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WASH systems strengthening: the basics

Published on: 05/03/2019

WASH systems academy landing page

Why do we need WASH systems strengthening?


Access to water, sanitation and hygiene forms the very foundation of a healthy and dignified life. It is essential to improved health, education and livelihoods. Yet around the world, 2.1 billion people lack access to safe water and 4.5 billion people are without safe sanitation.

Ensuring WASH services last, needs holistic thinking and strong systems in place. Now, with the WASH Systems Academy free online courses, everyone can get to know the basics of how to deliver resilient water and sanitation services and be part of the change needed to leave no one behind. Let's build strong WASH systems together.

 WASH systems strengthening: the basics

Want to know all about the WASH systems strengthening? Join the free course 'WASH systems strengthening: the basics'.

The academy is an interactive platform developed to assist WASH sector professionals in applying a WASH systems strengthening approach. If you are at the start of your career or are a senior WASH expert that wants to understand what a systems strengthening approach is all about and how you can integrate it in your work, this free online course is for you. Strong WASH systems can only be built together.

Here's how to set up your account

Course objectives

This course covers the basic concepts of WASH systems strengthening. It's about understanding how to achieve sustainable WASH service delivery for all and how to function effectively in the process. It will help you understand the WASH systems strengthening approach:

  • what it is
  • how and why it was developed
  • how to start applying it.

Each session has specific learning objectives which are outlined at the start. At the end of the course you will have a good understanding of the WASH systems strengthening approach.

Session overview

The content of this course covers the basic concepts of WASH systems strengthening and is divided into nine sessions. The course will take a minimum of 16 hours to complete, and you have three months to complete the course.

After one year, access to the course will no longer be available.

It's recommended that you work through the course, completing all the sessions, in consecutive order. (i.e., from Session 1 to 9). Along the way, you will be able to test your understanding in the three multiple choice tests and the two quizzes.

The course content is as follows:

  • Session 1: Introducing the WASH Systems Academy
  • Session 2: From broken pumps to lasting systems
  • Session 3: What is WASH systems strengthening?
  • Session 4: WASH is a service
  • Session 5: Sanitation system strengthening
  • Session 6: Hygiene promotion for WASH systems strengthening
  • Session 7: WASH systems strengthening away from home
  • Session 8: Leaving no one behind
  • Session 9: The roadmap to sustainable WASH services
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.

The certificate

If you complete all the activities in all the sessions and score 80% or higher on the three multiple choice tests and the two quizzes, you can download a digital certificate of completion to add to your LinkedIn or Facebook profile.

Your certificate will show your course grade together with the name in your profile, the date of completion and a verification code.


What users have to say about the basics course



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The WASH Systems Academy is an initiative of IRC.

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