Katharina Welle

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Katharina Welle

Dr Katharina Welle is a Principal Consultant with Itad. She specialises in the interface between research, policy and practice of development.

Kathi’s key expertise is in water and sanitation in the South. Since 2003, she has carried out applied research, reviews and evaluations in the water sector related to politics and governance, aid relationships in the sector and on sector-based monitoring and evaluation.

Find out more about Katharina in her 60 Second Interview.

Nationality: German
Languages: German (mother tongue), Amharic, Arabic, English, French, Spanish; Castilian
Country Experience:

Burkina Faso, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen


2008 - 2013
University of Sussex
1997 - 2003
MA European Studies
Universitaet Osnabrueck
2000 - 2001
MA in Environmental and Development
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London


2019 - ongoing
Principal Consultant
Itad Ltd.

2014 - 2019
Senior Consultant
Itad Ltd.

2013 - 2014
Visiting Fellow
STEPS Centre and Institute of Development Studies

2010 - 2014

2005 - 2008
Research Officer
Overseas Development Institute

2007 - 2007
Amhara Regional Health Bureau

2004 - 2004
Junior Officer
Water and Sanitation Program

2003 - 2003
Junior Officer

Project Experience:

2014 - Ongoing
Monitoring, Verification and Evaluation Service Provider for the WASH Results Programme
(DFID) - Deputy Team Leader and Project Manager
The programme aims to improve poor peoples’ health through sustained access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene services across 11 countries. Itad leads the monitoring and verification of the programme. The verification component follows a systems based approach: upon an initial audit of each WASH supplier's M&E system, follows a tailored approach to verify the supplier's outputs and outcomes and assess their monitoring data provided for verification.
2014 - 2016
WaterAid, Testing the Waters: how can ICTs for monitoring be strengthened and made more inclusive to achieve greater sustainability of rural water services?
(Hivos) - Project Manager
The research investigated the enabling and constraining factors of ICT innovations for improving rural water supply sustainability, followed by an in-depth exploration of specific governance-related dynamics that empower water fetchers and managers - rural women, girls and boys in sub-Saharan Africa - to report and receive support to improve the sustainability of water supply services.
2013 - 2014
Optimising Road Development for Groundwater Recharge and Retention in Ethiopia
(Institute of Development Studies) - Rural Water Expert
Description: The trans-disciplinary research project investigates how the fast growing road development programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa can become more inclusive by securing, and where possible, improving, the groundwater sources of the poor living within 10 km of road stretch. The project addresses technical issues (multi-functional road design, groundwater recharge and retention) and social issues (inclusive processes, security of tenure, water-related livelihoods and equity).

Activities: Developed methodology and workplan for social research component; conducted fieldwork in Tigray, Ethiopia, using participatory appraisal, qualitative assessment of local costs and benefits, semi-structured interviews and group discussions with villagers affected by changes in groundwater patterns due to road building; developed report outline and reviewed report.

Ethiopia National WASH Inventory; Lessons Learned and Maximising Value
(The International Water and Sanitation Centre (ICR)) - Water and Sanitation Expert
Description: The day-long seminar 'Ethiopia National WASH Inventory: lessons learned and maximising value' was part of a wider initiative to support WASH sector information systems in Ethiopia by IRC and ODI, previously led under the research programme consortium RiPPLE.

Activities: Together with IRC conceptualised the seminar, which brought together Ethiopian government staff, non-governmental organisations, key federal government agencies and other stakeholders involved in designing, collecting data, and analysing it for the NWI; wrote seminar report.

Women and Men in WASH Assessment
(Oxfam ) - Gender and Water Specialist
Description: The Freetown INGO WASH Consortium (2010-2013), made up of five INGOs, supports the Government of Sierra Leone in improving the health status of Freetown urban communities and attain water, sanitation and health MDGs. The objective of the gender assessment was to inform the Consortium's second phase of joint programming.

Activities: Undertook an assessment of the performance of the Freetown Urban WASH Consortium's programme related to gender mainstreaming (semi-structured interviews, gender matrix and transect walks) and made recommendations for future gender sensitive programming.

ICT for Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery
(WaterAID) - Water Sector Expert
Description: WaterAid convened Topic 4 'ICT for monitoring sustainable WASH service delivery' as part of the international IRC Symposium 2013: Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery, held in Addis Ababa from 9-11 April 2013. Prepared key note paper on 'ICT for monitoring sustainable WASH service delivery', reviewed papers on 'use of data for decision making' theme and facilitated the session on 'use of data for decision making'.

