Title: Is it really clean: Creating a WASH Index
Authors: Paresh Kumar, Vijay Avinandan, Digambar Sharma, & Abhishek Sharma
First Edition: 2015
Publisher: Ruby Press & Co. in association with "Sambodhi Research and Communications Private Limited"
About the Book:
The book titled, “Is it really clean? – Creating a WASH Index”, was initially rooted in the idea that available data on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) should be simplified for easier interpretation and comparison across study units. As a group of researchers engaged in monitoring and evaluating WASH interventions, we were faced with the issue that there were presently several indicators available to describe the WASH conditions of a certain area. However, there was no widely accepted single unit of measure/scale that could be used as a tool for units under study.
The period also coincided with the increasing focus of policy planners toward extending WASH services to the larger populace. While the central and state budget allocations for constructing drinking water facilities and improved toilets witnessed an increase, there was no robust method to monitor the actual impact caused by the interventions.
Hence the conception of WASH index was an amalgamation of multiple factors; need for robust yet simpler tool, gap in existing body of knowledge etc. Before the actual collection of data for creating the index, several rounds of discussions with sector experts and M&E specialists were held in order to chalk out the feasibility of the proposed concept. Pilot data for the index was subsequently collected across 49 districts of Uttar Pradesh on a statistically valid sample size.
While constructing the WASH index, we increasingly became aware of the diverse factors influencing WASH behaviour among communities. Though the index would provide a promising tool for effective and quick monitoring, it was felt that the Index would remain incomplete without a contextual understanding of the sector in India. It was visualised that providing a reader with a backdrop of events leading to the need for this tool, and possible linkages offered by the tool would be a more comprehensive read than statistical paper.
To arrive at the final index the methodology underwent several iterations under the guidance and supervision of Mr. Kultar Singh. Mr. Kultar Singh (CEO and Founder – Sambodhi Research and Communications) is also the author of “Quantitative Social Research Methods, Sage Publications (2007)”, and “Data Analysis using SPSS”, Sambodhi Research and Communications (2008)”. The contents and contextual literature was then reviewed by Mr. Depinder Kapur (Former Director, Programme and Advocacy, Oxfam India and present Secretary – India WASH Forum). The proof reading and text edits were done by Ms. Tilotamma Bhalla, presently a Lecturer in English, Delhi University.
The present book contributes to an evolving body of knowledge in the sector of WASH while keeping the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in view. Innovations have been used to visualize and convert reliable data in order to aid effective decision-making. The proposed score-card, is one among the many attempts being currently carried out by social researchers andimplementers across the globe, who aim to create an environment of effective concurrent monitoring methods for multi-faceted problems.