Professional Drilling Management – Online Course 2022

An estimated 50% of the global and 75% of the African population rely on groundwater for their drinking water supplies. This is likely to increase in the future, especially in the face of climate change.

Drilled water wells are vital to achieving universal, clean drinking water, with the sources safe, affordable, reliable and available. Services also need to be constructed in order to last. To achieve this, water wells, or boreholes must be drilled, developed and completed in a professional manner. Key elements of a professional drilling sector are procurement, contract management, siting, borehole design, construction, and supervision. Water resources must also be considered and long-term support is required to maintain water supply services.

Drilling Supervision Course in Sierra Leone (source: Kerstin Danert)

This new online course on professional drilling management, will equip participants with knowledge on: groundwater information, siting, costing and pricing, procurement and contract management, borehole drilling and supervision and how professional water well drilling is affected by the wider regulatory framework and institutional environment. By the end of the course participants will:

  • Have an understanding of the key elements of a professional water well drilling sector including key reasons that boreholes fail, or perform poorly and why drilling supervision is important.
  • Recognise the value of groundwater data and know what constitutes good borehole siting.
  • Appreciate the importance of drilling supervision.
  • Have improved their knowledge of drilling procurement and contract management
  • Understand what constitutes a strong institutional framework (at national or state level) for borehole drilling, including driller licencing, borehole permits and drillers associations.
Course content
Groundwater Data and Siting 
Procurement and Contract Management 
Borehole Drilling and Supervision 
Legal and Institutional Considerations 
Actions to Raise Drilling Professionalism

The course is designed for professionals already engaged in the management of water well drilling, or those that expect to do so, with an emphasis on low– and middle–income countries. Target participants include government, NGO, UN and donor organisation staff, as well as those working in the private sector. Participants may be working in development or humanitarian aid/emergency contexts.

Interested applicants are welcome to apply between Tuesday, 10th May and Wednesday, 15th June 2022, with successful participants informed by 20th June. The course will start on Friday, 24th June and run up to the 29th October 2022. Application link:

Groundwater Resources Management New Online Course – 2022 

Apply by 11th April 2022

An estimated 75% of the African population relies on groundwater for their drinking water. Groundwater supports social and economic development and will become increasingly important in the face of climate change, droughts and floods. If groundwater is to provide reliable, safe and sustainable water supplies now and for future generations, the resource must be well-managed. This requires consideration of the entire system of policies & laws, strategies & guidance, monitoring & management as well as investments & projects. Those that manage and develop groundwater need to be equipped with appropriate skills and knowledge.

This new online course on groundwater resources management, launched in 2022 will provides participants with a comprehensive overview what impacts upon groundwater. Echoing the theme of the World Water Day 2022, this course will make the invisible visible. 

Participants who successfully complete the course will have an awareness of the importance of groundwater, understand the need to preserve it and be equipped with basic knowledge to engage in the management of groundwater resources at national and transboundary levels.

Transboundary aquifers in Africa: Approaches and mechanisms

Course content
– Characterisation of Aquifer Systems from a Management Perspective
– Groundwater monitoring and data/information management & communication
– Groundwater quality and source water protection
– Groundwater regulation, licensing, allocation and institutions for aquifer management
– Transboundary aquifers in Africa: Approaches and mechanisms

The online course is open to 250 participants from governments, NGOs, basin organisations, private sector, training organisations, academic organisations and donors. The course will start on Friday 29th April and run up to the 29th August. The application process is open to Tuesday 11th April 2022. 

Successful participants will be informed by the 22nd April 2022. 

Application link:

Rats! Village level ecological-based rodent management

by Meheretu Yonas, Luwieke Bosma and Frank van Steenbergen

Find out more from Meta Meta Research

Hygiene is arguably the more forgotten component in WASH. Within WASH, water and sanitation systems have received much attention and there have been important programs to promote hand washing and menstrual health and hygiene, rightly so. But several other dimensions of hygiene do not get the attention they deserve, in particular village pests that carry common diseases which they transmit to humans through direct contact, food contamination or other pathways.

Pest rodents (rats and mice) are important carriers of pathogens that cause diseases in humans and domestic animals. Different rodents have different behaviour and have different propensities to transmit those diseases. Some rodents, like the roof rat (Rattus rattus), prefer to live in the houses and storage areas. Other rodents may prefer the fields.

There are about 60 known diseases transmitted to humans and animals by rodents. Examples of diseases and parasites of public health importance include leptospirosis, salmonellosis, giardiasis, murine typhus (rickettsia), capillariasis and other helminths intermittently shed by rodents. For instance, salmonellosis is the cause of 25% of all diarrhoea cases worldwide. Leptospirosis affects more than one million people annually and cause more deaths than Ebola for instance.

