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Published on: 13/05/2016

Started in January 2016, Watershed is a strategic partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IRC, Simavi, Akvo and Wetlands International. It aims to build the capacity of civil society organisations in six countries: Kenya, Uganda, Mali, Ghana, Bangladesh, India and also at international level, for evidence- based lobbying and advocacy on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) issues. This five-year partnership contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal for universal access to water and sanitation services and water security by making the voices of citizens heard and strengthening governance and accountability.

The partnership activities will specifically focus on the identification and inclusion of the marginalised in WASH and IWRM governance.

Watershed aspires to expand the reach of the partnership and impact by engaging other donors and partners. It will focus on areas where water resources are scarce or contested and where environmental management is at the core of the WASH sustainability challenge.

For IRC, this strategic partnership is one of the crucial collective steps in reaching SDG 6.  IRC believes that good governance is key to ensuring measurable improvements in the quality of sustainable service delivery.

Good governance implies government leadership to deliver services, and a strong civil society counterweight to give government direction, to ensure that voices of communities are heard.

Watershed is one of the 25 alliances that have entered into a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the policy framework, Dialogue and Dissent policy framework.  The partnership aims to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations in ‘lobby and advocacy’ in low- and low-middle income countries. The focus on lobby and advocacy is important for civil society to be able to hold governments and companies accountable for contributing to inclusive growth and helping reduce inequality.

This partnership creates a great opportunity for the participating organisations to join their forces, use their knowledge and expertise in lobby and advocacy to make the voice of civil society heard.

You can download the Watershed brochure here

Watershed Programme page:

Signing of the Watershed partnership (formerly known as the WASHIT! partnership).


Watershed Partners


IRC is a think-and-do tank. Our approach is different, and it is transformational. It involves everyone, in every part of the process, thinking and acting in new ways to find long-term solutions to the global crisis in water, sanitation and hygiene services.


Simavi realises structural improvement to the health conditions of people in marginalised communities in Africa and Asia since 1925. Simavi invests in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) because these basic services are vital for people to be able to lead a healthy life, build a better existence and find a way out of poverty. Therefore Simavi strives for a world in which basic health is accessible for all. Simavi aims to structurally improve the basic health of ten million people by 2020. Simavi works on this mission by collaborating closely with civil society organisations to build capacity and create structural, lasting change.

Wetlands International

Wetlands International seeks to improve human well-being and local livelihoods through wise use of wetlands. Many of the world’s poorest communities depend on wetland services and resources like fish, irrigation, water for livestock, sanitation and transport. Partnering with a broad range of development, civil society and community-based organisations, Wetlands International helps communities manage wetlands while enhancing their income and well-being. Wetlands International offers training modules on climate adaptation and the links between wetlands management and poverty reduction.


Akvo creates open source, internet and mobile software and sensors. It works with those that improve infrastructure and services, for disadvantaged populations. Akvo encourages and enables organisations to capture useful data in better ways, and provides training to improve skills in gathering, mapping and visualising data over time. Akvo helps partners integrate and analyse their data with our sources, to improve understanding of complex situations. Akvo tools also improve reporting, communication and collaboration, by making it easy to publish and exchange data to improve performance and build understanding and support for approaches, projects or programmes. Akvo also advocates the full adoption of open-source and open-data standards in the international development community.

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