society organisations and government.

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