Activities: Prepared key note paper on 'ICT for monitoring sustainable WASH service delivery', reviewed papers on 'use of data for decision making' theme and facilitated the session on 'use of data for decision making'.

Sustainability Monitoring of Rural Water Supply
(CARE International ) - International Consultant
Description: Under the Global Water Initiative (GWI), CARE International implemented water and sanitation services in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda from 2007-12. During the project implementation phase, GWI developed a number of learning, monitoring and evaluation tools to monitor the sustainability after project completion, in particular the effect of governance on water supply functionality.

Activities: The objective of the consultancy assignment was to carry out a follow-up monitoring exercise of all schemes implemented under GWI and to review the Initiative's existing monitoring tools with a view to identify and address governance factors. Provided support and quality control to national consultants who carried out scheme surveys, carried out an international literature review on sustainability monitoring, developed a synthesis and briefing paper based on consultant reports and outlined a future strategy for sustainability monitoring under GWI.

Mid-Term Assessment of the Triple S Programme
(The International Water and Sanitation Centre (ICR), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) - Rural Water Expert and Case Study Leader Uganda
Description: Sustainable Services at Scale (Triple-S) is a six-year (2009-2014) multi-country learning initiative that aims to contribute to the realisation of indefinitely sustainable water services delivered at scale. Triple-S supports a paradigm shift at the operational level for decentralised service delivery and aims to bring about a re-appraisal of the design and planning mechanisms of development assistance to the rural water supply sector.

Activities: As part of the Mid-term Assessment team, led the case study of Triple S operations in Uganda. This included individual interviews, group discussions, and a Net-Map exercise with the major project stakeholders in Uganda, providing preliminary feed-back to the Uganda team and writing relevant sections in the overall report. Participated in head office interviews and Net-Map exercise and in the international level case study Net-Map exercise; contributed to and reviewed the overall evaluation report.

2006 - 2012
Research-Inspired Policy and Practice Learning in Ethiopia and the Nile Region
(UK Department for International Development (DFID)) - Researcher
Description: Commencing in 2006, RiPPLE was a 5-year Research Programme Consortium, aiming to advance evidence-based learning on water supply and sanitation. The RiPPLE Consortium was led by the Overseas Development Institute, in partnership with College of Development Studies at Addis Ababa University; the Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Coordination Office of Harar; The International Water & Sanitation Centre and WaterAid-Ethiopia.

Activities: Conducted and coordinated action research under the following themes: aid environments, governance and planning, sanitation and woreda inventories; led the mapping component, prepared and co-facilitated learning and practice alliance events that were designed to test new approaches and learn from their experiences; contributed to internal monitoring using the outcome mapping methodology.

2010 - 2011
Tailoring National WASH Inventory Data to Information Needs for Managing Access to Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene in Ethiopia
(Overseas Development Institute) - WASH M&E Specialist
Description: As part of its ongoing support to the water sector in Ethiopia, the RiPPLE programme organised a number training workshops with local government stakeholders and a national symposium with regional and national government staff, donors, NGOs and academia on managing and using sector monitoring information.

Activities: Prepared training and national symposium concepts, co-facilitated training, prepared reports, background documentation for a book chapter and an academic article reflecting on lessons learned from the process (Title: 'Enabling or Disabling? Reflections on the Ethiopian National WASH Inventory Process.').

2009 - 2010
Strategic Review of WaterAid's Water Point Mapping in East Africa
(WaterAid ) - Consultant
Description: WaterAid uses Water Point Mapping (WPM) as a tool for monitoring the distribution and status of water points, and to inform planning of investments to improve water supply coverage. In December 2009, WaterAid's East Africa Programme decided to conduct a strategic review of the evolution of its WPM approaches in the East Africa Region concerning purpose and scope, successes and challenges, lessons learned and comparative advantages vis-a-vis other organisations.

Activities: Developed a methodology, conducted telephone interviews with relevant WaterAid staff, international agencies and stakeholders in Kenya, conducted field visits in Tanzania and Uganda, facilitated discussions and verified findings with country programme staff, and produced synthesis report; presented findings at international IRC Symposium 2010.

2008 - 2010
Governance and Drivers of Change in Ethiopia's Water Supply Sector
(DFID) - Researcher
Description: The study was commissioned by DFID to better understand the governance dynamics in the sector, to test the capability, accountability and responsiveness (CAR) framework at sector level and to assess the level of insights provided on drivers of change when combined with a political economy analysis.

Activities: Led the proposal development for this research including oversight of a literature review of sector-focused political economy approaches, developing a conceptual framework and conducting explorative interviews with sector stakeholders in Ethiopia.

