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Specialist course: Building blocks of sustainable WASH systems

Published on: 04/03/2019

WASH systems academy

The WASH Systems Academy launches its first specialist course 9 December 2019.

What are the building blocks of sustainable services?

There are many elements that determine the strength of a WASH system to deliver sustainable services for all. We have divided them into nine dynamic and overlapping building blocks.


Specialist course: Building blocks of sustainable WASH systems

When WASH systems are strong and resilient they deliver services that meet people's needs. When they are weak, services are poor, unreliable or fail altogether. The WASH systems strengthening approach looks at the WASH system as a whole, through the lens of 9 critical "building blocks" as monitoring, finance and policy and legislation. Each session in this course focuses on one of these building blocks of a sustainable system.

Course objectives

After completing this course, you will know:

• the details of the 9 critical building blocks of sustainable WASH services
• entry points on how to start strengthening WASH systems

This course goes beyond the basics of system strengthening and introduces tools and methodologies to start applying the approach and assess the strength of the system in your context. 

Course duration

This specialist course on the building blocks of sustainable WASH systems consists of 11 sessions of 1.5 hours. The total estimated course duration is a minimum of 16 hours. You have three months to complete the course. After one year, access to the course will no longer be available.

Course schedule

Starting dates in 2020 are:

13 January 2020 

Sign-up for this course

10 February 2020

Sign-up for this course

6 April 2020 

Sign-up for this course

Additional courses:

1 June 2020

3 August 2020

5 October 2020

1 December 2020

Course content

The activities in each session are different, but expect to:

  • listen to podcasts
  • see animations, infographics and videos
  • connect with other WASH sector professionals and IRC in forum discussions
  • do exercises
  • read short texts
  • assess and reflect on how building blocks function in your setting
  • getting to know tools to strengthening systems
  • test your understanding with multiple choice questions

The learning does not have there. Each session has extra optional materials if you want to know more.

Session overview

The content of this course covers the building blocks of sustainable WASH systems and is divided over 11 sessions. Go through the course following all sessions in consecutive order:

  • Session 1: Introducing the building blocks
  • Session 2: Policy and legislation
  • Session 3: Institutions
  • Session 4: Finance
  • Session 5: Planning
  • Session 6: Regulation and accountability
  • Session 7: Monitoring
  • Session 8: Infrastructure development
  • Session 9: Infrastructure management
  • Session 10: Learning and adaptation
  • Session 11: Water resources management

The WASH system and its building block

Working offline

You can download the complete session texts, including all the exercises, via the course resources tab. This allows you to follow part of the course offline. However, you will need to connect to the online platform to participate in the forum discussions, poll questions and complete the multiple choice tests.

Track your progress

Collect all 11 building block badges! Earn a badge when you complete a session by successfully passing the multiple choice test at the end of each session. In this way you can easily keep track of the sessions you have successfully completed.

The certificate

If you successfully complete all the multiple choice tests at the end of each session with a score of 75% or more, you can download a digital certificate of completion.

Join us

Delivering water and sanitation services that last relies on a complex network of people and factors to work together effectively. In other words, it needs a strong WASH system in place. Strong WASH systems can only be built together.

Registration for the specialist course on the building blocks of sustainable WASH systems in 2020 is now open.

Go to the WASH Systems Academy landing page

The WASH Systems Academy is an initiative of IRC.

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