We advocate that integrating a Village Level Ecologically Based Rodent Management (vEBRM) approach with the activities of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) helps improve nutrition, food safety and public health in the villages in Africa and Asia. vEBRM requires awareness and understanding of rodent habits and a change in people’s behaviour, as people often create the ideal conditions for rodents to multiply. Hence, vEBRM does not seek to just exterminate the rodents, but to control their access to food, their habitats, and movements and to make use of natural enemies.

Here are three important aspects:

Aspect 1: Rodents damage and contaminate food. They are a major cause of human diseases through a multitude of transmission pathways and infect livestock as well. They may attack people, especially children and the elderly. They consume food stores, damage property and some rodents will spread bad smells and create annoying noise.

Aspect 2: Inadequate waste disposal, grain and cattle feed storage methods aid the proliferation of rodent populations in villages thereby heightening public health issues.

Aspect 3: One cannot do this alone: like community WASH, vEBRM needs a systematic collective effort.

Here are the 10 Key Rules in vEBRM:

  1. Communities should first appreciate the fact that rodents are a problem for both agriculture and public health, and that it is possible to reduce rodent populations to close to zero.
  2. Collaborative, community-based participation is imperative at all stages of household and community-level sanitary and hygienic activities and in the introduction of proper storage and house construction to create a healthy village free of rodents. Adequate cleaning, trash removal and rodent-proof trash containers are necessary.
  3. Establish robust community awareness campaigns to achieve people’s behavioural changes towards rodents, food and grain storage methods and household and community-level waste disposal so that rodents are denied access to food and harbourage.
  4. Ensure regular inspection of houses, storage areas and gardens. Immediately repair openings where rodents passthrough and take shelter, such as fencing and stone-bunds. When observed, immediately remove any harbourage, rat runways, climbing spots, etc. It is important to understand that rodents are neo-phobic and learn the locations of new objects, food sources and escape routes very quickly.
  5. Traditional brooming is a special point of attention: especially hard brooms in rodent infested households have the potential to spread rodent-associated RNA viruses and bacteria by contaminated aerosols and arthropod vectors. Hence:
    1. Ensure minimal dust blows while sweeping using water and soft brooms.
    1. Use cloth or facemask to cover the mouth and nose.
  6. Construct storage houses and materials in such a way that it is impossible for rodents to enter (Fig. 3). Ensure that roofs, doors, and windows are fit tightly, and gaps and flaws are avoided. When detected, gaps and flaws should be sealed immediately with rodent-proof material. Interrupters may also be used.
  7. Make sure some of the most sensitive household items are protected from rodents:
    • Store food, grain, drinking water, household utensils in rodent-proof containers and cabinets to avoid persistent household-level re-infestations.
    • Store children/infant food, water and feeding utensils (such as plastic infant/children feeding bottles) in safe containers at all times.
  8. Encourage keeping domestic cats (and dogs) at household level (see Fig. 1) and discourage chasing and prosecution of natural predators of rodents (such as birds of prey, wild cats, mongoose, snakes).
  9. If after all these measures rodent infestation persists: use mechanical killing methods (local and commercial traps), flood rodent burrows, and use proven biorodenticides (ecologically sustainable rodenticides originated from plant materials) or selected chemical rodenticides to manage rodent populations. Avoid using chemical rodenticides that have no user application information and production and expiry dates.
  10. Establish and implement strict village (or neighbourhood) bylaws and rules to ensure household and neighbourhood sanitation and hygiene. Use a record-keeping system that lets the community know who are not respecting the bylaws, who are the offenders. Besides, develop and implement community strategy for a solid waste disposal system (including recycling). Additionally, introduce mandatory “one pit waste each, per household and per village” rule in the village bylaws. Organize groups and committees that create awareness about community sanitation and hygiene and are responsible for enforcing the bylaws. Assign responsible bodies for trash removal and maintenance of communal trash containers and trash dumping areas (pits).

Photo credit: Meta Meta Research “Cats, one of the natural predators to control rodent populations”

Un guide pratique pour dépasser le jargon entre les spécialistes des thématiques de genre et les praticiens de l’eau.

Figure 1 Dalia Soda, mécanicienne de pompes, à l’un des forages qu’elle entretient dans le village de Nzeremu, district de Salima, Malawi, juin 2016. (© WaterAid / Alexia Webster)

Autonomisation des femmes par le biais d’activités d’approvisionnement en eau en milieu rural : Un guide pratique par et pour les praticiens du Réseau d’approvisionnement en eau en milieu rural (RWSN) combine les apports et les exemples des ingénieurs avec le langage et l’expertise des spécialistes des thématiques de genre, et vise à faire le pont entre ces deux mondes. Le guide est le résultat d’un processus de co-création avec les membres du RWSN (atelier virtuel, e-discussion, édition d’une première version du document) et d’une consultation avec des spécialistes des thématiques de genre tout au long du processus pour s’assurer que le produit final équilibre à la fois les concepts clés et le jargon des spécialistes, ainsi que les contributions et les besoins des praticiens. Le guide est désormais disponible en anglais, français et espagnol.

