9 Collecting WASH services cost data: experiences from Mozambique
Updated - Thursday 11 November 2010
Author: Arjen Naafs
There is considerable interest in how to collect and use life-cycle cost information, which is critical to planning and budgeting for sustainable services. This document discusses how the information has been collected in Mozambique within the framework of the WASHCost project. An assessment is made of which tools have proven to be most suitable to collect which type of information, and this information will be useful for planning similar efforts in other provinces of Mozambique or in other countries. Unit rates for each of the tools are presented as well as the variables collected with each tool.
Household questionnaires are the main source of information for contextual information, service level indicators and sanitation cost components. System surveys, in conjunction with specific research into contracts provide the main information on cost and technologies. Other specific research will be needed to fill identified gaps.
It is interesting to note that the a considerable part of data collection lies not in applying a tool in itself (i.e. actually collecting the data) but in reaching the location and mobilising teams to collect the data. This has implications for how future research of this kind might be structured.
The challenges ahead include drawing out all the richness of the data through detailed analyses and scaling down the methodology for future replication, by identifying some ‘golden indicators’ and by using opportunities to collect data which do not require separate and expensive logistics. One of the key strengths that emerges from data collection in Mozambique comes from working closely with partner governmental organisations and within a learning alliance approach. This opens doors to data collection and to in-country expertise that would never be available to a research project that attempted to go it alone. Partnership in Mozambique has had a direct impact on our ability to collect critical data and will continue to have an impact on our ability to help to embed this data and its relevance in district, provincial and national planning and budgetary authorities.