Our approach

WaterAid has always used pioneering technologies, especially for water pumps and toilets, but technology by itself does not always lead to a wider, sustainable impact on communities.

To maximise the impact of innovations, we tailor them to local contexts and work with authorities to embed them in wider plans and scale them up. 

For instance, we adapt approaches such as Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), which facilitates communities to assess their own open defecation status and take steps to become open defecation free. In Burkina Faso, we moulded CLTS to local culture and integrated the approach into Government policy.

Learning is a crucial part of innovation – we must be willing to let experience influence our plans, and be flexible to adapt to challenges as they happen. An example of our learning is our work with small entrepreneurs, in which we are trying different business models for emptying toilet pits.

WaterAid creates an ethos of sharing, honesty and learning through:

  • A decentralised structure, with country programmes guided by the organisation’s accountability framework.
  • Adapting programmes to respond to lessons.
  • Entrusting project management to local staff and partners.
  • Ensuring sound risk management.