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It takes a 'Story Teller, an Expert, and a Politician' to make systems change happen. Stories from change makers in Malawi, Honduras, Uganda, Cambodia and Ethiopia.

Title5 stories of change : achieving national-level systems change through collaborative advocacy
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsMengistu, B, Sou, S, Mekonta, L, Rivera, M, Harawa, K, J. Mulumba, N
Pagination46 p.
Date Published08/2023
PublisherAgenda for Change, c/o IRC WASH
Place PublishedThe Hague, the Netherlands
Publication LanguageEnglish

Achieving national level systems change is usually the result of years of collaborative engagement and advocacy by like-minded people and organisations, using a variety of tactics and soft skills and putting in time and effort to bring it about. This paper documents five stories of change from Cambodia, Ethiopia, Honduras, Malawi, and Uganda based on interviews with a change maker from each country.

Each story provides a personal account of what happened, challenges encountered along the way, and the tactics, soft skills and resourcing that helped to achieve it.

Three of the five national-level systems changes achieved are about developing and implementing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) policy documents: a climate-resilient finance strategy in Malawi, revising the national sector plan for achieving universal access to WASH by 2030 in Honduras, and harmonising data collection for WASH in Uganda. The other two changes refer first and foremost to a shift in mindsets, namely a clear sector commitment to achieving Open Defecation Free provinces in Cambodia and to popularising systems change concepts in partnership with a national sector training institute in Ethiopia.

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