e-Pact / SNV / South Asia WASH Results Programme (led by Plan International UK) / SWIFT (led by OXFAM)

Rewards and Realities of Payment by Results in WASH

Sunday 26 August | 09.00-10.30 | Room: L9
Verifing a latrine in South Sudan, photo credit Martha Keega

Payment by Results (PBR) is increasingly used as an approach to financing WASH programmes. This event will explore the realities of PBR to find out what people with first-hand experience have to say and go beyond the sometimes theoretical debates on PBR in the sector.

In 2013, DFID launched WASH Results; one of the largest global PBR programmes in WASH, implemented by three suppliers across 12 countries, with a total value of over £100m. Payment is dependent on achieving pre-agreed outputs and outcomes, verified by a third party contractor.

WASH Results has been a rapid learning curve for all involved. Four years into the programme, we have solid data and experience about applying PBR at scale in WASH that can contribute to resolving key challenges in the sector. For example, as the WASH sector grapples with the data collection requirements presented by SDG6; PBR’s demand for defining, measuring and monitoring results has generated useful lessons.

Drawing  on case studies of real experiences, this session will explore the practicalities of implementing a large-scale PBR programme, ask the audience to make their own decisions on the trade-offs and risks PBR presents, and reveal a more nuanced picture than theoretical debates suggest.

Gold standard events are committed to ensure the gender balance in speakers/panellists and young professional representation in the session.


As Payment by Results funding becomes more widespread, it is critical that we explore the opportunities and challenges of applying it to the WASH sector. In this session, those involved in DFID’s WASH Results Programme will share their experience of Payment by Results being used to finance WASH at scale. The session will go beyond theoretical debates to provide participants with practical insights on themes such as managing risk, monitoring and verification of results, and sustainability in WASH.

9.00 Welcome and Introduction to the WASH Results Programme

Dr Katharina Welle, Senior Consultant, itad

9.05 Payment by Results: what’s different about it and how it was applied in WASH Results

Antoinette Kome, Global Sector Co-ordinator WASH, SNV

9.10 Risk and realities: four illustrations of the dilemmas and benefits of PbR

Case studies will be drawn from the experience of the organisations implementing and verifying the WASH Results programme:

  • SWIFT Consortium led by Oxfam GB; working in fragile contexts and contributing to all three areas of WASH
    Joanna Trevor, SWIFT Global Programme Manager, Oxfam and Ian Langdown, Research Officer, Water Policy Programme, Overseas Development Institute 
  • South Asia WASH Results Programme (SAWRP), a consortium led by Plan International UK; working in Bangladesh and Pakistan and also across all three area of WASH 
    John Dean, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Plan International UK
  • Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) Results Programme implemented by the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation; working in Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and focusing on sanitation and hygiene
    Anne Mutta , Multi Country Programme Manager, SNV
  • WASH Results Monitoring and Verification Team, part of the e-Pact consortia that undertakes independent verification of results across the three Suppliers
    Andy Robinson, Water and Sanitation Specialist, Independent consultant working with Itad   

Reflections from the perspectives of the donor and the evaluation team
Dr Stephen Lindley-Jones, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Advisor, Department for International Development DFID, UK  

Dr Lucrezia Tincani, Water Security Lead, Oxford Policy Management 

9.55 Trade offs and tensions : what would you decide?  

Exercise followed by feedback and reflection from Case Study Presenters

10.25 Summary and Closing Remarks

Dr Stephen Lindley-Jones, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Advisor, Department for International Development DFID, UK

10.30 Session close 



This well-attended session explored the ‘new kid on the block’ for WASH sector funding : Payment by Results (PbR). It explored PbR at a practical rather than a theoretical level, so contributing to strengthened understanding about this results-based funding modality in the WASH sector. 

The session was based on the experience of the WASH Results Programme and started by highlighting the scale of achievements so far. Cumulatively the three Suppliers have provided 1.1 million people with water, 4.3 million people with sanitation and reached 10.3 million people with hygiene promotion activities, across 13 countries in Africa and Asia at a cost of £70 million. The programme has also considered and measured WASH outcomes; whether people continue to have access to water, continue to use latrines and continue to wash their hands. 

The session provided clear examples and case studies of how payment by results for WASH can be implemented. Case studies explored the challenges, risks and benefits of innovation in service delivery in a PbR context, progress towards promoting and monitoring sustainability in WASH outcomes and; how organisations have sought to maintain participatory approaches and downward accountability in a funding modality often criticised for promoting cost savings before reaching the poorest. Finally it explored how suppliers’ data and monitoring systems have been strengthened under the PbR modality and the rigour of external verification of data and monitoring systems.

Discussion considered how there could be greater alignment with government monitoring systems and use of data, as well as greater use of participatory and community approaches to monitoring. 

Participants’ contributions suggested that there is still fairly limited practical experience of PbR in the WASH sector. Questions from the floor revealed some concerns about the approach, both in terms of the value for money it provides to donors and the extent to which the mechanism supports community driven development

Conclusions and looking forward 

There was some consensus that the data demands of PbR have served to strengthen suppliers’ data and monitoring systems, supported by an external verification system. This has led to better data on which to base evolving programming decisions.  This has led to better data on which to base evolving programming decisions. Those designing WASH Programmes using other funding modalities could usefully consider how they too could incentivise investment in and use of monitoring data whilst managing risks.  

The relatively limited experience of PbR in the WASH sector to date suggests a need for continued learning in this area if the funding modality is more widely adopted in future.

More information 

Learning about Payment by Results in Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH)
Blog by the monitoring and verifcation team for the WASH Results Programme

World Water Week 2018: sharing key learnings on Payment by Results 
John Deane, PLAN International, UK 

 Hard work pays off: access and service delivery results under a Payment by Results Programme
Anne Mutta, SNV 

Oxfam’s experience with the SWIFT Consortium for Sustainable WASH in Fragile Contexts
Joanna Trevor,  Oxfam