WASHwatch Data Survey Results

Posted on 30/05/17 by WASHwatch team

In April we conducted some research to allow us to better understand how people are using WASHwatch and data in their work. The aim of this was to provide us with the information to ensure the continued development of the platform is responsive to the needs of our users and the wider sector. Inkeeping with our work promoting open data, we wanted to share our results...

Methodology: We created an 8 question online survey which was circulated to WASHwatch newsletter subscribers, End Water Poverty members and WaterAid global staff. It was also publicised on facebook and twitter and recieved 55 responses. We also carried out 4 in depth interviews with individuals working for NGOs, governments and donors. 

Online survey responses:

Question 1. Where do you live?

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When broken down by continent Asia and Africa were the best represented. Surprisingly we received very few responses from North America, and we received no responses from South America. The responses came from 27 countries, with the most responses coming from the UK - 17.5% and Pakistan - 12.3%. Other countries responses are India - 7%; Bangladesh, Mozambique, Nigeria – 5.3% each; Ghana, Malawi, Netherlands, Uganda, USA, Zambia – 3.5% each; Armenia, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Timor Leste – 1.75% each.

Question 2: 

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Please note: Due to an error in the survey it was designed so people could select more than one answer. This has led to some people selecting both working for a CSO and an NGO. 

This question was answered by 46 respondents. Majority of respondents work in WASH. 7 respondents were classed as ‘other’ including 2 people working in the private sector and 1 person working for a donor agency. 

Question 3: 

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This question was answered by 52 respondents. The large majority of responses noted that people are using data in their work. Other responses included two responses who use data for education and two who use data to monitor programme development. 


Question 4: What type of data would you find useful in your work?

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This question was answered by 53 respondents. These responses show that most people use WASHwatch for the national data and there is also support for regional and global data. The answers also highlight a need for more detailed data below national level. 

Question 5: 

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This question was answered by 48 respondents. Due to the survey being disseminated by WaterAid & EWP email lists it was expected that these would be the main results. Other responses included UNICEF and WASH network. 


Question 6: To what extent do you agree with the following statement:

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This question was answered by 50 respondents. 24% of the respondents did not respond positively to this question. The individuals who stated that they do not trust WASHwatch were less likely to answer the rest of the questions or give a justification. Most of the additional comments were positive remarks about how WASHwatch helps their work. One negative point made was “I trust the platform, but the data could be filed from non-trusted sources.”

Question 7: 

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Question 8: What features could WASHwatch introduce to make the information on the platform easier to use in your work?

This question was answered by 29 respondents. Quite a few of the recommendations are for features we already have on WASHwatch including government policies; email communication/newsletter; basic access data; French language; detailed country level monitoring reports; social media presence. This shows that either some of our features are not up to date (eg. Government policies) or/and we are not communicating our features well.

Other suggestions include district level data. (x3); have data available for downloads in excel (x2); Develop and share more offline resources such as pamphlets and use mobile phones to share information; link the access data to functionality data on WPDx or national monitoring platforms to come up with more realistic access figures; have WASHwatch focal points in country programme offices; develop more publications; spread the platform further. 

Question 9: What other sources do you use to get your WASH information?

  • End Water Poverty x 3
  • Internet Search x 3
  • IRC x 2
  • Joint Monitoring Programme WHO/UNICEF x 7
  • Media x 1
  • National Government x 5
  • National WASH coalition x 3
  • Rural Water Supply Network
  • Sanitation and Water for All 
  • Susana
  • UNICEF x 2
  • WASHfunders
  • WaterAid x 3
  • Water Point Data Exchange
  • Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council x 3
  • World Bank x 3
  • World Health Organisation 


This research gave a snapshot of the data needs of users with respondents from geographically diverse backgrounds working in WASH.

The survey shows that users are accessing data for a variety of different reasons in their work including advocacy, communications, fundraising, programming, policy briefs and research. Within these different data needs there is a split in the way individuals are using data. The first group are those driven by data, interested in the statistics and research and use this to shape their work. The second are individuals who are looking for data to back up their work, they want easily downloadable visualisations and graphs. Content should be developed with this in mind to ensure that the website reflects these needs.

When asked what type of data the respondents use in their work, some responses validated data that are already hosted on WASHwatch such as national, comparable, regional and global data. The answers also show that a large percentage of our respondents use sub-national data in their work which is currently not shown.  The most used parts of the platform are country profiles, statistics and WASH monitoring reports, the least used part of the website is the blog.

Trust in the platform is an issue that must be considered with three quarters of respondents stating that they trust WASHwatch, but a quarter of respondents stated that they either did not trust the platform or had neither a positive or negative response. More research needs to be done in this area to discover why people do not trust WASHwatch and what can be done to mitigate some of these concerns.   

Many of the recommendations for new features to add to WASHwatch detail features that already exists which suggests that the communication of features should be included. Other recommendations included adding new data to include on the site; provide an easier way to access the data with downloads and visualisations; improve more outreach and produce more analysis. 

This was uploaded by the WASHwatch team based in WaterAid UK office.