Un guide pour qui ?

Ce guide pratique a été conçu par et pour des praticiens travaillant dans le secteur de l’eau en milieu rural – société civile, secteurs public et privé. Il s’adresse aux praticiens de l’eau pour qui l’autonomisation des femmes est un sujet nouveau, ainsi qu’à ceux qui souhaitent comparer leurs activités actuelles avec les recommandations du guide. Le guide vise à fournir aux spécialistes de l’eau un langage et des connaissances sur la meilleure façon de travailler avec des experts en genre pour mettre en place des activités plus transformatrices. L’autonomisation des femmes en tant que composante des interventions AEPHA devrait être à la fois une cause et un résultat de la réussite des programmes AEPHA sensibles au genre. L’autonomisation doit donc être un objectif stratégique en soi avec des activités, des instruments et des outils de suivi ciblés. Elle ne doit pas être traitée comme une activité supplémentaire visant à accroître la durabilité ou l’efficacité des systèmes, faisant ainsi des femmes des instruments du processus.

Un mode d’emploi pratique

Le guide est un mode d’emploi concis et pratique, à appliquer au contexte local. Le guide passe en revue les cinq facteurs d’autonomisation (accès à l’information, participation, engagement et inclusion, dynamique et structures du pouvoir, renforcement des capacités), ainsi que les différentes étapes des activités (identification, conception, suivi et évaluation, reporting). Des checklists pour chaque étape des activités ont été préparées afin de rendre le guide aussi pratique que possible. Le guide est également un mode d’emploi de ce qu’il ne faut pas faire : En tant que praticiens de l’eau en milieu rural, nous sommes souvent confrontés à des “mythes” – des croyances et des idées largement répandues mais fausses sur l’autonomisation des femmes. Le guide présente plusieurs mythes liés à chaque facteur d’autonomisation et les déconstruit. Faites attention à ces “mythes” et aidez votre équipe et vos collègues à en prendre conscience.

Figure 2 Liste de contrôle de la phase de conception

Le document est enrichi de nombreux exemples concrets. Par exemple, l’importance d’explorer les structures existantes et les dynamiques de pouvoir est illustrée par un exemple au Népal avec l’utilisation des groupes de mères existants pour la collecte des eaux de pluie, et celui des groupes musicaux traditionnels de femmes et des groupes d’agricultrices au Soudan du Sug.

Avons-nous manqué quelque chose ?

Ce guide est une contribution de RWSN à l’autonomisation des femmes dans le secteur de l’eau. En tant que réseau mondial de professionnels et d’organisations du secteur de l’eau en milieu rural engagés à améliorer leurs connaissances, leurs compétences et leur professionnalisme, le RWSN ne s’arrêtera pas là ; le guide sera accompagné d’un dialogue continu et d’activités pour les membres du réseau, alors restez à l’écoute ! Vous avez des questions sur l’un des aspects soulevés dans le guide ? Prenez contact avec le secrétariat du RWSN ou rejoignez la communauté RWSN Leave No-one Behind ( et aidez-nous à réviser et améliorer le document.

>>> Cliquez ici pour télécharger le guide <<<

*Note: Le terme autonomisation a été choisi par le traducteur, mais ne reflète pas entièrement le sens du terme anglais original « empowerment », basé sur la racine « power » (pouvoir) – faisant référence au pouvoir d’agir des femmes et designant à la fois un processus et un résultat.

**Note: Pour simplifier la lecture du document, le masculin a été utilisé. Mais ce guide a été élaboré par, et s’adresse à des practiciens et practiciennes, et experts et expertes.

Una guía práctica para superar la jerga entre los expertos en género y los profesionales del agua

Figura 1 La mecánica de bombas Dalia Soda en uno de los pozos que mantiene en el pueblo de Nzeremu, distrito de Salima, Malawi, junio de 2016. (© WaterAid / Alexia Webster)

Empoderamiento de las mujeres a través de actividades de suministro de agua en zonas rurales: Una guía práctica por y para los profesionales de la Red de Abastecimiento de Agua en Zonas Rurales (RWSN) combina las aportaciones y los ejemplos de los ingenieros* con el lenguaje y los conocimientos de los expertos en género, y pretende tender un puente entre esos dos mundos. La guía es el resultado de un proceso de cocreación con los miembros de la RWSN (taller electrónico, debate electrónico, comentarios sobre el borrador preliminario de la guía) y una consulta con expertos en género a lo largo del proceso para garantizar que el producto final equilibra tanto los conceptos clave y la jerga de los expertos en género, como las aportaciones y necesidades de los profesionales. La guía ya está disponible en inglés, francés y español.

