IRD’s WASH programs are meeting relief and long-term development challenges worldwide. Our approach is both multisectoral and comprehensive, providing a tailored package of services to people in need. Because we partner with communities, government, the private sector, and international and local organizations, our programs start up rapidly and show great potential for positive impact and added value. Our WASH programs especially benefit women, enabling them to spend less time collecting water and more time earning income or improving their families’ food security. In every country where IRD works, our WASH programs are designed to be scalable, replicable, and sustainable.
From Preparedness to Relief to Long-Term Development
Working with local authorities and strengthening the capacity of WASH-response units, IRD helped prevent the outbreak of waterborne diseases in rural Nepal. We prepared master trainers to conduct awareness campaigns and established a system to build local capacity and leadership in emergency preparedness and response. In Indonesia and Mozambique, IRD provided emergency relief and long-term WASH solutions to victims of conflict and flooding. In Indonesia’s Aceh province, emergency projects included the rehabilitation of water and sanitation systems, livelihood recovery, and income generation that benefited nearly 350,000 people. Longer term interventions included the rehabilitation of water treatment systems and capacity building for local communities to sustain the rehabilitated systems. In Mozambique, IRD helped meet emergency WASH needs for evacuated families
through networks of trained hygiene workers. Within days of the flood disaster, IRD had mobilized emergency teams to affected districts, established water treatment stations, and begun distributing hygiene supplies. Later, IRD implemented WASH programs for long-term resettlement by drilling boreholes and digging latrines.
WASH in Schools and Clinics
Throughout Asia, Eastern Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa, IRD programs are improving hygiene practices through social marketing and peer education methodologies. For example, we mobilized communities for partnerships that supported parent-child learning programs and created community-parent-school coalitions that increased community participation in the design, implementation, and monitoring of school improvement activities. Other improvements included the construction and rehabilitation of water catchments and water supply and sanitation facilities in healthcare facilities and boarding schools for disabled children. IRD organized local hygiene committees, facilities maintenance, and point-of-use water disinfection. Through training of healthcare providers, village health committees, and government officials, IRD also improved the quality of health services. In addition, via multiple use-of-water approaches—such as establishment of demonstration gardens at schools for diversified crop and vegetable production—IRD WASH programs are improving nutrition.
Peri-Urban Rainwater Harvesting
In Zimbabwe, the Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting (PROOF) program is helping to solve a critical water supply problem for areas of high population density in Harare. To date, the program has benefited 1,350 households and 7,500 students in 15 schools. PROOF is now expanding geographically; in addition, it is moving programmatically toward a market-based approach by developing supply chains and training households and school staff on maintenance and hygiene.
Water Infrastructure Construction
In places like Kosovo and the West Bank IRD partners with local NGOs, subcontractors, communities, government, and regional water companies to build infrastructure and increase local capacity to design and operate water systems. In consultation with water users, IRD also encourages implementation of water tariffs and trains service providers in sustainable water management practices. By building water transmission mains, distribution networks, treatment plants, reservoirs, pumping stations, water-lifting stations, flooding wells, and water towers, IRD is providing safe, clean water to thousands of people.
Solar Disinfection (SODIS)
In Laos, Sri Lanka, and Mozambique, IRD is implementing this economical and simple method for disinfecting water in schools and clinics, and developed promotional materials that increase awareness of the importance of clean water and good hygiene. In addition, IRD has developed training materials, trained trainers, and worked with community organizations to ensure the sustainability of SODIS techniques. Solar disinfection has increased the availability of safe, inexpensive drinking water, raised hygiene awareness, and measurably reduced the prevalence of waterborne diseases among targeted populations.
Implementing Multiple Uses of Water
Through its holistic approach to the reduction of drought and cyclone vulnerability in Mozambique and Swaziland, IRD is helping communities build rainwater harvesting systems and increase farm yields through runoff farming, water harvesting, and conservation agriculture techniques. IRD has trained farmers to plant drought-resistant crops, establish kitchen gardens, and help farmers gain access to markets. Agricultural activities are complemented by increased water supply for drinking and home irrigation through improved water catchments, repaired water points with appropriate pump technology, and the installation of rooftop rainwater harvesting systems at schools. At the same time, teachers, school committee members, borehole water committee members, and health activists have been trained to maintain the infrastructure.
IRD sees the need to implement more effective approaches to rural sanitation in order to end open defecation. One approach we will take is to apply our experience with value chains in other sectors (for example, agriculture) to develop sanitation value chains. We will also encourage the development of business models and technologies for sustainable sanitation at the local level. And we will continue to work with local and national governments to create policy and regulatory environments that support improved sanitation. Another area we believe is high priority is addressing the full cycle of service delivery—from planning to construction to asset management and replacement. IRD will do this by promoting expanded opportunities for local entrepreneurs for system maintenance, and for building and supporting supply chains that address full WASH system lifecycle requirements.