International development cooperation is fueled by partnerships. Global collaborations like Agenda for Change create spaces for like-minded organizations to identify these strategic partnerships and to pursue opportunities for thoughtfully tackling persistent development challenges together.
Helvetas is proud to be a member of the Agenda for Change collaboration, which is shifting the way in which water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects are organized and delivered. Agenda for Change supports its members in improving in-country coordination, amplifying evidence-based learning, and promoting knowledge sharing. The 14 collaboration members are working on WASH strengthening in almost 40 countries to achieve a common goal: collectively advancing towards SDG 6 by bringing sustainable WASH services to everyone, everywhere.
Agenda for Change supports members to take action together through a process of catalyzing country collaborations. The process began in 2020 with nominations of 10 countries where members and governments have been working collaboratively on WASH systems strengthening; in several countries, members have begun new conversations and advanced significant, new collaborative activities with other WASH systems actors. This effort has helped Helvetas foster new peer relationships and grow existing ones to further our project work in Haiti, Guatemala, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, and Niger.
Strengthening Nepal’s WASH Sector
Helvetas has supported WASH programming in Nepal since 1976 and is leading activities to collaboratively strengthen the country’s WASH systems, which have broad coverage but low functionality. “The WASH sector in Nepal is fragmented,” said Yogesh Pant, Component Manager of Helvetas’ Integrated Water Resources Management Program. “There are many government and non-governmental organizations involved in the sector and they have different approaches and working modalities.”
An important output of members’ country-level coordination is the development of complementary resources that create alignment across the sector, set standards, and build local capacity. Helvetas developed Water Use Master Plans that guide communities in creating participatory and inclusive water management plans. Another network member made a building block checklist that helps program staff and Nepalese government partners understand what is missing in the sector.
Knowledge-sharing events are an important way to leverage the experience of global networks. The Helvetas Nepal team co-hosted a webinar with the government and other Agenda for Change members to discuss lessons learned in WASH systems strengthening. Attendees shared case studies of implementing municipality-level WASH plans and explored more effective measures for building better systems in the future.