¿Una guía para quién?

Esta guía práctica ha sido diseñada por y para los profesionales que trabajan en el sector del agua en zonas rurales – sociedad civil, sector público y privado. Está dirigida a los profesionales del agua para los que el empoderamiento de la mujer es un tema nuevo, así como a aquellos que quieran comparar sus actividades actuales con las recomendaciones de la guía. La guía pretende proporcionar a los especialistas del agua un lenguaje y unos conocimientos sobre la mejor manera de trabajar con los expertos en género para crear actividades más transformadoras. El empoderamiento de las mujeres como componente de las intervenciones WASH debe ser tanto una causa como un resultado de los programas WASH sensibles al género que tengan éxito. El empoderamiento, por lo tanto, debe ser un objetivo estratégico en sí mismo con actividades, instrumentos y herramientas de seguimiento específicos. No debe tratarse como una actividad adicional para aumentar la sostenibilidad o la eficacia de los sistemas, convirtiendo así a las mujeres en instrumentos del proceso.

Una guía práctica

La guía es concisa y práctica, para ser aplicada en el contexto local. La guía pasa por los cinco factores de empoderamiento (acceso a la información; participación; implicación e inclusividad ; dinámica y estructuras de poder; fomento de capacidades), así como por las etapas de las actividades (identificación, diseño, seguimiento y evaluación, elaboración de informes). Se han preparado listas de verificación para cada etapa de las actividades con el fin de que sea lo más práctica posible. La guía no solo explica cómo hacer sino también cómo no hacer: Como profesionales del agua en zonas rurales, a menudo nos encontramos con “mitos”, o creencias e ideas muy extendidas pero falsas sobre el empoderamiento de las mujeres. La guía presenta varios mitos relacionados con cada factor de empoderamiento y los deconstruye. Esté atento a estos mitos y ayude a su equipo y a sus colegas a tomar conciencia de ellos también.

Figura 2 Lista de comprobación de la fase de diseño

El documento se enriquece con muchos ejemplos concretos. Por ejemplo, la importancia de explorar las estructuras existentes y las dinámicas de poder se ilustra con un ejemplo de Nepal con el uso de los grupos de madres existentes para la recogida de agua de lluvia, y otre ejemplo con grupos de mujeres de músicas tradicionales y grupos de mujeres agricultoras en Sudán del Sur.

¿Nos hemos perdido algo?

Esta guía es una de las contribuciones de la RWSN al empoderamiento de las mujeres en el sector del agua. Como red mundial de profesionales y organizaciones de abastecimiento de agua en zonas rurales comprometida con la mejora de sus conocimientos, competencia y profesionalidad, la RWSN no se detendrá aquí; la guía irá acompañada de un diálogo continuo y de actividades para los miembros de la red, así que ¡estén atentos! ¿Tiene alguna pregunta sobre alguno de los aspectos planteados en la guía? Ponte en contacto con la Secretaría de la RWSN o únete a la comunidad RWSN No dejar a nadie atrásc( y ayúdanos a revisar y mejorar el documento.

>>> Haga clic aquí para descargar la guía <<<<

*Nota: Para simplificar la lectura del documento, se ha utilizado el género masculino. No obstante, esta guía ha sido elaborada por los y las profesionales y expertos y está destinada a ellos y ellas.

A practical guide to overcome the jargon between gender experts and water practitioners

Figure 1  Pump mechanic Dalia Soda at one of the boreholes she maintains in the village of Nzeremu, Salima District, Malawi, June 2016. (© WaterAid / Alexia Webster)

Women’s empowerment through rural water supply activities: A practical guide by and for practitioners of the Rural Water Supply Network combines inputs and examples from engineers with the language and expertise from gender experts, and aims to bridge between those two worlds. The guide is the result of a co-creation process with RWSN members (e-workshop, e-discussion, editing of the draft) and a consultation with gender experts throughout the process to ensure the final product balances both the key concepts and jargon from gender experts, as well as inputs and needs from practitioners. The guide is now available in English, French and Spanish.

A guide for whom?

This practical guide has been designed by and for practitioners working in the rural water sector – civil society, public and private sectors. It is addressed to water practitioners to whom women’s empowerment is a new topic, as well as to those who would like to compare their current activities with the recommendations of the guide. The guide aims to provide water specialists language and knowledge on how best to work with gender experts to build more transformative activities. Women’s empowerment as a component of WASH interventions should be both a cause and an outcome of successful gender-sensitive WASH programs. Empowerment, therefore, should be a strategic objective in itself with targeted activities, instruments, and monitoring tools. It should not be treated as a bonus activity to increase the sustainability or effectiveness of systems, thus making women instruments of the process.

