Review conclusions:

  • Programme quality: the overwhelming majority of WASH actors consulted considered multi-year funding from HARP-F to be much more effective than short-term funding in terms of achieving programme quality and impact. 
  • Efficiency: WASH actors consulted reported that multi-year funding increased their efficiency from an administrative and operational perspective. The staff time saved could be reinvested in programme quality improvements.
  • Programme continuity:  the review has found that community-level investments made possible by multi-year funding strongly supported programme continuity through COVID-19 and the coup. This meant that many WASH services, which may otherwise have been disrupted, were sustained.

Map showing focus areas for HARP-F WASH programming against People in Need data from 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan

Different contexts, different impact

Almost all of the HARP-F WASH programming since 2016 has focused on conflict-related humanitarian crises in Rakhine, Kachin and Northern Shan States. However, there have been some small WASH interventions in other locations – Chin State and Yangon. 

With HARP-F adopting different localisation approached in Kachin/Norther Shan Sates and Rakhine, multi-year funding WASH had a different impact.  In Kachin / Northern Shan there was an investment in local NGO capacity. In Rakhine there was an investment in community capacity. Multi-year funding was an important enabling factor for both localisation approaches, generating learning that can be applied more widely in Myanmar in WASH and other sectors.

See the review findings for Rakhine, Kachin and Norther Shan States.


1/ Humanitarian actors and donors in Myanmar should:

  • Advocate for multi-year WASH funding, especially where long term outcomes are envisioned, or access constraints are likely to be sustained. Multi-year grants with a duration of 2 years or more (in keeping with the OECD definition) are preferred because of the increased efficiency and programme impact gains that can be achieved over such a period.
  • Where multi-year funding is not possible, adopt multi-year plans at the agency, donor and cluster levels. Meanwhile, the situation at community level should be closely monitored to help identify when the situation is sufficiently stable for multi-year funding.
  • Consider adopting multi-year funding and planning modalities for emergency response programming, employing an adaptive management approach. This can also provide a framework that will enable local NGO response capacities to be further strengthened.

2/ Humanitarian, development and peace actors in Myanmar should:

Continue to build linkages between humanitarian, development and peacebuilding mechanisms in order to maximise coherence and shared impact. This coordination becomes increasingly important the more that humanitarian multi-year funding is supported.

    3/ The Global WASH cluster should:

    Examine how the cluster funding matrix could better capture data relevant to multi-year funding. Original project duration and project extension information is important, as is disaggregated data on primary grants and subgrants (duration and financial value). If this information is collected, it can more readily be used to track progress against Grand Bargain commitments towards “Quality funding” and “More support and funding for local and national responders”.

      7 lessons learned from HARP-F multi-year WASH programming

      1/ Community ownership: “Long term” multi-year funding (>24 months) was a key factor in supporting substantial advances in community ownership and management of WASH services in a challenging operating environment (central Rakhine IDP camps)

      2/ Capacity development: “Medium term” multi-year funding (12-24 months) was effective in supporting a structured process of local NGO capacity development (mostly evidenced in Kachin/NSS). It was crucial to maintain coordination with other capacity building providers for this funding to be effective.

      3/ Programme quality: Multi-year funding of any duration (12 months or more) helped implementing agencies build programme quality and led to administrative and operational cost savings in comparison to typical short term humanitarian funding.

      4/ Sustainability & resilience: A contextualised strategy framework for WASH programming was helpful in guiding HARP-F support to partners, HARP-F funding decisions and HARP-F partner planning. It outlined relevant approaches to sustainability and resilience for the key operating contexts in Rakhine and Kachin States.

      5/ Funding gap risk: HARP-F recognised the difficulty that a funding gap would present for local NGOs and tried to mitigate the risk of this happening. Given the effort invested by HARP-F and partners in LNGO capacity development it was crucial that HARP-F found ways to ensure sustained funding for local NGOs working in a protracted crisis.

      6/ Better M&E: The M&E approach needed to be better at capturing outcomes and learning. There would be increased benefit from multi-year funding, and stronger evidence for the future, if M&E approaches were designed to understand emerging long-term outcomes and learning. A results/outputs focused humanitarian M&E approach is not sufficient.

      7/ Multi-year thinking: Multi-year thinking and planning was encouraged alongside multi-year funding.  The HARP-F experience shows that multi-year funding is not the only tool that can support programme quality, efficiency and longer-term WASH outcomes. In a protracted crisis multi-year planning approaches should be encouraged at all levels.

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