Towards a better system than just trial and error

by the WASHtech consortium. A short overview by Krischan Makowka (UWASNET/HORIZONT3000 Technical Advisor)

During the last two decades Uganda has been a preferred location for piloting and introducing new WASH technologies which focus on developing countries. Generally this has been seen as a positive Interaction between academia, NGOs and private sector companies resulting in many valuable lessons and improvements that make those systems more appropriate for the lives of Ugandans. The downside however is that much has also failed, with defunct pilot systems found all over the country and few widely shared lessons why systems failed.
The EU funded WASHtech consortium has therefore embarked on the journey to create a clear structure to the introduction of new WASH technologies in order improve success rates and better document the lessons learned. In Uganda the consortium is represented by the Appropriate Technology centre (ATC) & NETWAS-Uganda with technical support by the Swiss SKAT Foundation. At the time of writing this the project is nearing its end and the two main complementary tools are publicly available or in their final draft
1.The Technology Applicability Framework (TAF), which is a decision support tool on the applicability, scalability and sustainability of a specific WASH technology to provide lasting services in a specific context and on the readiness for its introduction.
2. The Guidelines for Technology Introduction (GTI) (which outline the Technology Introduction Process (TIP)) is a guidance document to be used to steer the multi-stakeholder-coordinated initiation of a specific WASH technology towards a local WASH service that lasts.
In order to validate these tools, the process was also tested on several WASH technologies which were introduced to Uganda in the past; some of which were successful while other seemed to have failed on a larger scale. Through this it was shown that the TAF/TIP could have significantly improved the process performance and would have prevented costly investments in technologies that ultimately failed.

Technology Applicability Framework (TAF):
The TAF is intended for assessing the applicability of new WASH technology in a specific setting before or during the piloting phase. For it a total of 18 indicators, which are represented in a matrix with six rows representing factors like social or economic impacts and three columns that focus on the perspective of key stakeholders, are graded according to a traffic light like system (see TAF profile sample in picture on previous page). Thus the overall advantages and disadvantages of a certain technology in a specific setting can be easily visualized and understood.
It is intended to be applied when a technology is being piloted, but it can also be used to support monitoring and evaluation of progress and performance of technology introduction processes. The TAF uses specific questionnaires for screening and field questionnaires for the assessment. All stakeholders are involved in the collection of data and in the generation and discussion of results. This allows all actors, including representatives from national and local government and users of the technology such as communities, to bring in their perspectives and views and to hear the opinions of others.

Guidelines for Technology Introduction (GTI):
The idea behind the GTI is that a clear process, with well-defined roles and responsibilities can avoid unnecessary road-blocks on the way of WASH technology introduction. It can also help the government, which is expected to take a lead role, to streamline its regulatory bodies & functions as well as to identify key services it can offer to innovative organizations and companies.
The core of the process outlined in the GTI is a conceptual model  that separates a successful technology uptake into four distinctive phases. First there is an “invention” phase, which can be subdivided into the “piloting” and the “launching” phases. These two phases are basically what it takes to test a new invention and make it available to the general public. Then there is the so called “tipping point” phase where there is a sudden increase in the use of the invention if everything goes well. Last but not least there is a fourth, the “Uptake, operation and service” phase, which involves all the needed activities to make sure an invention can be sustainably operated or marketed. Each of these phases has specific characteristics, road-blocks and even rough time-frames one should keep in mind.
You can learn more about the TAF and GTI/TIP on:


Posted in NETWAS Uganda, Technology Applicability Framework, Uganda | 1 Comment

Webinar on use of TAF for sanitation technologies

Are you interested to learn how to assess potential and sustainability risks of a sanitation technology in a certain context? Find out more about the Technology Applicability Framework in the webinar hosted by SuSanA today, 12 March -16h00 CET (Time converter:

SuSanA​​–WASHtech webinar on Technology Applicability Framework (TAF)

Webinar outline:

15h30- Webinar room open
16h00- Welcome by Trevor Surridge (SuSanA secretariat)
16h05- Introduction to TAF by André Olschewski (Skat Foundation)
16h15- Questions on André’s presentation
16h20- Experiences using TAF in Ghana by Benedict Tuffuor (TREND)
16h30- Questions on Benedict’s presentation
16h35- WaterAid’s experience adapting and applying the TAF to a pour-flush toilet option in the Nicaraguan Caribbean by Joshua Briemberg (WaterAid)
16h45- Questions on Joshua presentation leading into an open Q&A session
16h59- Closing and wrap-up from Trevor
17h00- End of Webinar

Webinar Chair: Trevor Surridge (SuSanA secretariat)
Moderation Support: Sean Furey (Skat Foundation)

To participate you need to register:
To register send an email to and clearly state “TAF webinar” in the subject and you will be sent an invitation link to the Webinar.

