Online sharing of Water and Sanitation Knowledge: Review of how lessons learned are made available over the internet

Sharing good practices, lessons learned and useful experiences from water and sanitation development project, programs and initiatives are important to enhance efficient project development and implementation of water and sanitation projects.

This report summarises a review of how, where and to some extent what kind of so-called “best” practices and lessons learned from the water and sanitation community can be found online. It aims primarily to enhance the understanding of “what is out there” in order to align communications and dissemination strategies accordingly, but can also help programme developers and implementers to find useful information on water supply and sanitation.

Information was collected from the websites of key water and sanitation actors (e.g. the Water and Sanitation Program, UN Water, the World Water Council etc.). From these sites, several more agencies, programs and networks were added to this list. General web searches were also conducted. The review also looked at wikis, toolboxes and blogs and their role in best practice sharing.

From the review, several actors including water and sanitation actors and networks, UN agencies and programs, development actors and regional networks and organisations were found to be sharing lessons learned on water supply and sanitation services.

The present report is one of the knowledge products developed by the Democratic Economic Governance Knowledge Management initiative (DEG-KM), led by WGF and financed by the MDG-F. The purpose of the knowledge management initiative was to ensure that the experiences that emerge from the formulation, implementation and monitoring of the programmes are shared and used for future initiatives.

Lesson learned

  • Most of the knowledge products are shared by UN agencies or water and sanitation programs, actors and networks. Lessons learned are shared mainly in publications and reports rather than in wikis, blogs or toolboxes.
  • Common topics for lessons learned are: regulatory and institutional frameworks; partnerships; access and quality of service; financial strategies; capacity building; gender and participation.
  • Less common topics are: decentralization; water integrity; health and hygiene and the right to water.
  • Many knowledge products focus on learning in general but very few provide quantitative data.
  • Even if there is a wealth of case studies, recommendations and best practices are seldom generally applicable since a considerable share of lessons learned is tied to specific projects.
  • Standardization of language is needed to facilitate information uptake even if many terms and phrases are recurring.

How to cite: SEGERSTRÖM, S., GLAUMANN, K. and CORTOBIUS, M. 2012. Online sharing of Water and Sanitation Knowledge – Review of how lessons learned are made available over the internet. UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility. Stockholm: SIWI.