International Literature Review on Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene in Fragile Environments
(AusAID) - Researcher
Description: The project was a review of recent literature on international practice and experience in supporting pro-poor service provision in fragile states, focusing on multilateral and bilateral donor approaches. The overall review consists of three sectoral reports (health, water/sanitation and education) together with a Synthesis.

Activities: Conducted the literature review of the water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) service sector.

Bridges in Istanbul? Public Meeting Series on Water-Related Issues at Overseas Development Institute
(DFID) - .
Description: The Water Policy Team at ODI ran a series of public seminars on topical water-related issues in the run-up to the World Water Forum in Istanbul in 2009, funded by DFID.

Activities: Developed the overall concept of the seminar series and identified relevant speakers.

Achieving Greater Progress on Aid Effectiveness in the Water Sector
(DFID) - Deputy Team Leader
Description: The study reviewed the extent to which the Paris Principles on aid effectiveness are being applied in the water and sanitation sectors compared to health and education and to identify ways in which external support to the sector can be tailored better to support the Paris Principles. The study was based on a literature review and fieldwork in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Activities: Developed methodology, carried out a literature review, coordinated the country case studies, conducted Ethiopia country case study, lead-authored the report, presented the findings to various audiences and developed an academic article based on the findings (Title: 'Is the water sector lagging behind on aid effectiveness?').

2007 - 2008
External Evaluation of the Water for Recovery and Peace Programme in Southern Sudan (WRAPP)
(Pact Sudan ) - Team Leader
Description: The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the WRAPP approach in terms of its appropriateness, effectiveness and sustainability. The evaluation team followed the log frame approach, assessing to what extent the programme met its objectives and achieved outcomes with a focus on qualitative methods to assess the soft aspects of the WRAPP approach.

Activities: Carried out interviews with key sector stakeholders in Juba, conducted field visits to Equatoria, Bahr-el-Ghazal, Lakes, and Jonglei States, provided feed-back to project-internal and sector stakeholders in Southern Sudan, and wrote the evaluation report.

Mid-Term Review of the Regional Water Demand Initiative for the Middle East and North Africa
(Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) ) - Team Leader
Description: WaDImena aimed to facilitate the adoption and implementation of water demand management strategies, policies and tools in countries of the Middle East and North Africa.The purpose of the Mid-Term Review was to assess the project's progress in 2007 and to suggest ways forward to strengthen the project during its remaining lifespan.

Activities: Led the team and acted as main point of contact with the donors; carried out field visits in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco using participatory methods (force-field analysis and feed-back meeting with local research teams), conducted telephone interviews to assess policy impact and to obtain feed-back from project stakeholders in project countries not visited, authored the evaluation report.

2006 - 2007
Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Research, Policy and Advocacy
(Tearfund) - Team Member
Description: This project was a scoping study, to collect information on, and carry out analysis of, the institutional factors which constitute blockages and barriers to increasing sustainable access to sanitation and adoption of hygienic behaviour in three case study countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Activities: Contributed to desk study on the institutional factors that hinder and support the promotion/progress of sanitation and hygiene initiatives at national and sub-national level, led Burkina Faso case study, including developing a research plan with Tearfund's local partner, conducting interviews and supervising inputs by local researchers, facilitating an in-country research seminar and writing the research report.

2005 - 2007
WaterAid Learning for Advocacy and Good Practice
(WaterAid) - Researcher
Description: The purpose of the project was to document and analyse WaterAid country programmes experiences of water point mapping, to assess the use of mapping evidence to influence policy and practice, and, based on that, facilitate cross-country learning among WaterAid and its partners.

Activities: Using ODI's RAPID framework, developed an overall methodological approach, conducted field visits in Ghana, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Nigeria, produced reports, wrote a policy briefing paper and developed internal organisational guidelines for future water point mapping activities.

2005 - 2006
Harmonisation and Alignment in Water Sector Programmes and Initiatives
(DANIDA) - Team Leader
Description: DANIDA commissioned the Overseas Development Institute to develop a good practice Paper on harmonisation and alignment in the water sector to present an pverview of lessons learned, give insights into how and why achievements have been accomplished and provide guidance and operational recommendations.

Activities: Carried out an international literature review on harmonisation and alignment and a review of DANIDA programme documents; coordinated the inputs of various team members including telephone interviews and administration of an email questionnaire with DANIDA country programme staff in Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia and with the African Development Bank; authored the good practice paper and presented findings at Stockholm Water Week 2006.

