Formation of IRC

The agreement between Rijksinstituut voor Drinkwatervoorziening and the World Health Organization marked the beginning of IRC. Here is the founding document.


Bilthoven Meeting

The 1973 Bilthoven Meeting helped IRC identify and prioritise several projects for developing appropriate water hygiene practices for better water supply quality, some of them lasted till the 80s. Take a look at the Bilthoven Meeting report


Independent Foundation

IRC became an independent foundation, yet the scope was still the same: being the hub of information dissemination in community water supply. Read the Annual Report 1981

Best Seller

IRC published its all-time best seller 'Small community water supplies: technology, people and partnership'. Take a look at the book


A New Name

IRC changed its name from "International Reference Centre for Community Water Supply and Sanitation" to "International Water and Sanitation Centre" in 1988. Here is the Annual Report 1988


Running Projects

In Malawi and Zambia, team members of PSSC (IRC's longest running project back then) conducted a self-evaluation analysis with the community involved, a follow-up report was produced. Take look at the PSSC report


Largest Collection

IRC had one of the world's largest, most comprehensive collections on low-cost water supply and sanitation literature after 20 years of documentation services. Read about it in the Annual Report 1993

Empowering Women

'Women, water and sanitation' is published by IRC as part of its contribution to the PROWWESS (Promotion of the Role of Women in Water and Environmental Sanitation Services) Project. More about the PROWWESS project


Involving Communities

Participatory Action Research (PAR) on community water management was conducted in 22 communities in Cameroon, Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Nepal and Pakistan with local partners. Read more about PAR


Connect to the World

IRC's website was online. The online newsletter was consequently also on the website. A webcache of IRC's 1997 site is still available. An archive is still available to view


WASH in Schools

IRC and UNICEF lauched a joint School Sanitation and Hygiene Education programme, with an international workshop at IRC. Take a look at the report on the SSHE programme


Online Education

IRC produced its first online three-week course: Dynamics of the Water Sector, in collaboration with The European Network University. You can browse and join IRC's online courses


Voicing Opinions

IRC and the WaterWeb consortium organised the sixth Water Information Summit, and called for knowledge investment in WASH at the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan. You can still access WIS 6 materials here


IRC going South

IRC is considering different options for collaboration, including longer-term assignments or missions in the South. A first pilot has started in Uganda. Depending on the results, more alternative options will be explored. Read more on page 12 of the Annual Report 2006

Water Integrity

IRC acted as a founding member of the Water Integrity Network. Check out the WIN website


Royal Remark

IRC’s work on school sanitation was praised by Prince Willem-Alexander in his foreword of the book 'The last taboo: opening the door on the global sanitation crisis'. Take a look at this book on Google


WASHCost project


Sustainable Performance

IRC worked together with Honduras government technicians to collect information and successful models for capacity strengthening on transparency for members of local water committees despite the turmoil in the country. Look on the IRC Honduras Page

2009 - 2014

Triple-S (Triple-S (Sustainable Services at Scale) was operating in Ghana and Uganda.


Spreading Influence

IRC’s Ghana office was invited to temporarily lead the Ghanaian national development partners’ coordination platform in 2011. The IRC Ghana Page has lots more information


Global Orientation

IRC opened a regional office in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. This is the second regional office that IRC operates. There is a dedicated IRC Burkina Faso Page


WaterAid, RedR, Practical Action, IRC and EngineerAid launch KnowledgePoint as a free technical Q&A forum for humanitarian and development workers


Independent Monitoring

In Ethiopia, IRC began a major new project to provide independent monitoring for UNICEF’s small towns programme (ONEWASH Plus). For more information see the IRC Ethiopia Page


Agenda for Change

Agenda for Change is initiated, for more information about the Agenda for Change collaboration, check out this website

Big Data

Take a look at one of IRC's video blogs on QIS and Monitoring Behaviour Change at Scale



We kicked off our Watershed initiative with partners Simavi, Akvo, Wetlands International and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Watershed helps civil society organisations to engage with government and service providers to achieve faster results, hold them to account, and to ensure universal WASH for all by 2030. The online project page gives more details

WASH Toolkit

We made our WASH toolkit available via our website, which includes systems strengthening tools. The toolkit is a work in progress as tools are refined, updated and added to. Access the WASH toolkit



IRC’s CEO Patrick Moriarty was a speaker at TEDXDenHelder in February 2017. With his TED Talk 'It's about the systems, stupid!' he focused on the future of development aid. His TED Talk was the perfect stepping stone for sharing IRC’s systems based approach with the rest of the world.


IRC started with its WASH Talk podcast series, opening up the discussion on sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services around the world. Ideas are shared on changes the WASH sector has to make in order to contribute to achieving universal access by 2030. Speakers from all over the world are given a voice in this podcast series.