A practical How-to-do

The guide is a “How-to-do” concise and practical, to be applied in the local context. The guide goes through the five factors of empowerment (access to information; participation; engagement & inclusiveness; power dynamics & structures; capacity-building), as well as throughout the stages of activities (identification, design, monitoring & evaluation, reporting). Checklists for each activity stage have been prepared to make it as practical as possible. The guide is also a “How-not-to-do”: As rural water practitioners, we often come across ‘myths’ – widely held but false beliefs and ideas about women’s empowerment. The guide presents several myths related to each empowerment factor and deconstruct them. Watch out for these ‘myths’ and support your wider team and colleagues to become aware of them too.

Figure 2 Checklist of design stage

The document is enriched by many concrete examples. For instance, the importance of exploring existing structures and power dynamics is illustrated by an example of Nepal with the use of existing mothers groups for rainwater harvesting, and the one of traditional women musical groups and women farmer’s groups in South Sudan.

Have we missed something?

This guide is one contribution from RWSN towards women’s empowerment in the water sector. As a global network of rural water supply professionals and organisations committed to improving their knowledge, competence and professionalism, RWSN will not stop here; the guide will be accompanied by ongoing dialogue and activities for the members of the network, so stay tuned! Do you have questions on any of the aspects raised in the guide? Get in touch with the RWSN Secretariat or join the RWSN Leave No-one Behind community ( and help us revise and improve the document.

>>> Click here to download the guide <<<

La Iniciativa 100M de RWSN-REACH

Un estudio global de proveedores de servicios de agua rurales que informará un sistema de financiación basada en resultados

¿Cuál es el problema?

En 2017, casi 800 millones de personas aún no podían acceder a un suministro básico de agua. Ocho de cada diez de esas personas vivían en zonas rurales y muchas, en comunidades que ocasionalmente fueron testigos de la construcción de puntos de distribución de agua. Sin embargo, después de décadas de inversión, solo quedan los vestigios de una infraestructura para servicios rurales de suministro de agua que nunca funcionó.

En general, los socios del sector están de acuerdo en que no solo existe la necesidad de incrementar las operaciones y la financiación del mantenimiento: se necesita también que los vínculos entre las inversiones y los resultados sean más transparentes, y que el valor de los fondos públicos existentes se maximice a través de incentivos para el desempeño del sector, una asignación de subsidios más eficaz y la promoción de una mejor planificación y gestión del sector.

¿Qué es la financiación basada en resultados?

Particularmente en las áreas rurales, no caben dudas de que se necesita financiación en condiciones favorables para garantizar que todos los habitantes accedan a servicios confiables. La financiación basada en resultados es una forma de invertir esos fondos de una manera selectiva, transparente, basada en datos y ampliable, mientras se fomenta la mejora de los servicios con el paso del tiempo.

Para diseñar contratos por niveles de servicio con los proveedores y respaldar los pagos cuando se verifican los resultados, se utilizan indicadores de desempeño específicos, como la cantidad de puntos de suministro de agua que funcionan de manera confiable, el volumen de agua producido y la cantidad de ingresos locales generados.

¿Qué vamos a hacer?

La Iniciativa 100M llevará a cabo un ejercicio de recopilación de datos en varias etapas para estimar el alcance y el potencial de la financiación basada en resultados a nivel mundial. La investigación incluirá los siguientes pasos:

  • Identificar y contactar a proveedores de servicios de agua en zonas rurales y a autoridades de servicios en la mayor cantidad de países que sea posible, haciendo hincapié en países de ingresos bajos y medianos;
  • Realizar una breve encuesta que permita recopilar datos para verificar la viabilidad y facilitar el diseño de contratos de financiación basada en resultados para diferentes contextos y tipos de servicios;
  • Reunir un grupo de referencia de proveedores de servicios en varios países interesados, con el objetivo de ampliar a escala un sistema de financiación basada en resultados;
  • Utilizar los datos recopilados y su análisis para terminar de dar forma a una estrategia que permita desarrollar una financiación basada en resultados para apoyar los contratos por niveles de servicio, a fin de que 100 millones de personas puedan acceder a los servicios de suministro de agua para el año 2030.

¿Cómo puede ayudarnos?

Un estudio diagnóstico verdaderamente global requiere que nos pongamos en contacto con todos los proveedores de servicios rurales de agua, incluso aquellos que no están vinculados con la red RWSN u otras redes mundiales. Necesitamos su ayuda para encontrar a la mayor cantidad posible de proveedores de esta clase.


  • ¿Es un proveedor de servicios de agua que trabaja en alguna zona rural, o tiene la intención de hacerlo, y desea completar la encuesta?
  • ¿Es una autoridad nacional o local que supervisa a los proveedores de servicios de agua y está dispuesta a completar la encuesta?
  • ¿Trabaja en alguna organización interesada en explorar la financiación basada en resultados para los servicios rurales de agua?
  • ¿Podría proporcionarnos contactos que nos ayuden en la creación de nuestra base de datos global de proveedores de servicios de agua rurales y/o administradores de programas rurales de agua a nivel nacional?

