Case studies, lessons learned, field notes

Value for Money (VFM) Analysis: Experience and Impact

Geographies Global

Catarina Fonseca (PhD) and Niall Boot

Updated 03 May 2023
Value for Money

In 2018-2019, UNICEF HQ developed a value for money (VFM) Excel-based tool to report on the Accelerating Sanitation and Water for All (ASWA) programme in 17 countries. Other countries have also used the VFM tool in their WASH programmes for different purposes.  

This learning note documents the use of VFM methodologies and tools in different UNICEF WASH Country programmes. It provides best practices, challenges and recommendations on the use of the VFM tool and other VFM metrics. The learning note is based on 23 interviews, including a sample of 13 country and regional offices. The major findings include the following.

  • VFM analysis is mostly used for reporting and monitoring unit costs. In countries which are directly involved in the construction of WASH infrastructure, VFM is used for making programmatic decisions, such as on intervention locations, partners, service delivery approaches and contract modalities. These country offices use their own VFM methodologies.
  • Cost per direct beneficiary is the most used VFM metric. Besides for reporting purposes, the cost per beneficiary is also used to substantiate more expensive investments, for instance, in climate resilient infrastructure or in ensuring those in remote areas also have access to services.
  • UNICEF WASH programmes are increasingly providing systems strengthening support to governments in line with the new strategy. The WASH Bottleneck Analysis Tool (WASH-BAT), the sustainability checks and the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) report are the most commonly used tools for monitoring systems strengthening. 

Catarina Fonseca (PhD) and Niall Boot

Updated 03 May 2023
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Related Topics Water and Sanitation