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Published on: 25/06/2019

IRC at a glance 2018

2018 was the second year of our refreshed strategy, which focuses on the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 6 – access to safe water and sanitation available for everyone, for good by 2030. It was also our 50th birthday, making it a fitting year to celebrate a transformed organisation and mission.

The particular highlight of 2018 was the development and launch of master plans for universal water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) service provision by two of our partner districts in Burkina Faso and Ghana (with more to follow in 2019). Each plan represents the first time that local authorities have committed to the aim of achieving universal access by 2030. They are the result of a process of strong political leadership and collective action by a broad coalition in each district. The plans, processes and partnerships aligned behind this work represent the end of a critical first step in our Theory of Change. They are the end of the beginning. They also highlight the challenges to come, not least mobilising the necessary finance to meet their ambitious goals and scaling up this systems approach to other districts. 

Our strategy and Theory of Change are ambitious: for ourselves and for the WASH sector in the districts and countries where we work. They revolve around us acting as a hub for WASH systems strengthening and change, triggering and supporting initiatives by others leading to effective, collective action. This work is hard to do and it's equally hard to make it clear and visible. In a world that seeks simple, clear and compelling narratives, the reality of WASH system strengthening in developing countries consistently confounds easy storytelling. To help with this, we're developing an innovative monitoring framework to make the outcomes of WASH systems strengthening more visible and measurable. A public-facing reporting system will go live in 2019. 

Our financial situation was stable in 2018, with a turnover of slightly more than € 11 million. This was supported by an important new four-year grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation that directly supports our district-level change hub work. In total, we received funding from 32 donors and 49 clients this year, and we gratefully acknowledge their generous support. 

During this year our staff number grew to 75 people, with 43 of these based in our focus countries. We also worked with more than 20 associates, in line with our vision of a flexible and decentralised workforce. The international makeup of our Supervisory Board remained unchanged with six members, two Netherlands-based and four external.

Read our Annual Report 2018, our Monitoring Report 2018 and our Annual Accounts 2018 for more highlights and details of our work.  

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