¿Le interesaría

  • … obtener más información sobre esta iniciativa?
  • … formar parte del grupo de referencia?

En ese caso, contacte a Meleesa Naughton en ruralwater[at]

Quiénes somos

REACH es un programa de investigación a nivel mundial financiado por el Ministerio de Política Exterior, Cooperación y Ayuda (FCDO) y dirigido por la Universidad de Oxford, que tiene como objetivo mejorar para el año 2024 la seguridad relacionada con la gestión del agua para 10 millones de personas que viven en la pobreza en África y Asia.

La Rural Water Supply Network (Red de Suministro de Agua Rural, conocida como RWSN), organizada por la Skat Foundation, es la red global de más de 12.000 profesionales del suministro de agua en zonas rurales, comprometidos con mejorar sus conocimientos, competencias y profesionalismo para cumplir con la visión de la red: proporcionar a todos los habitantes de zonas rurales servicios sostenibles de agua.

La RWSN está trabajando en conjunto con la Universidad de Oxford en el marco del programa REACH para lograr implementar una financiación basada en resultados que beneficie a 100 millones de personas para 2030. El trabajo está vinculado a los hallazgos del Consorcio Uptime en su investigación sobre la financiación basada en resultados y las vías de acceso a una financiación sostenible para cumplir progresivamente con los objetivos relacionados con el suministro de agua gestionada de forma segura.

Consultancy – Safe/Small Water Enterprise Consumer Knowledge Curation Phase 1

RWSN Member Organisations, Water4, Safe WaterNetwork, Water for Good and Water Mission have released an interesting consultancy opportunity.

Download the ToRs

Deadline is 19 February 2021

Please note that this is not an RWSN project so please contact Anna Rohwer at Water4 for queries and to apply

Srilekha Chakraborty uses art in her activism for women’s health – 2020 Ton Schouten Awardee for WASH Storytelling

re-posting from IRC WASH

Srilekha is a young professional from India with a focus on WASH and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) advocacy with indigenous tribal women and girls.

Advocacy through art with rural communities

She is driven by her close experience with how in poor, rural areas, discussions on gender, menstrual hygiene and women’s health take a back seat. In many of her activities, she is using art to demystify taboos with adolescents and youth.

An example of what this type of approach can lead to is the story of two young girls – Zeba and Anjum – who made a model of a uterus with Gulmohar flowers during an art session that Srilekha conducted. The red colour symbolizes power, strength and period blood whereas the blooming flower represents good health.

Another art project of Srilekha links to the flagship campaign of the Central Government of India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which promised to bring ‘Comprehensive Sanitation and Hygiene’ amongst people in rural India. However, the wall writings on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan have been speaking about toilet construction and cleanliness only. There were no wall writings about menstruation to encourage people to challenge the taboo. So, Srilekha mobilised artists and communities for a ‘menstruation matters’ mural project. You can read more about this project in her blog here.

Engaging local government and global platforms in period talk

Whereas engaging with communities is at the heart of her work, she also recognises the importance of government leadership. In 2019, she curated a campaign called Freedom to Bleed during the Independence Day in India. She convinced a local politician to help young girls actually experience freedom and independence from the stigma of blood. They reached out to more than 1000 women and girls in a week. The man speaking in the opening scene of the video below is the first political leader who ever spoke about periods in that constituency.

Srilekha is also dedicated to elevating stories from grassroots levels to as many people and platforms as possible. Through her #PeriodsPeCharcha (Let’s Talk Periods) campaign she addressed issues of indigenous remote communities in Jharkhand, a state in eastern India. In this video, she talks about menstrual hygiene challenges faced by young girls in the area.

About winning the Ton Schouten Award for WASH storytelling

In the words of our selection committee members – Vida Duti, Liduin Schouten, Sean Furey and Dave Trouba – Srilekha seems to do her communications work purely driven by passion and heart to help others, she naturally focuses on social inclusion and uses a wide variety of channels and forms of communication, from social media messages to videos and blogs. 

In the words of Srilekha? See this video or read her response below it.

It is interesting that I win this award in a time that is technically one of the darkest of all we have seen as a generation. This award comes to me as a hope that there is a lot of work that is left to do and the show must go on! It will help me continue my fight on the ground.

I would like to thank all the organisations and mentors and the community people who supported me throughout my journey and made me someone worthy to receive this award, I am honoured and it will take some time to sink in.

