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  • Harold Lockwood

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation - Safe Water Initiative Review



In late 2022 the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation commissioned Aguaconsult to conduct a portfolio review of their Safe Water Initiative being implemented in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda by a wide range of partners. This review has taken almost one year to conduct and is in the process of being finalized with a series of in-country dissemination events scheduled for the first quarter of 2024.


The Safe Water Initiative (SWI), using the district as a unit of scale, focuses on system-strengthening and service delivery to ensure reliable, affordable, and safely managed water to 1 million people in low-income households, health facilities, and schools. It runs from 2021 to 2025 with a budget of USD 88 million. As part of its five-year strategic plan for the SWI the foundation commissioned Aguaconsult to undertake a review of its investments and approaches in its target geographies of Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda. The review is an opportunity to analyze the Foundation’s investments in service delivery models to date, including how these align with the broader context of rural water provision and funding trends.


The primary aim of the review is to investigate the relevance, effectiveness, and sustainability of different service delivery models used by the SWI, including community-based safe water management and self-supply in Ethiopia, Government provision of safe water through publicly owned water utilities in Uganda, and predominantly private-sector approaches (such as the safe water enterprises) in Ghana.


The review seeks to answer three strategic questions:
  1. Have CNHF investments been relevant to the challenges of delivering rural water services in the target districts and countries?

  2. To what extent are SDMs supported by the Foundation delivering safe water services? and

  3. Are SDMs supported by the Foundation sustainable?

As part of this portfolio review the Aguaconsult team conducted a landscaping of global trends in rural water service provision, as well as assessing the sectors in the three focus countries and future policy trajectories. This external trends review document is available here. Detailed results of the review in all three countries will be made available in early 2024.

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