Assessing the Effects of COVID-19 on Access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in USAID High Priority and Strategy-Aligned Countries

December 2020

In May 2020, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) tasked the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Partnerships and Learning for Sustainability (WASHPaLS) project with assessing the effects of the novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services and products in USAID high-priority and strategy-aligned countries.

The assignment sought to characterize the current state of affairs and to forecast near-term (6–18 month) trends that could assist governments, donors, and implementers prepare an informed response to the WASH-related impacts of the pandemic.

The assessment team pursued two lines of inquiry. The first is a set of “deep dives” in seven countries (the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC], Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, and Senegal) selected to reflect a spectrum of geographic, cultural, and vulnerability characteristics.

These deep dives consisted of interviews with key informants (WASH product and service providers, government officials, donors, and WASH program implementers) as well as SMS-based surveys of over 3,000 randomly selected individuals in all countries save Nepal.

The second line of inquiry is development of an econometric model linking income changes to WASH outcomes, relying on Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) information, constructed using data from the 28 USAID high-priority and strategy-aligned countries, to generate WASH outcome forecasts for those same countries.

This document represents the synthesis of that work, carried out by the WASHPaLS team between June and October 2020

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