Working with local organizations
WaterAid works in partnership with local organizations to enable poor people in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Region and Central America to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education.
Our partners’ understanding of local culture, languages and institutions ensures that together we can cost effectively develop programs that meet the real needs of vulnerable communities.
Community members are trained by partner staff to maintain water facilities such as this diesel pump in Tanzania.
Credit: WaterAid / Alex Macro
Our partners provide the direct support to the communities we help. In return, we offer them financial support, training, technical advice and assistance with planning, budgeting and institutional development.
Our ultimate aim is to strengthen our partners so they no longer need our assistance and can independently act as centers of expertise and advocates for the interests of poor people within their region.
Why work with partners?
Our experience has shown that the key to sustainability of water and sanitation programs is ensuring that projects are tailored to the unique circumstances of each community. We also strive to assist the most marginalized people – those whose voices are least heard.
WaterAid's partners promote good hygiene using local languages.
Credit: WaterAid / Marco Betti
By working with local organizations, who understand local issues and have strong links with local leaders and the community, we are best placed to identify vulnerable groups and adapt our approaches to cater to their needs.
WaterAid sees the strengthening of partner organizations as an important long term investment in the development of a country’s policies and infrastructure. We encourage our partners to grow and replicate effective programs, and exert influence on other key players in the water and sanitation sector to ensure poor people’s needs are met.
A key element in the development of partners is enabling them to secure independent funding. Once this happens, WaterAid’s money is freed up to start work with new, less well-established partners. In this way, we can help far more people than we could alone.
Who are the partners?
WaterAid currently works with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), local government institutions, state government agencies, academic and research institutions and forums of water and sanitation providers.
A girl standing in front of a latrine block in Dhaka constructed by a partnership of four organizations including WaterAid.
Credit: WaterAid / Juthika Howlader
All our partners share similar characteristics. They are dedicated to empowering poor people and are staffed and managed by local people. All work with communities according to need and not on the basis of their religion, ethnic origin or political affiliation.
The NGOs we work with range from recently established groups working in one district to well established national organizations. Some specialize in water supply, hygiene or sanitation, while others incorporate these elements with other services including healthcare, education or work combating urban poverty.
In many of the countries where we work decentralization processes mean that responsibility for delivering water and sanitation services is being assigned to local government departments. WaterAid is increasingly working in partnership with local government to help develop their capacity to operate.
How does WaterAid assist its partners?
WaterAid’s assistance to partner organizations includes:
- Technical advice
- Procurement of equipment
- Assistance with planning, budgeting and evaluation
- Knowledge sharing
- Management development
- Development of fundraising
Partners for policy
Partners are just as important in our campaigning and advocacy work as in our fieldwork. In 2007 WaterAid launched the international End Water Poverty campaign
, which to date has united more than 60 organizations in calling on world leaders to act for universal access to water and sanitation.
Partnership is also crucial to many of our local advocacy programs, such as initiatives that bring communities face to face with water providers to develop joint action plans for improving service levels.
Download WaterAid's information sheet Working with partners
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Bangladesh and Nepal
The community of Basanta Kellyamura in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh now has easy access to safe water from a faucet.
The new water supply has saved women from traveling by boat across a lake and walking for 40 minutes through dense jungle to reach the source of a stream.
Their water point is the end product of a learning visit by staff from WaterAid’s local partner organization, Green Hill, to Kathmandu in Nepal, where they met with WaterAid’s local partner NEWAH. WaterAid had arranged the visit so that Green Hill could learn how NEWAH had tackled water problems in a similar physical terrain.
Following the support from NEWAH, when Green Hill returned to Bangladesh they successfully implemented gravity flow technology that pipes water from spring sources to a network of tapstands.
The villagers helped with the construction work by digging trenches to lay the water pipes in. One of the villagers, Shantikumar, was trained to repair the system. He is very pleased with the new system, as he described:
"We are very happy with the new tapstand. It is so convenient. We used to suffer a lot from diseases. The health of the whole community has improved. "
Photo: WaterAid / Abir Abdullah