The on-going debate on aid effectiveness highlights that in order for capacity development interventions to remain relevant and their results sustainable, their planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation need to be flexible and case-specific. It is not only important to account for end results, but also to adjust interventions during their implementation. Capacity development partnerships (CDP) between water operators are portrayed as a promising approach for sustained performance. However, it has been observed that these interventions require significant time to lead to the targeted water operator performance gains. Hence, managing the partnership solely through the use of key performance indicators offers the partners little insight into both the progress achieved and the effectiveness of the partnership activities in contributing to such progress. This incomplete picture is likely to limit the ability of partners to manage the project efficiently. This paper proposes a multi-path approach to monitoring and evaluating the performance of CDPs (this being understood as different from the performance of the targeted water operator) that enables well-informed management of the partnership. The designed approach is applied to compare the progress of two partnership projects, namely those of the Lilongwe and Blantyre Water Boards in Malawi, with Vitens Evides International.

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