The International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) is leading a six-year multi-country learning initiative to improve water supply to the rural poor.
Sustainable Services at Scale (Triple-S) seeks to move away from project-based, stand-alone implementation of water systems towards indefinitely sustainable rural water services delivered at scale. Working with national and international partners, Triple-S aims to bring about a re-appraisal of how development assistance to the rural water supply sector is designed and planned by both governments and developing partners.
To achieve the above mentioned change or paradigm shift Triple-S is organised in three work streams: the Uganda work stream, the Ghana work stream and the International Work Stream (IWS) which aims to influence the policies and funding practices of international development partners to enable and support the delivery of sustainable rural water services in countries.
Monitoring and learning in Triple-S
The monitoring and learning in Triple-S will be documented in two narratives:
- Narrative one documents the (factors hindering or enabling) change towards sustainable service delivery at scale i.e. the content or impact of Triple-S
- Narrative two accounts for the work of Triple-S itself; its specific way of achieving impact and change. From the recognition that there are many ways to achieve the impact of sustainable services at scale, it is important to understand if and how the way Triple-S has chosen is effective.
This way has a couple of characteristics which other projects may not have or have only partially e.g. the use of learning alliances, the use of outcomes based management, the networking and working through existing systems and platforms instead of creating new project-based systems and platforms etc. Most importantly the ways of Triple-S are characterised by four values: relevance, responsiveness, creating leverage and leaving legacy. This specific Triple-S way to enable the change could also be called the “theory of change of Triple-S”.
External Learning Facilitators – ILT
For learning and reflection about narrative two i.e. is Triple-S using the right approaches (theory of change) and is it applying these approaches well, Triple-S has contracted external learning facilitators (ELF) who will support the outcomes based work streams to reflect upon and improve the way they work and enable change.
The external learning facilitators will offer a more independent position which is important for good and critical reflection and learning of the work stream teams. They provide inputs into the reflection process of the work streams by consulting external stakeholders or clients of the work stream and also by using their own experience and conceptual understanding of change processes. The reflection will take place in regular learning retreats facilitated by the external learning facilitators, where the work stream teams will be taken out of their daily operations to critically reflect and adapt their ways of working.
ILT has been pleased to be the ELF for the international workstream as it gives us the opportunity to research the impact of different influencing approaches.