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Published on: 15/11/2022

Planning cycle master planning

The WASH Systems Academy has launched a new specialist course on “District planning for sustainable water and sanitation services”.

This specialist course is for anyone wanting to know how to (facilitate stakeholders to) develop and implement district-level long-term strategic plans for ensuring sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services for all. These are also called district WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) master plans.​ 

The development of district-level, long-term, strategic, costed water, sanitation and hygiene master plans with a clear joint vision, are critical for ensuring clear pathways for ensuring sustainable WASH service provision for all, everywhere, forever in a district. ​

Working with a variety of stakeholders in a district to develop and implement such a district WASH master plan can help to put local government more strongly in the driving seat and fulfil its role as service authority

District WASH master planning helps in rallying stakeholders around a common vision and a roadmap towards the vision. District WASH master planning forms a starting point for district-level collective action, involving and engaging multiple stakeholders to take joint action to ensure sustainable WASH service provision for all. ​

District WASH master planning can play a key role in ensuring climate resilience. It considers potential future scenarios related to climate change and availability of water resources and ensures the development of a resilient plan for ensuring sustainable WASH service provision accordingly. Good water and sanitation services provide resilience to communities.​

Well-developed, robust, data-driven plans have been proven to attract funders and financiers required for the implementation of the plan. 

District WASH master planning promotes and enables systems strengthening at district level and beyond. It contributes to strengthening institutional, monitoring, regulatory, asset management, financial, planning, learning and coordination systems.

 Covers of the various master plans

The online specialist course on “District planning for sustainable water and sanitation services” consolidates existing knowledge, experiences and tools on district WASH master planning and makes it accessible as part of a wider capacity support activity on master planning.​ It has been developed by IRC, in collaboration with Water For People.

​​This 12-hour course available on the WASH Systems Academy provides one with a better understanding of how to develop a comprehensive plan for achieving universal water and sanitation services that last at district level. After completing this course, you will be able to facilitate or support the development and implementation of a District WASH Master Plan. 

The course goes into detail in the different steps of the planning cycle for district WASH master planning:​

Session overview

  • Session 1
    District-level planning
  • Session 2
    Roadmap for developing and implementing a district-level long-term strategic plan
  • Session 3
    Key concepts which are important in district WASH master planning
  • Session 4
    Situational analysis
  • Session 5
  • Session 4
    Strategy development
  • Session 8
    Funding district WASH master plans
  • Session 9
    Implementation and monitoring master plans
  • Session 10
    Bringing district WASH master plans to life

​Upon completion of the course, you will know:​

  • What a District WASH master plan is​
  • Why a District WASH master plan is helpful towards reaching the SDGs in a district​
  • How to start developing a district WASH master plan


Take a look at the following materials:

  1. An animation for the IRC WASH Systems Academy on how district WASH master plans contribute to WASH system strengthening
  2. An animation on the planning cycle - Full:
  3. District WASH Master Planning Facility -


The WASH Systems Academy

The WASH Systems Academy is a collaborative online learning platform dedicated to build capacities to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene services.  It is a global and multi-lingual platform that strives to make courses accessible and relevant. We synthesise the latest thinking on system strengthening for water, sanitation, and hygiene (commonly abbreviated as WASH) services and support it with concrete practical examples and tools from around the world. It now has over 4500 users from 120 countries. It is available on

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