Photo: Oxfam/Bekki Frost Hygiene Promotion in Chawama

The journey and challenges in measuring sustainable water in Oxfam’s impact evaluations with the HWISE Network

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Real Geek, Water

It’s easy to see that water is an issue the world over. Either too much, too little or unsafe”

How can we effectively measure sustainable water? How can we understand the impact and effectiveness of our work in relation to water insecurity? 

For World Water Day 2020, The Real Geek Series discusses how research, measurement and evaluation are essential tools in improving the impact of our work in water insecure areas. Jola Miziniak, Strategic Lead for Sustainable Water, interviews Jaynie Vonk, Global Advisor for Impact Evaluations, along with Sera Young, Associate Professor of Anthropology & Global Health at Northwestern University, who led the development of the Household Water InSecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale.

The episode will explore how the HWISE scale came about and how it’s being used to track vulnerability to water insecurity. The team will consider how Oxfam’s impact evaluations and Sustainable Water and Sanitation index are incorporating HWISE to measure programme effectiveness. And, we’ll share insights into what the emerging data tells us about water insecurity.  


Visit the HWISE website

Visit the 
HWISE Research Coordination Network

Access the
 HWISE User Manual

Visit Oxfam’s Effectiveness Reviews home page and read the papers

Find out more about how Oxfam’s Impact Evaluations relate to GDPR in our paperblog and podcast.

You can also hear how resilience capacities are being measured by the impact evaluation team.

Photo: Oxfam/Bekki Frost
Hygiene Promotion in Chawama

Jola Miziniak

Jola Miziniak

Jola is Head of Sustainable Water Development at Oxfam GB.

Jaynie Vonk

Jaynie Vonk

Jaynie conducts Effectiveness Reviews and other impact evaluations with Oxfam. She promotes evidence-based learning, accountability, and understanding of programme results, leading on the development of sustainable water and sanitation measurement tools.


Sera Young

Dr. Sera Young ( is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Global Health at Northwestern University. She uses a biocultural approach to understand how water insecurity manifests and impacts the well-being of vulnerable populations, particularly mothers and their infants. She led the development of the Household Water InSecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale, a cross-culturally valid tool to measure household water access and use ( The scale is currently being implemented by Gallup World Polls to obtain the first nationally representative data on household water insecurity in Africa and India.