Systems Thinking and WASH
Tools and case studies for a sustainable water supply
Systems Thinking and WASH introduces practitioners, researchers, programme managers and donors to the tools and approaches that have been most successful in this area. This book explores the different applications of systems thinking used by an interdisciplinary group of WASH researchers and practitioners. With additional commentary from the field, each chapter helps us to imagine different ways to understand and work with communities, development agencies and governments to create a better world through more appropriate WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) programming.
The book includes an annotated list of additional resources that anyone interested in non-linearity, complex adaptive systems, systems thinking, social network analysis or system dynamics will find useful as a practical guide to getting started.
This book is highly important reading for WASH programme managers, government and NGO staff and donor agencies interested in the application of systems thinking techniques.
About the editor
List of acronyms and abbreviations
1. Introduction: WASH projects and complex adaptive systems
2. Systems thinking and transdisciplinarity in WASH
3. Using causal loop diagrams to understand handpump failure in sub-Saharan Africa
Elisabeth S. Liddle and Richard A. Fenner
4. Applying social network analysis to WASH
5. Social-ecological system resilience for WASH
Jeremy Kohlitz, Naomi Carrard, and Tim Foster
6. Bureaucracy, WASH, and systems thinking
7. Learning for adaptive management: using systems thinking tools to inform knowledge and learning approaches
Melita Grant and Juliet Willetts
8. Measuring impact in WASH from a complex adaptive systems perspective
9. WASH adaptation in Uganda (a practitioner case study)
10. Resources for systems thinking
‘If you think systems thinking is all woffle and hand-waving, think again. Kate Neely has pulled together a lucid and convincing account that shows how thinking in systems makes you smarter and more effective in getting water and sanitation into the hands of communities around the world. The book is full of useful tools, applied to real life settings, and fleshes out a number of developmental buzzwords – resilience, adaptive management – with real practical content. A very useful book indeed.’
Dr. Duncan Green, Senior Strategic Adviser, Oxfam
‘Systems thinking and WASH lives up to its title by supporting the reader to deepen our understanding of complex systems and to reframe both the wicked and the everyday challenges in the WASH sector.’
Angela Huston, WASH Systems specialist, IRC WASH
‘With interest growing in applying systems approaches to the challenges of supplying sustainable water and sanitation services, this book presents a very welcome, timely and accessible compilation of real world experiences in diverse settings. Well worth a read for anyone wondering what systems approaches are; what tools and approaches are out there; and whether and how to apply them.’
Dr Patrick Moriarty, Chief Executive Officer, IRC
Kate Neely Kate Neely is a Research Fellow at University of Melbourne who works on the application of systems thinking to WASH issues in Timor-Leste (East Timor) and other developing countries.