Sector Results and Learning:
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

This Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Sector Results and Learning page is a repository of evidence generated by all MCC-funded WASH interventions. To promote learning and inform future program design, this page captures monitoring data from key common indicators, showcases recent and relevant evaluations, includes all agency lessons from completed WASH evaluations to-date, and links to learning that has been aggregated across completed evaluations in the sector.

What Do We Invest In?

MCC has funded $1.2 billion in WASH interventions as of March 2023. These interventions fall into the following categories: water infrastructure; sanitation and/or wastewater infrastructure; hygiene and other training; and drainage infrastructure; and are often complemented by investments in policy and institutional reform.

Water Infrastructure

These programs address inadequacies in water supply, quality, or access by investing in water, sanitation, or wastewater infrastructure, and supporting utility strengthening.

Sanitation and/or Wastewater Infrastructure

These programs address inadequate access to sanitation by investing in sanitation and/or wastewater infrastructure and supporting water utility strengthening.

Hygiene & Other Training

These programs complement infrastructure investments and aim to improve hygiene and sanitary practices around water collection, storage, and use and the safe disposal of waste.

Drainage Infrastructure

These programs address excessive economic loss caused by flooding by building water drainage infrastructure.

What Have We Completed So Far?

MCC and its country partners develop and tailor Monitoring and Evaluation Plans for each program and country context. Within these country-specific plans, MCC uses common indicators to standardize measurement and reporting within certain sectors. See below for a subset of common indicators that summarize implementation achievements across all MCC WASH investments as of June 2023.


individuals trained in social and behavior change 


sanitation facilities constructed


kilometers of water pipelines constructed or replaced


millions of liters per day of water production capacity added

What Have We Achieved?

MCC commissions independent evaluations, conducted by third-party evaluators, for every project it funds. These evaluations hold MCC and country partners accountable for the achievement of intended results and also produce evidence and learning to inform future programming. They investigate the quality of project implementation, the achievement of the project objective and other targeted outcomes, and the cost-effectiveness of the project. The graphs below summarize the composition and status of MCC’s independent evaluations in the WASH sector as of February 2023. Read on to see highlights of published interim and final evaluations. Follow the evaluation links to see the status of all planned, ongoing, and completed evaluations in the sector and to access the reports, summaries, survey materials, and data sets.

Go to our List of Evaluations to see the status of MCC’s WASH sector evaluations

Highlighted Evaluations

Aerial view of the dam at Mt. Coffee Hydropower Plant, with a reservoir on one side and the St. Paul River on the other side.

February 10, 2023 | Liberia Compact

Improving water supply to the water utility in Liberia

The pipeline underperformed as the utility struggled to deliver water

  • Evaluation Type:
  • Evaluation Status: Final

MCC’s $238 million Liberia Compact (2016-2021) funded the $18 million Water Pipeline Sub-Activity, which was part of the Energy Project, to construct a raw water transmission pipeline to upgrade and replace the pre-war pipeline infrastructure. The sub-activity was based on the theory that the pipeline’s larger capacity, upstream inlet location, and gravity-fed design would increase the supply of raw water, protect against salt-water intrusion, and reduce electricity costs for the water utility. This would help meet the growing demand for water in Monrovia and improve the quality and consistency of water supplied to the utility’s service areas.

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

Two large water tanks behind fencing.

March 17, 2022 | Sierra Leone Threshold Program

Reforming the water sector in Sierra Leone

Water utility’s capacity increased, but financial performance is low

  • Evaluation Type:
  • Evaluation Status: Interim

MCC’s $40.5 million Sierra Leone Threshold Program (2016–2021) focused on establishing a foundation for the effective and financially viable provision of electricity and water services in Freetown. The $13.6 million Water Sector Reform Project (WSRP) aimed to improve sector coordination, strengthen commercial practices and enhance the Guma Valley Water Company’s (Guma) service provision. The $7.6 million Regulatory Strengthening Project (RSP) aimed to build the capacity of the new regulator, improve sector governance and support the long-term financial sustainability of the water sector.

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

A Jack resident transporting water from the communal kiosk

July 28, 2020 | Zambia Compact

Improving Peri-Urban Water Access in Lusaka, Zambia

Water access improves in peri-urban area of Lusaka but remains uneven

  • Evaluation Type:
  • Evaluation Status: Final

MCC’s $355 million Zambia Compact (2013–2018) supported private sector engagement in the water supply sector through the $6 million Innovation Grant Program. As a program grantee, MECB implemented the Smart Safe Water Supply Scheme Scaling-Up project, which aimed to save women’s time and reduce incidence of waterborne diseases for the target population by providing a reliable source of high-quality water.

