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Published on: 11/03/2019

Submit your nominations for IRC's Ton Schouten Award for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) storytelling by the 2nd of May, 2019.

Ton Schouten Award Announcement

Ton was not only a leading figure in the WASH sector, a champion of sustainability and supportive of government approaches to development, he was also a creative and passionate film maker and mentor to those he worked with and managed. Above all he believed in the power of communication to create change in the world.

Since 2017, IRC has been organising the award, in memory of Ton and with the aim to find and support exceptional young communicators in WASH. Now in its third year, the award will be handed out once again on the 2nd of June, Ton's birthday.

So what does the award entail?

During the year in which the awardee is a beneficiary of the Ton Schouten Award he or she will be asked to remain true to his legacy of being a leading communicator in the WASH sector and deliver the following:

  1. At least two pieces of communications produced about WASH during the year. This can be a blog, a video, cartoon, poster, podcast. It should, however, be of a publishable standard. (IRC will support with some expert assistance if required.)
  2. Ideally attend at least one event towards the end of the year of the award to speak about the award and what they have been able to achieve with it. Appropriate events can be identified in conjunction with the awardee.
  3. A final piece of communication summing up the year as awardee and any effect it has had on the career/work

The awardee will receive a cash prize of €2,500 to support them in pursuing their development in communications, to be invested for example, in new processing software, audiovisual materials, courses etc. They will also receive expert mentoring support from IRC during the year, and, where applicable, be invited to spend time with IRC staff in the most convenient location.

Eligibility requirements

We're looking for those who have a rare talent, a natural spark, and to whom this award will be a stepping stone to further developing their career in communicating around WASH issues.

Applications are open for young professionals (over the age of 18 and under 35), who:

  1. are working in the field of communication within the WASH sector based in low and middle income countries,
  2. are dedicated to storytelling within the WASH sector, and
  3. have a portfolio of WASH related communication products (e.g. blog, a video, cartoon, poster, podcast).

Meet our selection committee from within and beyond the WASH sector:

Iekje SmitIekje Smit is a filmmaker and former Director of the Master International Communication at Hanze University of Applied Sciences. She has 40 years of experience as an educator and manager, specialising in internationalisation of higher education.

Although Ton and Iekje never met, they do share a passion for film. Iekje has been working as a filmmaker since 2011, taking on the roles of producer and scriptwriter of documentaries with SAP Film, an independent filmmaker focusing on topics that matter such as education, culture, the environment, human relations, health and social issues.




Patrick MoriartyPatrick Moriarty is IRC's Chief Executive Officer. Patrick's is a civil engineer and water resource management expert by background, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary work in water service delivery and local water governance. He has over twenty years experience on a broad range of issues around water, its management and its use in improving human well-being, predominantly in Africa and South Asia. Patrick's main area of interest is in how IRC can ignite and support sector wide change that builds the strong local and national water and sanitation systems that we need to deliver the goal of universal access by 2030. He finds the most professional satisfaction working in the messy interface between policy, applied research and practice.
Ton Schouten was a close personal and professional friend from Patrick's earliest days in IRC. Their close collaboration, started with their work on the book "Community water community management", where Ton's passion for storytelling and communication was a perfect foil for Patrick's analytical strengths. Their work together continued right up to Ton's untimely death; Patrick feels the gap left by Ton's absence on a daily basis.



Sean FureySean Furey is a Water & Sanitation Specialist at Skat Consulting Ltd, based in St. Gallen, Switzerland. With over 20 years' experience in water management, today his main task is as Director of the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) Secretariat, a global practitioner and researcher network with over 11,000 members worldwide. Ton was the Chair of RWSN when he passed away and had worked closely with the team at Skat in shaping the development of the network. Ton and Sean shared a passion for openness, sincerity and clarity of communicating challenging and complex issues to a variety of audiences.




Vida DutiVida Duti is the Country Director of IRC Ghana. At IRC, her work focuses on WASH sector change management and partnerships for sustainable service delivery. Vida is a governance, organisational and systems development expert with over 20 years working experience with national and international entities.

The Sustainable Services at Scale (Triple-S) and the Mobile Monitoring of Water and Sanitation services that last ( SMARterWASH) Projects brought together sector partners in Ghana to focus on service delivery rather than simply extending coverage and to develop an approach that made this a reality. As Ton Schouten was the IRC Netherlands "buddy" to the Ghana programme, the relationship transcended beyond professional cycles to a cherished close senior friend and confidant.


What to do?

Submit your application by the 2nd of May 2019 to with the following information:

  1. Name of the nominee
  2. Country of the nominee
  3. Language(s) of the nominee
  4. Relationship with IRC (if any) - Current IRC staff members and their families are not eligible to apply
  5. Name of the nominator
  6. Communications portfolio: Notable WASH related communications highlights – links to online media / scans of print articles
  7. If nominated: A short paragraph on why you think this person is a deserving winner and how the prize would help this person's development as a WASH storyteller
  8. If individual applicant: A short motivation statement including why you think you are a deserving winner and how the prize would help your development as a WASH storyteller

Whether a person was nominated or applies individually will not have any influence on the application outcomes.

Please ensure that you are in compliance with the terms and conditions (see below) and if others are featured in your communications materials, with GDPR.

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