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Working towards establishing an IRC India office

Published on: 09/02/2016

2016 is a crucial year for IRC India. With its strong track record in India, IRC is well positioned to develop and establish a country programme there.

Street scene in India

Over the years IRC has created strong partnerships and collaborations with the different actors in the WASH sector including the government. Building on our previous work and current partnerships IRC is working towards the establishment of a country office and programme. To support this process I as part of the Business Development Unit have visited and supported the India team for one month at the end of 2015.

A lot is happening for IRC India. We are concentrating our efforts on the following activities:

1. IRC as a State Hub to influence the adoption of a service delivery approach and to build the national and state's capacity in improved sector management. IRC will launch State Hubs in the States of Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha. Each hub will assist the national and state government in providing sustainable water and sanitation services for everyone. IRC will work closely with Water for People, which has been working in different districts in these ssatates since 1996.

2. IRC as a capacity building reference centre in rural and urban WASH. Starting in 2016 we will develop two WASH training programmes for professionals to support government officers and other institutes in urban and rural settings. Materials will be developed and disseminated via workshops on specific topics and e-learning modules.

We are also engaging with other partners to work on WASH in schools to ensure that the services provided are sustainable.

Toilet in India

Recently IRC and partners have launched a 5 year programme funded by the Dutch government which aims at delivering improvements in the governance and management of water, sanitation and hygiene services and water resources. This programme includes a set of activities taking place in Bihar and Odisha implemented together with Akvo and Wetlands (SIMAVI is also part of the programme but not in India).

Currently we are in a good position to expand and accrue our influence in the WASH sector in India – and especially to move the WASH sector from infrastructure-focused projects to the delivery of sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services to everyone, forever.

During my visit, we have met with the Joint Secretary from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to get official approval and support from the Ministry to organise different workshops under the IRC Community Water Plus project. Led by the Cranfield University this research project investigated 20 successful, community-managed rural water supply programmes across India. In each programme characteristics and performance of the support entities are assessed to determine the extent of support that is needed to ensure that community management is successful. With approval and support from the Ministry IRC is organising workshops in Delhi, Kerala, Punjab and Odisha to disseminate the results of this research.


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