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WASH Debates – a lively discussion platform

Published on: 06/12/2016

Bringing professionals together to network and discuss hot topics in the WASH sector.

IRC in The Netherlands organises debates in The Hague open to all interested parties. WASH debates bring together professionals to network and discuss hot topics in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. They are forward looking and multidisciplinary in nature presenting the latest thinking from governments, NGOs, private sector and academia.

Invitations for WASH debates are sent out via a mailing list of some 1300 addresses. Announcements are also shared on social media, via the newsletter Amplify and the home page of the IRC website. The Netherlands Water Partnership promotes WASH debates in their network.

The first series of events were held in 2014 and have continued at regular intervals ever since. On average around 50 people attend and ensure that lively discussions take place on the topic in hand. Private companies, government and NGOs have used the platform to put forth burning issues for discussion. The discussions in each debate are captured in blogs, and occasionally in videos, so that everyone is able to learn about the latest issues in the sector.

An attentive audience at an IRC Event

Below is an overview of WASH debates held and their topics:


Death of the handpump  - 14 February

Can we avoid rehabilitation programmes? - 3 June 

The limits of aid, the future of trade? - 17 September

The role of public finance in reaching scale and sustainable water and sanitation services - 12 November


The SDGs for water and sanitation. What is new? What is different? - 4 March

Domestic resource mobilization for water, sanitation and hygiene - 3 June

Working towards sustainable urban sanitation - 9 September

Innovative approaches to WASH in emergency situations - 25 November


Reaching universal coverage: an Agenda for Change - 30 March

Water Integrity Global Outlook 2016: Launch in the Netherlands - 15 April

Is the end of ownership near? A water and sanitation perspective - 25 May

Accountability tools to improve WASH service delivery - 6 July

Checking and monitoring sustainability of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services - 16 November


Max Foundation-IRC Event: Phase out strategies in the WASH sector - 31 May

Linking WASH and IWRM programmes to achieve SDG6 - 22 November


Leaving no one behind; social inclusion in the WASH sector- 18 April 2018

Building institutional capacity for behaviour change & sanitation programming - 11 September 2018


Dialogue and dissent: Looking at the role of civil society in achieving SDG 6 by 2030 - 26 June 2019


This item was originally part of a series on Celebrating IRC Communications that was produced for a special issue of the IRC newsletter (formerly E-Source, now rebranded as Amplify). For the other articles in this series see the Useful Links below.