After the assessment

It is important to keep proper records during the assessment process. Notes of interviews and observations should be made in a notebook and not on scraps of loose paper. These notes should be transcribed onto a computer as soon as possible after taking them. After the assessment work has been completed, the notes and data can be analysed and the results prepared and presented in a report.

Analysing the findings

Using more than one method for the assessment will produce more complete information but it will also generate a lot of data that needs to be summarised. The standard method is to gather the information together and incorporate it into a set of tables. This should be done as soon as possible after the end of the survey. Table 3.3 shows an example of a blank table that would be completed for each survey area.

Table 3.3 Data summary sheet.

  Survey area name:
Number %
Demographic information
Total population
Male population and percentage of total population
Female population and percentage of total population
Total number of households

Sanitation information

Number of households and the percentage of total households:

that understand the benefits of having a latrine
that practise open defecation
with a traditional latrine type
with an improved latrine type
with a latrine pit hole cover
with handwashing facilities
where residents wash their hands after using the latrine

Solid waste information

Number of households and the percentage of total households:

with a covered waste container
that sort waste at household level (separate organic and inorganic)
that recycle/reuse waste at household level
with a waste pit in their yard
that use a municipal refuse container
that dispose of waste in open areas

The data can then be analysed and interpreted, and used to make decisions and recommendations for improvement. For example, suppose the analysis of a survey and observational results in a kebele showed that latrine use is lower than it should be; the questionnaire survey indicated that many of the local people were unaware of the benefits of good sanitation; observations showed that many of the latrines were of poor construction and, after discussions with community leaders, the survey team learned that the community health worker had been away for an extended period for training. Table 3.4 shows how the survey team summarised the problem and identified a number of possible solutions.

Table 3.4 Example of problem analysis for a kebele’s low sanitation coverage.

Main cause Other causes Possible solutions
Lack of awareness of the benefit of sanitation History of open defecation

Produce better information leaflets and posters.

Encourage community health workers and select model households to promote latrine use.

Low quality of latrine construction (the pit walls often collapse during the rainy season) Most of the latrines do not have pit linings

Investigate possible local sources of lining materials.

Look at the options for micro-finance systems to allow households to build better latrines.

The community health worker has been away on training Lack of other staff to cover for the health worker/s

Encourage community members to look after some of their work during absences.

Investigate sources of funding to employ or train more community heath workers (longer term).


The findings of the investigation and analysis need to be summarised and incorporated into a report. The report should always refer explicitly to the aims of the assessment that were agreed at the beginning and say how well these have been achieved. Depending on what the aims were, the report may identify the areas where action is necessary and make recommendations for a programme to implement the action plan (like the example shown in Table 3.4). The report will often make suggestions about any additional survey work that may be needed.

It is also useful to produce a brief factsheet that summarises the findings of the survey and to hold a meeting with the kebele administration at the end of the project and share the report’s findings with them.

The report will be distributed to the organisation that commissioned the work. They may ask that the report is also sent to other interested organisations. In any event, the report should only be sent to other organisations with the specific permission of the funding organisation.

Case Study 3.1 describes an assessment that was made of a town as part of a large WASH improvement project. Read the case study and then answer the question that follows.

Case Study 3.1 Baseline survey. An example.

In 2014, a baseline survey of a mid-size town and its surrounding villages was undertaken. The assessment was reported in the form of a six-page summary made up of text tables, charts and photographs. Like many good reports, it presented the main findings as a series of bullet points on the first page. These were that:

  • coverage of the town water supply system was high – the majority of users accessed the piped system through household connections rather than public standposts
  • reliability of water supplies was poor and most town residents used less than 20 litres per person per day
  • household coverage with improved sanitation facilities was also reasonably high
  • public standposts in the town were under high demand and queues were long, while poor functionality of water points was a concern in the satellite villages
  • the majority of public institutions had improved sanitation facilities.

More detail was then presented on the assessment results in the areas of water services, sanitation and hygiene and institutional WASH. For example, the section on sanitation and hygiene included the data shown in Table 3.5.

Table 3.5 Household access to sanitation.

Improved sanitation

Flush toilet to piped sewer system

Ventilated improved pit latrine

Pit latrine with slab

Composting toilet













Unimproved sanitation

Public latrine

Other unimproved sanitation facility

Pit latrine without slab

Bush/open defecation













The report ended with a plan for recommended WASH interventions in the area.

Based on the findings in Table 3.5, compare (a) the use of improved sanitation facilities and (b) open defecation in urban and rural parts of the study area.

Show answer

The answers are as follows:

  1. In urban parts of the study area, the majority of households (70%) make use of improved sanitation but in rural areas only 19% have improved facilities.
  2. The proportion of households practising open defecation is much higher in rural areas (50%) than urban areas (4%).

Last modified: Tuesday, 23 August 2016, 9:50 PM