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Specialist course: Building blocks of sustainable WASH systems

Published on: 04/03/2019

WASH systems academy

The WASH Systems Academy will launch its first specialist course in December.

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

This specialist course on the building blocks of sustainable WASH systems consists of 10 sessions of 1.5 hours. The total estimated course duration is 16 hours.

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
• how to support others to apply the WASH systems strengthening approach

This course goes beyond the basics of system strengthening and introduce tools and methodologies to start applying the approach and assess the strength of the system in your context. This course is available after completion of the free general course 'WASH systems strengthening: the basics'.

Course content

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

  • hear (podcasts)
  • see (animation, info graphic or video)
  • connect (with other WASH sector professionals and IRC in forum discussions)
  • do (exercises, quizzes)
  • read (short texts) and
  • create (your own materials)

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. (i.e. from session 1 to 11).

  • Session 1: Introducing the building blocks
  • Session 2: Policy and legislation
  • Session 3: Institutions
  • Session 4: Regulation and accountability
  • Session 5: Planning
  • Session 6: Finance
  • Session 7: Monitoring
  • Session 8: Infrastructure development
  • Session 9: Infrastructure management
  • Session 10: Water resource management
  • Session 11: Learning and adaptation
  • Test your knowledge & earn a certificate

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, upload the materials you create and complete the multiple choice tests and quizzes.

Track your progress

After completing a session, you receive a building block badge (i.e finance badge, monitoring badge etc). Collect all 10 badges. After completing standard activities, activity badges are awarded. Become a 'curious cat' for reading short texts or a 'listening owl' for following the podcasts (see below).

Overview actvity badges

To easily see your progress throughout the course, activities that are completed are automatically marked with a green tick in the box on the right side of the activity.

The certificate

The course ends with a multiple-choice test. If you complete all activities in all sessions and get 80% on the test, you can download a digital certificate to add to your LinkedIn or Facebook profile.

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 8-19 December is now open.

Register here

The WASH Systems Academy is an initiative of IRC.

Useful links