A transformative approach to partnerships

4 min read
Image: WaterAid/Benjamin James Harris

When world leaders adopted Sustainable Development Goal 6 (Ensure access to water and sanitation for all) in September 2015, they made it clear that achieving such an ambitious goal is everyone’s responsibility and requires a joint effort between civil society, political actors and the private sector.

Partnership with the private sector is at the core of WaterAid’s operations; after all, we were established by the water industry in 2004. More recently, we have been working closely with two of Australia’s leading water sector umbrella organisations—the Australian Water Association (AWA) and the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA). Alongside these organisation, we have been promoting awareness in the industry of the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals and why they matter, not just in developing countries but also for all water operations in Australia. This has led to collaborative advocacy work and policy influencing from the Australian water sector to help ensure that water, sanitation and hygiene are prioritised and rank high in Australia’s international political agenda.

WaterAid’s presence in the water industry has historically focused on strong collaboration through fundraising. Our amazing group of corporate members and sponsors have been instrumental in supporting our programs overseas through the funds they have raised.

We are now shifting towards a more transformative approach to partnership. This means capitalising on the expertise and knowledge of our partners to help us design and implement joint programs in the countries where we work. This year, we launched three new initiatives with our corporates partners in mind: one focused on the future for Indian water utilities; another promoting the next generation of water, sanitation and hygiene professionals in Cambodia; and a third centred on co-creating water monitoring systems in Papua New Guinea.

Key players in the industry have already come on board to help WaterAid design sustainable and impactful solutions for communities overseas, using their technical expertise and resources to implement programs on governance, capacity building and policy influence.

Here are some of the highlights from the past year:

We’d like to offer a special acknowledge to our WaterAid Committees in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. These Committees raised more than $1.5 million this year through fundraising initiatives including gala dinners, golf days, soccer and beach volleyball tournaments and trivia nights. The Committees are composed of senior managers, mainly from the water industry, who decide to devote their spare time to WaterAid’s cause. To these volunteers, and their families, we give our most sincere and grateful thank you and congratulations for your amazing support.

This article first appeared in WaterAid Australia's Annual Report 2018-19