Skip to main content

Published on: 22/06/2018

Propeller campaign photos

THE HAGUE, 22 JUNE, 2018 – IRC launches a new campaign to promote systems thinking in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. The direct mail campaign juxtaposes a clichéd image of a young woman at a gushing, life-giving water pump with an absurd image of a man holding a propeller that purports to be an airline. The line reads 'if this (the pump) is a lasting water supply...then this (the propeller) is an airline.'

Typically, 30% of pumps fail. The campaign highlights the level of failure of current approaches to delivering WASH services. It points to the need for complete solutions that understand that comprehensive WASH systems are required, not simplistic piecemeal building of pumps and pipes. Currently, 2.1 billion people lack access to safe water at home and 4.5 billion to safely managed sanitation.

Speaking at the launch of Propeller, IRC CEO Patrick Moriarty said:

Everyone knows there's more to a sustainable water supply than a pump, yet many pretend otherwise. Clean water flowing from a pump is an image that has graced a thousand NGO fundraising campaigns, and in so doing, sustained a development approach that pours money into infrastructure whilst ignoring the systems required to keep that infrastructure running.

The good news is it doesn't have to be like this. Sustainable systems can bring safe water and sanitation to everyone. This isn't just another campaign message. It's a real solution and it's happening now.

With the Propeller campaign IRC is asking readers to actively promote a systems approach; to ensure that funders and investors support solutions based on delivering sustainable WASH systems; and, asking that WASH sector organisations (including IRC) are held to account for their ability to achieve lasting change through WASH systems strengthening.

Editor's notes

About the Propeller campaign

Read IRC's CEO, Patrick Moriarty's blog about the campaign
Download the Campaign postcards
Check out our social media posts on Facebook, Twitter: @IRCWASH - #WASHsystems #Propeller

About IRC

We're catalysts of change, working in every corner of the WASH sector to build and strengthen systems that transform lives. With sector colleagues we are currently using our expertise to deliver WASH systems in 6 countries and 21 districts and municipalities. We work with local and national governments and with international partners across the world to promote systems thinking and delivery.Our international team is made up of over 90 recognised WASH service specialists and dedicated field staff, based in our focus countries, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India and Uganda, and international experts in the United States and our head office in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Through our digital offerings, events and publications we seek to make our expertise and learning available to everyone. To find out more about a systems approach and why it's integral to sustainable WASH services, visit our website at

Vera van der Grift, Head of Global Communications / Petra Brussee, Head of Corporate Communications
T +31 70 304 4000


Back to
the top