Social Science and Medicine, Volume 166, 1 October 2016,
Training and capacity building are long established critical components of global water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) policies, strategies, and programs. Expanding capacity building support for WaSH in developing countries is one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. There are many training evaluation methods and tools available. However, training evaluations in WaSH have been infrequent, have often not utilized these methods and tools, and have lacked rigor. We developed a conceptual framework for evaluating training in WaSH by reviewing and adapting concepts from literature. Our framework includes three target outcomes: learning, individual performance, and improved programming; and two sets of influences: trainee and context factors. We applied the framework to evaluate a seven-month community-led total sanitation (CLTS) management training program delivered to 42 government officials in Kenya from September 2013 to May 2014. Trainees were given a pre-training questionnaire and were interviewed at two weeks and seven months after initial training. We qualitatively analyzed the data using our conceptual framework. The training program resulted in trainees learning the CLTS process and new skills, and improving their individual performance through application of advocacy, partnership, and supervision soft skills. The link from trainees' performance to improved programming was constrained by resource limitations and pre-existing rigidity of trainees’ organizations. Training-over-time enhanced outcomes and enabled trainees to overcome constraints in their work. Training in soft skills is relevant to managing public health programs beyond WaSH. We make recommendations on how training programs can be targeted and adapted to improve outcomes. Our conceptual framework can be used as a tool both for planning and evaluating training programs in WaSH.