How It Works


We envision the Water for Life rating system to be an independent organization governed by a board of directors that consists of representatives from organizations that are involved in the system. Most members will be implementing organizations, but there should be board level representation of evaluators, funders, and academic institutions, too. The primary role of the board will be to agree up an evaluation protocol, to be sure that assessments take place according to the protocol, and that results are made public in a uniform fashion. The primary information that the system will offer is a Water for Life rating for every organization that wants to be evaluated.

The rating will be based on the results of a field evaluation conducted by an independent evaluator who is qualified to apply the Water for Life assessment protocol. Evaluations are organized by the Water for Life rating system members and attended by at least two member organizations, to insure uniformity of assessment and to allow for exchange of knowledge and ideas between practitioners. Once an organization has received a rating, it must be re-evaluated on a 2-3 year cycle to maintain a rated status. The goal is for organizations to cover the cost of the overall system through membership dues and evaluation fees. It is assumed that membership will result in greater ability to obtain funding and therefore worth the investment in membership and evaluation.

wfl board

How does the field assessment work?

A field assessment of an implementing organization is a 4-5 day process. The objective is to learn about the program being assessed, then compare the actual outcomes to agreed upon standards for project efficacy and prognosis for longevity. The implementing organization will share a complete list of projects implemented with the Water for Life review group. The review group will randomly select 4-6 projects that have been complete for 5 years or more. They will visit those projects and use observational and interview data to rate the projects against the established Water for Life criteria.


What criteria are used?

The table to the right summarizes the main categories that are currently used in the assessment. For each of those categories, there are targets to help evaluators assign a score of blue (exceeds standards), green (meets standards), yellow (approaching standards), and red (does not meet standards).

WFL rating crtieria

What will donors see?

The main product of the Water for Life rating system will be a database that shares the ratings of organizations implementing water and sanitation projects. That database is intended to be a resource for funding organizations (foundations, multi-lateral aid organizations, even individuals), guiding them toward implementers who are much more likely to generate comprehensive and enduring outcomes for beneficiaries. For each member organizations there will be a rating, which should be simple to interpret. At this juncture, we have selected a bar chart ranging from red (danger, funding not recommended) to blue (this organization is exceptional in most to all categories of project implementation). The graphic below represents the results earned by COCEPRADIL in the 2011 evaluation.

cocepradil rating