Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

James Levinson


During a student internship at BRAC in Bangladesh, a Program Constraints Assessment (PCA) of the safe water options component of BRAC’s WASH program was conducted. The PCA was a particularly valuable tool to BRAC and other NGOs during the Bangladesh Integrated Nutrition Project, and was also utilized in the Nutrition Project in Gauteng Province of South Africa. This tool was originally used to help develop program driven nutrition research and training agendas, but is now more widely used for periodic stocktaking in a project (Levinson, et al., 1999). The goal of the PCA is to identify constraints inhibiting project effectiveness and to make field-based suggestions to overcome them.

The PCA is often utilized as a qualitative complement to a mid-term evaluation. This qualitative component can provide highly useful feedback to project managers, service providers and beneficiaries. Experience indicates that service providers and beneficiaries often have valuable feedback to provide at the ground level, but are too rarely asked (Levinson, et al., 1999). This PCA was carried out to elicit that information for the use and consideration of senior WASH management.

Data collection involved semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs). Individual interviews were conducted with the WASH Program Management Unit, Regional Managers, Upazila Managers, Sub-assistant Engineers and Program Organizers and Assistants. FGDs were held with both village WASH committees and local poor and hardcore poor villagers. There were four site visits for data collection. A range of program constraints has been highlighted by the research, as well as corresponding suggestions for overcoming those constraints. Research findings have been organized into four categories of suggested changes for overcoming constraints: policy change, technical change, research change and training change.

The research elicited the following primary suggestions from project staff and beneficiaries. Suggestions pertaining to policy include the need for more explicit and intentional coupling of awareness creation and safe water hardware availability, the need for increased linkages with watershed management, the need for development of contingency plans and an exit strategy to address the possibility that safe water option targets are not achieved within the existing program timetable, the need for greater involvement of men in the program, the need to communicate clearance of the project to uncooperative local government officers and the need to get village elites on board with the program’s pro-poor approach. Suggestions addressable through technical change included the need for larger rainwater harvester tanks and for testing of both ground and surface water for chemical contamination in program areas. Suggestions addressable through research include the need for new appropriate and possibly income group-specific technologies and the need for research to establish watershed boundaries, recharge zones and locally appropriate watershed management approaches. Suggestions addressable through training include the need for water conservation education as part of WASH staff training and for local capacity development relating to the installation and maintenance of safe water options.


Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation


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