Ashwas process handbook - A planning and execution guide for participatory surveys of household water and sanitation
This handbook published by Arghyam is a compilation of the insights and knowledge gained from conducting the ASHWAS (A Survey of Household Water and Sanitation) study, which included a participatory survey undertaken by Arghyam to ascertain the status of household water and sanitation in rural Karnataka, from a citizen's perspective.
25 Jun 2011

The handbook was created as a result of several organisations expressing their interest in conducting an exercise similar to ASHWAS. The purpose of this handbook is thus to serve as a template for those wishing to carry out a similar effort in the other parts of the country.

The survey covered 17,200 households in 172 Gram Panchayats (GPs) across 28 districts in Karnataka and was conducted in the time span of December 2008 to January 2009. On an average, 100 households were surveyed from each GP. In addition, separate information was collected from GP officials and village elders.

Besides its focus on collecting very detailed information from households, the study also aimed at ensuring that the analysis of this data was shared with the GPs that were surveyed. The study thus aimed to act as a tool to catalyse action at the GP and the citizen level, and then finally influence the policy level.

The ASHWAS study also aimed to trigger more such studies to gain an understanding of the groundlevel reality and expectations of the people and translate them into action from the micro to the macrolevel to bring about changes at the policy level.

The handbook is directed at:

  • Civil society, NGOs
    • To assess the state of WATSAN in their programme area, before and after their programmatic interventions
  • State governments, policy makers:
    • To assess the ground level situation
    • To develop participatory plans
    • To evaluate the impact of ongoing programmes
  • Researchers
    • To get an in-depth understanding of the WATSAN issues

The handbook provides the step-by-step details of the 7 phases of the process that was followed to conduct this research study. Each phase has been treated individually as a separate chapter in the handbook with details of the skills, time, resources and budget required for each phase. Forms, templates and questionnaires that were used during ASHWAS have been provided as annexure.

Embarking on a survey like ASHWAS, whether in part or as a whole requires a certain skill set, in addition to time, resources and budget. Details of these have been provided phase-wise in this process handbook. 

ASHWAS does not end with a survey, but rather begins with a survey, followed by analysis of data, discussion with local community and developing an action plan to address the core issues and gaps in a participatory manner.

The seven phases of the ASHWAS project described in the handbook include:

  • The Planning phase
  • The preparatory phase
  • The survey
  • Data entry and data cleaning
  •  Data analysis and report writing
  • Dissemination
  • Advocacy

Click here to access the optimised ASHWAS process

Download the handbook and the optimised ASHWAS process from below:

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