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

May 16, 2019 | Tanzania Compact

Improving Water Supply in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Infrastructure investments improved reliability and quality of piped water

  • Evaluation Type:
  • Evaluation Status: Final

MCC’s $695 million Tanzania Compact (2008-2013) funded the $39.9 million Lower Ruvu Plant Expansion Activity in Dar es Salaam, which was part of the $54.6 million Water Sector Project (WSP). The objective of the project was to increase investment in human and physical capital and reduce prevalence of water-related diseases. The activity aimed to increase production and quality of water in Dar es Salaam by rehabilitating the Lower Ruvu (LR) Water Treatment Plant (WTP). The activity increased water production by 50% with the plant producing 270 million liters per day (MLD).

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

Go to our Evaluation Brief page to see all completed WASH sector evaluations

What Have We Learned from Our Results?

To link the evidence from the independent evaluations with MCC practice, project staff produce an MCC Learning document at the close of each interim and final evaluation to capture practical lessons for programming and evaluation. Use the filters below to find lessons relevant to your evidence needs.

  • Critically assess site selection decisions.

    Critically assess site selection decisions. Many rural water supply projects in sub-Saharan Africa are based on the installation of hand pumps at public water points. One of the key expected benefits of these investments is time savings. Surprisingly, references to rural water planning rarely provide systematic approaches to optimizing distance related benefits. MCC staff are reviewing how best to design future projects by critically assessing how MCC and MCAs: (i) identify the number and location of point sources that maximizes benefits to consumers, and (ii) determine the appropriate site location strategy, such as selection by lottery, largest unserved population, most distant unserved populations, minimization of the maximum distance, and minimization of the average distance between household and sources. Decisions related to these two points should be informed by a much better understanding of the demand – and willingness to pay for public water point services. We must also have a much better sense of the costs and particularly those costs which will be passed on to consumers. The MCC is looking to identify the degree to which benefit streams are influenced by distance to inform facility location in future projects.

  • Ensure that a project’s stated outcomes and objective can be measured.

    Ensure that a project’s stated outcomes and objective can be measured. If necessary, incorporate elements in the project design that make these measurements possible. Physical losses were a key benefit stream targeted by the WNP but were difficult to measure because the water network infrastructure had not been designed for it. Valves and piping that were required to measure this outcome had not been included, as they were not required for operations of the infrastructure. Without a reliable way to measure physical losses, it was not possible for MCC’s independent evaluator to accurately/comprehensively estimate the project’s impact on physical losses. MCC has already implemented this lesson in Mongolia.

  • Ensure the efficiency of MCC investments.

    Ensure the efficiency of MCC investments. The ex-ante cost-benefit analysis of this Activity estimated that costs exceeded benefits, and the evaluation supported this expectation, finding relatively small impacts on time saving and no impacts on water-borne illness. These analyses suggest that there were likely more efficient uses for MCC’s funding. Adhering to MCC’s recently-adopted investment criteria should help ensure the efficiency of MCC investments going forward. In addition, during project design, teams can use early economic analysis to establish a cap for the cost of a project given the benefits that can be expected and work to ensure the project investment does not exceed that cost ceiling without a commensurate increase in expected benefits.

  • Validate expectations for changes in productive use of time as a result of time savings from reduced time spent fetching water.

    Validate expectations for changes in productive use of time as a result of time savings from reduced time spent fetching water. Changes in productive use of time was built into the program logic as a key outcome of the compact. Evaluation results showed that time spent fetching water at the interim stage was relatively low on average, thus it is unlikely that households will realize increases in income on the basis of re-allocations of time spent on household activities to income generating activities as a result of time savings. It is not known at this time, however, whether changes in the quantity of water—or increased access to sanitation services—now available to households are inducing household time reallocations and subsequently changes in behavior relevant to the generation of income. MCC project logics in WASH no longer require time saved from a project to be “productive” for benefits to result. Projects should carefully examine the WASH context and the assumptions and risks in the project logic to determine whether time savings is a valid benefit stream. Use of more granular data on the areas that are targeted (such as urban vs. rural data) may also be beneficial in this determination.

  • Improve coordination between intervention, existing evidence, and evaluation to learn what works.

    Improve coordination between intervention, existing evidence, and evaluation to learn what works. The evaluation found little evidence of the investments’ ability to reduce malaria or grow business by improved drainage and water infrastructure. To better evaluate MCC’s investments influence on intended outcomes, MCC must articulate its project logic in greater detail, noting how large infrastructure can lead to desired health outcomes and business growth. In addition, the project logic should be based on existing evidence and each step should be measureable.

How Have We Aggregated Learning Across the Sector?

MCC has developed a Principles into Practice paper using evidence from completed independent evaluations in the WASH sector Principles into Practice: Lessons from Evaluations of MCC Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Programs. The Principles into Practice series offers a frank look at what it takes to make the principles MCC considers essential for development operational in the projects in which MCC invests. The learning captured in this paper informs MCC’s ongoing efforts to refine and strengthen its own model and development practice in the WASH sector. MCC hopes this paper will also allow others to benefit from, and build upon, MCC’s lessons.