While there’s a lot of fund-crunch that civil society organisations at the grassroots level are going through and projects on women’s health are receiving a severe blow, I wish to use this award money to reach out to the most vulnerable section of adolescents and youth and keep creating more art, storytelling and workshops on menstruation. Because periods don’t stop for pandemics and neither should our activism.
– says Srilekha.

What’s next?

We received a rich and inspiring selection of candidates, whom we’re hoping to continue to be in touch with throughout the year. Keep an eye on this page dedicated to all things Ton Schouten Award for information about the award and updates on the work of talented young communicators in the WASH community. Srilekha has shared some great ideas about what she is planning to invest her award prize in. We will also share updates on her activities on this page. So stay tuned.

Five human rights principles that put people centre stage in water, sanitation and hygiene responses to COVID-19

Posted on WaterAid blog on 1 May 2020 in Equality, inclusion and human rights, re-posted on RWSN blog on 4 May 2020.
Authors: Louisa Gosling, Naomi Carrard, Hannah Neumeyer and Virginia Roaf. 

WaterAid/ James Kiyimba

Empowering and increasing the dignity of marginalised and vulnerable people will help us emerge from the COVID-19 crisis with healthier societies and revitalised opportunities for development and peace. Louisa Gosling, Naomi Carrard, Hannah Neumeyer and Virginia Roaf outline how applying the principles of human rights can save lives now and in the future.

The virus does not discriminate, but its impacts – and our responses – do.

– UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

We are all doing our best to minimise the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Overwhelmingly, the response across the world has been to reduce transmission through distancing, handwashing and strengthening public health systems. We know water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are central to the COVID-19 response. So how can human rights help?

A human rights lens reveals unexpected opportunities as we respond to the current crisis and plan for the future. Applying the human rights principles – equality and non-discrimination, participation, transparency, accountability and sustainability – deepens WASH responses to COVID-19, helping to both protect everyone now and build more equitable and sustainable societies.

What we do now will shape the post-COVID world and our resilience to future threats, whether climate change or other health crises.

Equality and non-discrimination

The risks COVID-19 presents are not borne equally. We are seeing evidence of this all over the world. Older people, people with health problems, people living in inadequate housing (especially those in dense settlements without access to basic services), homeless people, migrant workers, and those who have to go out to work every day to survive or who are fulfilling a necessary if undervalued role such as care work or street cleaning – all are at higher risk of contracting the virus because they are less able to protect themselves with good hygiene and physical distancing. They are also most severely affected by distancing or lockdown provisions, with eked-out livelihoods vanishing or curtailed.

People who cannot afford to pay their water and sanitation bills risk losing essential services. Independent UN human rights experts have called on governments to prohibit disconnections and to extend continuous access to water for people who don’t already have it. Governments are obliged to ensure access to services. They must intervene so that service providers continue to deliver, and do not face financial challenges in doing so. This is no small feat, given the breadth and diversity of public, private and community water and sanitation services providers, but reinforcing the recognition of these basic services as public services is critical for the realisation of human rights.

Sanitation workers perform vital work and yet are especially exposed to COVID-19. They are often discriminated against, working without protection or dignity. Cleaners, care workers and the many women and children who fetch water for themselves and for others are also at risk of being exposed to the virus.

As with many areas of development, women – despite their central role – are often ignored or marginalised in decisions, so their needs and the specific risks they face are not considered. But many organisations are researching and documenting the widespread gendered implications of the pandemic and response measures. Gender justice should be central in the WASH response, and there is a growing imperative for collaboration with women’s organisations and leaders to find ways to do this.

Human rights to water and sanitation (and other rights) demand that our response to COVID-19 addresses these inequalities. They promote and protect the voices of people who are discriminated against, marginalised and vulnerable, and ensure responses to the virus proactively include them.

Collaboration between WASH actors and organisations representing the rights of marginalised groups – including those focused on disability, age, slum dwellers, prisoners, children or women – brings new understanding and action that ensures inclusive water and sanitation services. Innovative solutions are already emerging from such collaboration, making hygiene messaging and handwashing facilities accessible for people with disabilities, and relevant to diverse populations in challenging settings.WaterAid Papua New Guinea giving loud hailers, inks and papers for printing awareness-raising materials, supporting local health authorities in preparedness for COVID-19.

WaterAid Papua New Guinea

WaterAid Papua New Guinea has provided loud hailers, inks and papers for printing awareness-raising materials, supporting local health authorities in preparedness for COVID-19.


The AIDS and Ebola epidemics taught the importance of engaging with affected communities. Building trust between government and civil society is critical for suitability, effectiveness and sustainability of responses, to ensure the smooth flow of accurate and helpful information and to avoid indirect or unintended harm.

Physical distancing measures are creating more barriers for many and reducing participation and voice, particularly where participatory processes now rely on the internet. There is a proven gender digital divide, exacerbated by poverty. For example, OECD data indicate that, globally, women are 26% less likely than men are to have a smartphone (70% less likely in South Asia and 34% in Africa).

