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Published on: 05/03/2018

One of the key principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is "leaving no one behind". This means that all the goals and targets of the SDGs aim to be socially inclusive and should be met for all nations and people and for all segments of society. Furthermore, there should be an endeavour to reach first those who are furthest behind. For the water and sanitation related targets this means in the first place that such services should be extended to all, i.e. reaching universal access to water and sanitation services. But it also can refer to ensuring that all segments of society are included in decision-making processes around water and sanitation services. 

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its WASH policy for 2016-2030 also makes commitments around 'leaving no one behind' and the broader concepts around social inclusion. Amongst others, it incorporates a specific commitment to focus on and report about the position of women and vulnerable groups in terms of their access to services. This, in turn, requires the partners of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be explicit about who they reach with water and sanitation services, whether that includes some of the most vulnerable groups, and how they address any structural barriers that may exist to reach these groups.  

These questions were discussed at the quarterly WASH debate ‘Leaving no one behind; social inclusion in the WASH sector’, which was held on 18 April, 2018. Specifically, it aimed to answer the question what 'leaving no one behind' in the WASH sector entails and how can it be put into practice at both policy and programme level. It will thereby go into questions such as: how can you measure the extent of inclusion to WASH or make it visible? How can you set targets for the degree of inclusion? And how can you remove structural limitations for inclusion.

Read the event blog "Leave no behind", which includes a recording of the live steam, a video clip and the Powerpoint presentations.

The programme included presentations by speakers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Watershed empowering citizens' programme and IRC's Ghana country office. More details are provided below.


7AM, Buitenhof 47
2513 AH The Hague

How to get to 7AM >


16:30 -17:00                                                 Welcome: Coffee and tea/networking

17:00 – 17:05

17:05 – 17:10

Welcome by Patrick Moriarty, CEO, IRC

Introduction to the programme and speakers by the moderator: Stef Smits, Senior Programme Officer, IRC



Leaving no one behind - key concepts and dilemmas. Sara Ahrari, Senior Programme Officer WASH, Simavi

Leaving no one behind: DGIS's policy perspective. By Carola van Rijnsoever, Director Inclusive Green Growth, Ambassador Sustainable Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

Leaving no one behind in practice; a case study from WASH programmes in Asutifi North District Ghana. By Vida Duti, Country Director, IRC Ghana

Panel & plenary discussion


Plenary debate, led by the moderator will focus on the perspective from the audience, focusing on guiding these questions:

- How can you measure the extent of inclusion or make it visible?
- How can you set targets for the degree of inclusion?
- How can you remove structural limitations for inclusion?

18:25-18:30Closing remarks and an invitation to drinks and networking
19:30 End


 Sara AhraniSara Ahrari, Senior Programme Officer WASH, Simavi. Sara is responsible for development and management of Simavi WASH programmes and relations with partner organisations in Asia, in particular Bangladesh. She is also the Simavi Inclusion focal point and the champion (lead) of "social inclusion and gender" learning trajectory within Watershed-Empowering Citizen Programme. Prior to working with Simavi, Sara has worked with different private sector, NGO and UN agencies in Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand. She is Dutch-Iranian and lives with her family in the Netherlands.
 Carola van RijnsoeverCarola van Rijnsoever, Director Inclusive Green Growth, Ambassador Sustainable Development, Arctic Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
Carola has been working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 22 years and fulfilled a range of functions. She worked at the Embassies in Moscow and Berlin and was Representative to the Political and Security Committee of the EU until last summer. She is in charge of the Inclusive Green Growth Department, that deals with global issues such as water, food security, energy, climate, raw materials and Polar issues. She is also appointed as Ambassador for Sustainable Development and Arctic Ambassador of the Netherlands.
 Vida DutiVida Duti, Country Director, IRC Ghana. Vida has 20 years working experience with national and international entities in the areas of community development and poverty reduction; gender and development; capacity development of local government actors; democratic governance and public sector reforms. Vida was the Country Team Leader for Triple-S (Sustainable Services at Scale) Ghana and she is currently involved in WASH policy and sector change management processes which is resulting in transformational changes and partnerships for sustainable water service delivery. She has in-depth experience in the design and management of different financing mechanisms including district performance based grants and social investment funds. Since March 2018, Vida is a member of the Advisory Board for the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) of Ghana's Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources.

Live stream and recording

Those unable to attend the WASH Debate in The Hague could follow the live stream on IRC's Twitter page from 17:00-18:30 CEST [convert to your local time]. A video recording of the debate was made available shortly after the event.


Stef Smits,
Vera van der Grift,

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