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Published on: 21/06/2022

IRC at a glance 2021
2021 was the final year of our medium-term strategic plan (2017-21), and we ended it on an upbeat note when, in August, we cemented our Alliance with Water For People and launched our visionary Destination 2030 Strategy.

Destination 2030 is all about a shared commitment to scale, impact and change, with the delivery of services to everyone in our partner districts at its heart. Four years after launching the first district 'master plan' (in Asutifi North, Ghana, in March 2018) we continue to see the results that come from empowered local leadership and collective action around a shared vision of access for all. That original master plan has now been joined by 18 others, of which six were finalised, validated and approved by district leadership in 2021.

We continued to make good progress towards achieving master plan goals. This was particularly true for water but we saw promising progress on sanitation too, and initiated exciting work on water and sanitation in health care facilities. There were important new partnerships with professional service providers; public water utilities; and private water and sanitation enterprises. The expansion of professionally managed services – moving away from management by communities - is an essential step towards honouring the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) commitment to provide safely managed water and sanitation services to all by 2030. Partnership with national scale public utilities also provides an excellent way to expand impact beyond our partner districts.

As in every year, we faced challenges. Covid-19 tested our ability to work through sporadic lockdowns, while political conflict in many of our focus countries tested the resolve of our teams and the incremental improvement that lies at the heart of our systems strengthening approach.

The world is not on track to deliver its 2030 goals of safe and sustainable drinking water and sanitation services for everyone. Efforts are confronted by a lack of high-level political vision and leadership in many countries. There are too few Swachh Bharats or Jal Jeevans, and too many countries and actors that still see providing a shared handpump or pit latrine as appropriate goals. They are not! Scaling the successes we've seen in our partner districts, especially the expansion of professionally and safely managed services, requires clear and strong political commitment not just to systems strengthening – but to profound systems change.

Triggering and supporting this change is at the heart of Destination 2030. It is also the reason for our continued support to key partnerships like Agenda for Change and Sanitation and Water for All. In order to widen and reinforce the network of likeminded partners committed to this change, we will host signature events in 2022 and 2023: All Systems Go Africa in Ghana in October 2022, and All Systems Connect in the Netherlands in May 2023. 

Read our Annual Report 2021, our Monitoring Report 2021 and our 2021 Financial Report for more highlights and details of our work.

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