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Published on: 31/03/2020

IRC has been organising the award since 2017, in memory of Ton who worked with IRC for 17 years and was a passionate WASH storyteller, filmmaker and a mentor to those he worked with. The Ton Schouten Award for WASH Storytelling aims to combine all these elements by targeting a specific group of young communicators (35 years of age or younger) within the WASH sector in low- and middle-income countries. 

In these unusual times, telling evidence-based stories has only gained more importance. So this year we are announcing the award again to give a platform to those who have an exceptional talent for connecting storytelling with WASH expertise and to whom this award will be a stepping stone in further developing their career.

 2014 Adolescent girls’ cluster meeting - Sayedbari, Rangunia
Adolescent girls' cluster meeting in Sayedbari, Rangunia

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, new initiatives 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. Be inspired by previous awardees, such as Kenneth Kavulu from Uganda who has set up his own NGO after winning the award or Mayuri Bhattacharjee from India who has invested her prize in creating her own podcast series.

Eligibility requirements, application and award details 

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

  1. Come from and working in a low- or middle-income country.
  2. Are dedicated to storytelling within the WASH sector.
  3. Have a portfolio of WASH related communication products (e.g. blog, a video, cartoon, poster, podcast).

During the year in which the awardee is a beneficiary of the award she or he will be asked to complete the following activities:

  1. At least two pieces of communication 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

Painting of Himalayan peaks in India Uttarakhan Storytelling through drama 

What to do?

Submit your application or nomination by 8 May 2020 to with the following information:

  1. Name of the nominee
  2. Country of the nominee
  3. Age of the nominee
  4. Language(s) of the nominee
  5. Relationship with IRC (if any) - Current IRC staff members and their families are not eligible to apply
  6. Name of the nominator (if applicable)
  7. Communications portfolio: Notable WASH related communications highlights – links to online media / scans of print articles
  8. Optional: A short plan on what you would like to create, purchase or invest your award prize in
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Whether a person was nominated or applies individually will not have any influence on the application outcomes.

For more information check the terms and conditions and the application guidelines linked to this news item. If others are featured in your communications materials, please ensure that you are in compliance with GDPR.

Who will help us select a winner? 

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

David TroubaDavid Trouba has extensive experience in multi-channel communications strategy development and implementation, stakeholder engagement, media relations, public affairs and brand management. He has more than than 29 years of professional working experience, including more than 20 years at the senior level for at the World Health Organization, United Nations Office for Project Services, Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), Stockholm International Water Institute, and Water Environment Federation. Born and raised in Nebraska, USA; he has lived in Washington, DC; Stockholm, Sweden; and Geneva, Switzerland. He is currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, with his wife, and is engaged in sustainability communications for private and public sector clients. He is currently a Global Region Steering Committee member for WSSCC.

Liduin SchoutenLiduin Schouten is Ton's youngest sister. "There was an age difference of 8 years between us, but it didn't matter, we got along very well. I still miss him every day.
I have 3 daughters, live in Utrecht and work as a customer service representative at Dille & Kamille, a retail company that makes and sells beautiful products based on sustainability and care for the world. I really enjoy it there because of the contacts with customers from the Netherlands, France, Germany or anywhere in the world. We even have customers in Japan and the USA.

Watching movies, reading and walking in nature are things I love to do, especially in my favourite country Italy. I even learned to speak Italian. Ton and I had plans to walk near his house in the Cévennes, but we unfortunately never did. I will definitely do that once and then he will just walk with me. I also write a lot, which gives room to my thoughts that go through my mind about everything that happens in life. I am honoured to sit on this committee, which originated from the thinking of my big brother Ton and I hope to contribute to it with him in mind.

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.

Interested in finding out more about Ton`s legacy and the history of the award? Check out this page. You can start by watching his Seventh Video on Community Water Supply Management

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