SNV and DFAT’s Water for Women Fund to co-host a learning event on systems strengthening for inclusive WASH

SNV and DFAT’s Water for Women Fund to co-host a learning event on systems strengthening for inclusive WASH

SNV and Water for Women are partnering to deliver the first Water for Women regional learning event next week, taking place in Kathmandu, Nepal from 2-5 December 2019. Funded by the Australian Government, Water for Women is supporting improved health, equality and wellbeing in Asian and Pacific communities through socially inclusive and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects [1].

Jointly hosted by SNV and Water for Women, the theme of this regional event is ‘Systems strengthening for inclusive WASH – leaving no one behind.’ The event will convene nearly 50 participants, representing Water for Women projects and research delivered across 12 countries in South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific [2]. They will be joined by partner representatives from government and rights holder groups, the Fund Coordinator and DFAT.

Together, they will examine prominent systems thinking in WASH and seek to deepen understanding of inclusion – applying perspectives of sexual and gender minorities (SGM), disability and ‘Do No Harm’ approaches in systems thinking.

Systems thinking is not new, there are many ways to describe WASH systems and there are multiple paths to take to realise systems change.

However, whilst systems are designed by, and for, different groups of people - and therefore cannot emerge on their own – we’ve been seeing the same trends occur, time and again:

  • Unequitable WASH investments: financing for infrastructure and coverage increase are easier to raise, in comparison to capacity development and management (including infrastructure management: operations and maintenance).

  • Poor conception of the centrality of people in systems: people are at the heart of systems; their coming and going pose risks to the sustainability of systems. For example, changes in development agendas, governance systems (centralisation vs decentralisation), leadership, etc. heighten risks of institutional memory loss.

About the regional learning event

The event follows three weeks of email exchanges in the SNV-hosted E-group discussion last October [3].

Facilitated by SNV – a Water for Women partner, with support from the Fund Coordinator team, objectives of the learning event are as follows:

  • To exchange ideas and deepen understanding of the opportunities and priorities for strengthening inclusive WASH Systems, which leave no one behind.

  • To learn from ongoing initiatives and share experiences in transformational practice (including SGM, disability and Do No Harm).

  • To reflect on, and identify, entry points for applying new thinking in participants’ own contexts.

Interested to follow discussions on this topic?

Live social media reporting will be organised during the event. Be sure to follow the Twitter accounts of Water for Women and SNV WASH, and participate using the event hashtag (#SS4WASHNepal)

Several expert blogs – on do no harm, disability inclusion, and sexual and gender minorities – will be cross-published on the Water for Women and SNV websites, together with related learning syntheses.

Finally, during the first quarter of next year, the learning event’s co-hosts will launch the event’s proceedings report. Don’t miss out! Sign up with SNV’s e-group now to receive notification of the launch [4].


[1] Water for Women partners are delivering 18 projects in 15 countries over five years, in addition to 11 research projects. SNV is delivering three Water for Women WASH projects. Visit SNV country project links in Bhutan, Lao PDR and Nepal
[2] CSO partners to be represented at the event include: CFAR, RTI, SNV, IRC, World Vision, Thrive and WaterAid in South Asia | RO partners to be represented include LSHTM and IWMI. Learn more about Water for Women CSO and research partners.
[3] During this learning event’s preparatory e-group discussion, some participants asserted that there is a need to situate notions of and strategies for WASH systems change against real-time manifestations of the political economy. Several have also said that the WASH sector needs to quicken the pace in translating its recognition of diversity into tangible policies and actions.  
[4] Send an email to: wash@snv.org, with the subject title: Registration to e-group. In your email request, please indicate: your full name; and which sub-group you will want to follow, rural sanitation | urban sanitation | rural water supply