Technical requirements:
For the technical requirements for WebEx:

If you have any questions about the webinar post them in reply to this post or email them to

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Using the TAF to evaluate handpumps in different contexts

One of the exciting outputs from the WASHTech project has been the piloting the use of the Technology Applicability Framework (TAF) to assess the India Mark II in Burkina Faso, Uganda (U2) and Ghana (Ghana Modified) and the Rope Pump in all three countries.

From this we start to get a picture of the strengths and weaknesses in different contexts. TAF results show (unsurprisingly) that it is often the institutional factors that are more important than the technical ones, but that good design and quality control are still essential.

The summarized technology recommendation briefs are short case studies that present the main findings and recommendations from TAF testing of a specific technology in a specific context. They are available on, which is hosted by RWSN.  As TAF is applied in other locations, more case studies can be added to the site.

Map showing TAF case locations

Map showing current TAF case locations

Posted in Technology Applicability Framework, Technology evaluations, WASH Technologies, Water-lifting devices | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tools for sustainable service delivery

What sustainability tools do you have in your toolbox? (credits: veryuseful/ FlickR)

What sustainability tools do you have in your toolbox? (credits: veryuseful/ FlickR)

What sort of tools do you need to support more sustainable service delivery? Sustainable Services at Scale, the Triple-S project- has developed a tools survey to inventorise the kinds of tools that could help improve water service delivery.

The survey complements a tools landscaping exercise currently underway. An initial mapping of ‘sustainability checks’ used by donors and NGOs to monitor sustainability of their WASH programmes has been completed. Now Triple-S is embarking on a broader exercise to identify tools used to support various aspects of sustainability, for example asset management, cost analysis, institutional capacity. It is expected that the TAF will be included in this broader review.

Triple-S is a six-year, multi-country learning initiative to improve water supply to the rural poor. It is led by  IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre and operates Ghana  and  Uganda . Lessons learned from work in countries feeds up to the international level where Triple-S is promoting a re-appraisal of how development assistance to the rural water supply sector is designed and implemented.

Results from the landscaping exercise and survey will help Triple-S promote existing tools, identify gaps and areas of high demand, and, ultimately, develop new tools to meet the needs of organisations seeking to fund, design, implement or monitor water and sanitation services that last.

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Webinar: From Technologies to Lasting Services – Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Sustainability

On January 21st, Engineering for Change will host a webinar about the tools developed by the WASHTech consortium.

Time: 11:00 a.m. New York, EST (convert to your time)

Presenters: André Olschewski, Water, Environmental Management and Spatial Planning Specialist, Skat Foundation; Benedict Tuffuor, Programme Officer, TREND Ghana; and Jo Smet, Senior Programme Officer, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre

In this webinar, participants will:

  • Learn more about bottlenecks to lasting service delivery and how the Technology Applicability Framework (TAF) and Technology Introduction Process (TIP) can help
  • Understand key elements of TAF and TIP
  • Discover how TAF and TIP have been applied in Ghana
  • Reflect on potential use of the tools in their own work

The webinar is free and you can register here

Engineering for Change is an international network with over 17,000 members. It provides a forum to connect, collaborate, solve challenges and share knowledge among a growing community of engineers, technologists, social scientists, NGOs, local governments and community advocates, who are dedicated to improving the quality of life all over the world.

Posted in IRC, Presentations, SKAT Foundation, TREND | Tagged | 2 Comments

Stories of impact of the WASHTech project in Burkina Faso

As part of the WASHTech project’s impact monitoring, each country  team used the Most Significant Change method and collected stories from sector stakeholders. These served to document and understand the degree of use of TAF / TIP and the importance of the tools for actors in their country.

With the project drawing to a close at the end of this year the team in Burkina Faso has been collecting stories about the changes that the project and its tools have had in the lives of sector stakeholders. Stories of change were collected within state structures, NGOs and individuals working in the sector of water and sanitation to enable the team to document and understand project impacts. The issues covered in these stories are:

  • The impact of tools on the actors
  • The future of the tool at the country level.

– See more on WSA’s website.

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Histoires des impacts du projet WASHTech

Selon les principes du Workpackage 7 du projet WASTech, chaque pays devrait suivre l’évolution du degré d’utilisation du TAF/TIF et  l’importance de l’outil pour les acteurs du secteur de son pays.

L’année 2013 marquant la fin du projet, l’équipe du Burkina a jugé opportun de collecter les histoires sur le changement que cet outil a eu dans le quotidien des acteurs. C’est pourquoi les histoires de changement ont été collectées au sein des structures étatiques, des ONG et des particuliers qui travaillent dans le secteur de l’eau et l’assainissement. Les aspects abordés dans ces histoires sont :

  • L’impact des outils sur les acteurs et
  • L’avenir de l’outil au niveau du pays.

Voyez le site de WSA ou quelques histoires collectées dans le cadre du projet WASHTech ont eté publié. 

Posted in Burkina Faso, Cranfield University, Project impact assessments, WSA | Tagged | Leave a comment