National coordination mechanisms (such as WASH clusters) should include civil society and organisations representing different sections of the population. This can help governments identify vulnerable people and put in place measures that effectively support those who would otherwise be left behind.

Looking further ahead, making modes of participation and partnership more inclusive could lay foundations for more locally led development beyond the pandemic.

Transparency and access to information

Transparency and access to information are intrinsically linked to participation. If information is not accurate or well-understood by the intended recipients, it has no value. Further, while clear and consistent messaging is important to reinforce behaviour change, it should be tailored to differing contexts. How can people living in informal settlements or remote rural areas respond to ‘wash your hands’ messaging if they don’t have a secure, on-plot supply of water?

To reach the most marginalised people we need to be creative, and to communicate in local languages through a range of channels that are appropriate for the places and people concerned. For example, many countries use radio, such as TanzaniaRwanda and Nepal, where jingles are even broadcast by loud-hailers to communities without FM coverage. Sign language and braille can be used to reach people with hearing or visual impairments.

In Nigeria, local civil society networks and the media are communicating through network members in communities to share information and drive campaigns on improving WASH in healthcare facilities. More ideas can be found in resources such as BBC Media Action’s Guide to community engagement at a distance.

And in South Africa residents in informal settlements are monitoring water and sanitation access during the COVID-19 crisis, sharing the data with city authorities and the media. This initiative has already resulted in improved service delivery and new channels of collaboration with city authorities.A man reads awareness-raising messages through a loud hailer around a community in Bangladesh.WaterAid Bangladesh

A man reads awareness-raising messages through a loud hailer around a community in Bangladesh.


Accountability between governments, civil society and development agencies is as critical in a crisis as ever. We are seeing unprecedented funds raised and distributed in response to COVID-19, but how these funds will be used and accounted for is not always clear.

Accountability is essential for minimising corruption and for achieving services that are equitable, sustainable and high quality. This is important both for the emergency procurement and distribution of benefits in the immediate response to COVID-19, and for the long-term sustainability of WASH services.

Unfortunately, accountability mechanisms and relationships in WASH are often weak. Civil society networks must be able to advocate for transparency and accountability in the WASH response to this crisis, to monitor how much of the funding made available for the pandemic is invested with human rights considerations and for the sustainable development of WASH services. There may be more opportunities because the pandemic has raised the profile of WASH, which can create space for WASH actors to contribute to broader accountability initiatives. An example linking WASH to the coalition on peace building and state building in Sierra Leone demonstrates this potential.

Governments are also accountable for the way they are imposing containment measures that limit people’s ability to go out, to work, to fetch water and to use toilets. In many countries we are seeing excessive force used to ensure compliance with lockdown, criminalising people who must leave their home to meet basic needs. This violates human rights and can be detrimental to reducing the spread of the virus if it creates fear and destroys trust between government and communities, as learned from the HIV response. In moments of disaster response the values of open government can come under intense pressure – but can also meaningfully contribute to better outcomes where there is strong cooperation and trust between the authorities and the people.


Poor sustainability and service levels are already a huge barrier to the realisation of people’s rights to water and sanitation, often due to weak systems. These can be strengthened or weakened by the way in which we respond to this pandemic.

Sustainability is a human rights principle – we must not lose progress that has been made. The hope for the post-COVID-19 world – if we use human rights to guide us – is to be in a stronger position than before. This means improved access to water and sanitation for vulnerable and marginalised people; that we more deeply understand how to eliminate inequalities; and that we are more prepared for future health risks and the inevitable impacts of climate change.

How we emerge from COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic will have profound and long-lasting impacts on how we all live, work and relate to each other. We are still barely able to imagine the immensity of economic and social change that will emerge.

Human rights put people centre-stage. Empowering and increasing the dignity of people who are currently marginalised and vulnerable will help us emerge from this crisis with healthier societies and revitalised opportunities for development and peace. Human rights principles must guide our responses and will lead us to better, more inclusive, more sustainable results, protecting and saving lives now, and in the future.

Louisa Gosling is WaterAid’s Senior WASH Manager for Accountability and Rights, Naomi Carrard is Research Director at Institute for Sustainable Futures – University of Technology Sydney, Hannah Neumeyer is Head of Human Rights at WASH United and Virginia Roaf is Senior Advisor at Sanitation and Water for All.

This blog is the result of collaboration involving WaterAid, Sanitation and Water for All, Institute for Sustainable Futures – University of Technology Sydney, WASH United, End Water Poverty, Kewasnet, Rural Water Supply Network, Water Youth Network, Hope Spring Water, Simavi and Water Integrity Network.

Authors: Louisa Gosling, Naomi Carrard, Hannah Neumeyer and Virginia Roaf.