Water Innovators - an employee development challenge

Bring out your inner entrepreneur – solve real issues, fund life-changing work and learn new skills as a water innovator!

Water Innovators is your chance to compete with others around the world to solve a real problem, raise funds for water and sanitation projects and develop your professional skills.

Find out how you can benefit from our employee development challenge:

“This is an excellent way to find innovative, collaborative solutions to real world problems as well as raising awareness and funds. Keep doing Water Innovators!”

– John Green, Anglian Water The Kathmandu’ers, Overall winners 2015

Water Innovators 2017 

Registration for Water Innovators 2017 will open shortly. In the meantime you can register your interest or find out more by emailing 

November 2016 | Deborah Meaden crowns the 2016 winners

Deborah Meaden speaking at the Water Innovators awards. Dragons' Den investor and entrepreneur presents the winning teams with their awards.

Find out who won and why >

May 2016 | Meet the 2016 teams!

In April, the teams pitched to a panel of WaterAid judges to receive seed funding for their projects.

Watch the films to see what the teams are planning >

Mar 2016 | Introducing the Water Innovators challenges of 2016

Eleven-year-old student Pheurnd, washing his hands by LaBobo after homework.

Each team taking part in Water Innovators 2016 chose from one of the following challenges:

Water Challenge – We are working with 10 hospitals to install filtered safe drinking water. Cambodians are used to bringing water with them when visiting the hospitals, as tap water is not trusted to be safe to drink. The challenge is to design a new drinking water station that can replace the existing sinks, and develop a communications and marketing strategy to promote the safe water to people visiting and working at the hospital.

Sanitation Challenge – Tonle Sap is South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake and one of the world’s most productive fisheries. Over 100,000 people live in floating communities on the lake. WaterAid and our partners have designed a household wastewater treatment system specifically for this setting. The challenge is to develop the design of this system to adapt it for an institutional setting of floating community schools – while still being affordable and technically sound.

Hygiene Challenge – Washing hands is the most cost effective and easy way to prevent disease. Cambodians face a lack of access to water and effective hygiene behaviour. To address this, WaterAid Cambodia and our partners are working to develop and promote the LaBobo – a fun and portable handwashing device (pictured above). The challenge is to develop the appeal and design of the LaBobo, based on specific user feedback and material restrictions.

Jan 2016 | Sharing ideas, changing lives  

Bimaya Nepali standing next to the toilet she built with help from WaterAid Nepal. Simjung, Gorkha, Nepal, March 2016During Water Innovators 2015, all of the ‘solve’ ideas from the Water Innovators teams were shared with the WaterAid Nepal team. They were so thankful for all of the dedication and effort the Water Innovators teams put in.

The money that the teams raised helped to fund life-changing work in earthquake-affected areas of Nepal.

Read more about how life is changing in Nepal: 

'There was no escaping from the earthquake': Nepal one year on >

Stories from Simjung: then and now >

This exciting programme gives you and your colleagues the opportunity to help WaterAid reach more people with safe water and toilets while getting a unique learning experience. 

Your Water Innovators team will work together to deliver the three parts of the programme: 


Propose innovative solutions to a real problem faced by the WaterAid team in Cambodia. We set the challenge – your team chooses between water, sanitation and hygiene.


Following a Dragons’ Den style pitch to win seed funding, your team will organise creative fundraising projects to raise more than £3000 to support WaterAid projects.


You’ll learn new skills and leadership qualities to bring to your workplace and beyond.

Download the Water Innovators brochure to find out more  >  

2016 Timeline

  • 19 November 2015 - February 2016 - Register your team(s) of between eight and 12 people. There can be more than one team per company. 
  • March 2016 - Teams receive all the materials they need to solve, fund and learn and launch their projects.
  • April 2016 - Teams submit their business cases and pitch to a panel of WaterAid judges to receive seed funding.
  • June 2016 - As well as regular contact from WaterAid staff throughout the process, your team will get a midpoint check-in from our team. 
  • September 2016 - Teams submit their final solve, fund and learn deliverables for initial judging.
  • October 2016 - Shortlisted finalists are invited to present to a panel of judges, before the overall winners and other awards are announced.


As well as helping us by contributing your expertise, you'll develop professional skills including: project management, leadership, influencing, networking and commercial acumen.

Our 2015 teams testified to the new skills they developed during the programme:  

  • Almost 90% developed skills that can be applied in the workplace.
  • Almost 90% developed team work skills. 
  • Just over 80% would recommend Water Innovators to others. 
  • Just over 80% developed their communication skills. 
  • Almost 80% achieved their personal learning objectives.

Terms and conditions

Download Water Innovators UK terms and conditions >

Download Water Innovators Australia terms and conditions >