Assessment of WaterAid's Experience in Engaging in PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper) Processes
(WaterAid) - Researcher
Description: WaterAid commissioned ODI to prepare an assessment as the basis for a submission to the Joint World Bank and IMF PRS review 2005 on the topic of broadening and deepening meaningful participation.

Activities: Carried out a literature review of PRSP processes in the water sector, conducted an audit of WaterAid's engagement in PRSP processes and its inter-relation with different stakeholders; prepared the report for WaterAid.


  • ICTs help Citizens Voice Concerns over Water – Or Do They? (2016)
    IDS Bulletin 47 (1)
    Welle, K., Williams, J., and Pearce, J.

  • Qualitative Comparative Analysis: A Valuable Approach to Add to the Evaluator’s Toolbox? Lessons from Recent Applications. (2016)
    CDI Practice Paper 13. Brighton: IDS.
    Schatz, F. and Welle, K.

  • Multifunctional Roads: The Potential Effects of Combined Roads and Water Harvesting infrastructure on Livelihoods and Poverty in Ethiopia. (2016)
    Journal of Infrastructure Development 7(2)
    Demenge J., Alba R., Welle K., Manjur K., Addisu A., Mehta L. and Woldearegay K.

  • Testing the Waters: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of the Factors Affecting Success in Rendering Water Services Sustainable Based on ICT Reporting (2015)
    Brighton: IDS and WaterAid
    Welle, K. Williams, J. Pearce, J. and Befani, B.

  • Straws-in-the-wind, Hoops and Smoking Guns: What can Process Tracing offer to Impact Evaluation? (2015)
    Centre for Development Impact Practice Paper 10
    Punton, M. and Welle, K

  • Monitoring performance or performing monitoring? Exploring the power and political dynamics underlying monitoring the MDGs for rural water in Ethiopia (2015)
    Jerven, M (ed.): Measuring African Development: Past and present
    Welle, K.

  • Technology, data and people: opportunities and pitfalls of using ICTs to monitor sustainable WASH service delivery (2015)
    Schouten, T. and Smits, S. (eds.): From Infrastructure to services, Trends in monitoring sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services.
    Pearce, J. Dickinson, N. and Welle, K.

  • Monitoring Performance or Performing Monitoring? Exploring the power and political dynamics underlying monitoring the MDG for rural water supply in Ethiopia (2014)
    Canadian Journal of Development Studies

  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for monitoring sustainable service delivery. Keynote Paper (2013)
    The International Water and Sanitation Centre, The Hague
    Pearce J., Welle K., and Dickinson N.

  • WASH Sector Monitoring. In: In: Calow R, Ludi E., and Tucker J. (eds): Achieveing Water Security. Lessons from research in water supply, sanitation and hygiene in Ethiopia (2013)
    Practical Action Publishing Rugby
    Butterworth J., Welle K., Bostoen K., and Schaefer F.

  • Water Supply and Sanitation (2012)
    International Encyclopaedia of Housing and Home, Elsevier, Oxford
    Welle K., Walnycki A.

  • Enabling or Disabling? Reflection on the Ethiopian National WASH Inventory Process (2012)
    IDS Bulletin 43 (2), Brighton
    Welle K., Schaefer F., Butterworth J., Bostoen K.

  • Water Point Mapping in East Africa. Based on a strategic review of Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. A WaterAid Report (2010)
    WaterAid, London

  • Is water lagging behind on aid effectiveness? Lessons from Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Uganda (2009)
    Water Alternatives 2(3)
    Welle K., Tucker J., Nicol A., and Evans B

  • Improving the provision of services for the poor in fragile environments. Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene. International Literature Review (2008)
    ODI London

  • Why is Harmonisation and Alignment difficult for donors? Lessons from the water sector (2008)
    ODI, London
    Welle, K., Nicol A., van Steenbergen F.

  • Mapping for better accountability in service delivery. Assessing WaterAid's work in mapping water supply and sanitation delivery to the poor (2007)
    ODI London

  • Harmonisation and Alignment in Water Sector Programmes and Initiatives (2006)
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Copenhagen

  • Learning for advocacy and good practice: WaterAid Water Point Mapping . Report of findings based on country visits to Malawi and Tanzania (2005)
    WaterAid, London

  • Is Development Co-operation Path Dependent? The Tanzanian Sector-Wide Approach in Health and its application by the British and German Aid Administrations (2003)
    Nord-Sued Aktuell, Hamburg

  • Contending Discourses on Partnership. A Comparative Analysis of the Rural Water and Sanitation Sector in Ghana (2001)
    SOAS Occasional Paper 40, London