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The desk review intends to inform conversations and advise decision-makers on standard approaches for enabling groups of actors working on complex WASH problems to take collective action.

TitleWhat is a collective action approach and what makes it effective? : a desk review
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsPugel, K, Javernick-Will, A, Linden, K
Secondary TitleAll systems go! WASH Systems Symposium, The Hague, the Netherlands, 12-14 March 2019
Pagination15 p. : 2 boxes, 1 tab.
Date Published02/2019
Place PublishedThe Hague, the Netherlands
Publication LanguageEnglish
Keywordscollective action, frameworks, models

Water and sanitation service delivery is complex and cannot be sustained by any one single actor. Recognising this prompts the need for approaches that integrate the diverse perspectives of the many actors involved in delivering services, align incentives, and strengthen collaboration. Countless methods and models for collaborative, action-based approaches exist — many tout success but ultimately reveal failure. As governments, donors, and implementers plan for the next generation of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programming, this study reviews frameworks for "collective action approaches" across sectors in the US and elsewhere. The study identifies a set of common conditions that have led to success of collective action efforts not related to water and sanitation service delivery and proposes future work to ground these conditions in WASH sector experiences. The desk review intends to inform conversations and advise decision-makers on standard approaches for enabling groups of actors working on complex WASH problems to take collective action.


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