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Systems Thinking and WASH: Tools and case studies for a sustainable water supply

by Kate Neely Practical Action Publishing
Pub Date:
Pbk 186 pages
AU$43.99 NZ$45.21
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Water supplies in developing countries fail at unacceptable rates. In an era of high technology and a global drive for sustainable water and sanitation (SDG6), we need to find solutions to the ‘wicked problems’ that characterize water for development programmes around the world.


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
Kate Neely
2. Systems thinking and transdisciplinarity in WASH
Kate Neely
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
Duncan McNicholl
5. Social-ecological system resilience for WASH
Jeremy Kohlitz, Naomi Carrard, and Tim Foster
6. Bureaucracy, WASH, and systems thinking
Chris Brown
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
Chris Brown
9. WASH adaptation in Uganda (a practitioner case study)
Adam Harvey
10. Resources for systems thinking
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.