Making change happen globally

WaterAid is an international not-for-profit federation, determined to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone everywhere within a generation.

We started in 1981, when several UK water companies came together to find a solution to a global crisis that had left billions without water, toilets or hygiene.

In 2010 WaterAid became a global federation of national member organisations. To date, we have seven members: Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Sweden, the UK and the US.

Each member organisation mobilises support in its home country, engaging individuals, companies and institutions to raise funds and influence policies to support our mission.

Making change happen on a global scale

We collaborate on regional and global advocacy and campaigns to influence governments, companies and international institutions. Australia, India, UK and US also manage and fund country programmes like this one in Madagascar, on behalf of our global network.


WaterAid international

WaterAid international was created in 2010 to help the members of the WaterAid family work together effectively and efficiently. It follows four principles:

  • Principle 1: Global interest. Achieving WaterAid's mission as effectively as possible is fundamental to all we do and global interest is paramount.

  • Principle 2: Subsidiarity. WaterAid international will only undertake activities that it can and will deliver more effectively than WaterAid member countries.

  • Principle 3: One country, one WaterAid. WaterAid will only have one organisation delivering our work in each of the countries where we operate.

  • Principle 4: Sustainability. The members of the WaterAid federation will be organisations that are, or are expected to become within a reasonable time-frame, self-sustaining and able to contribute significant resources to the delivery of WaterAid's strategy.

The international board and secretariat are collectively responsible for:

WaterAid's work around the world is steered by a global strategy with four overarching aims. The strategy guides our programme and funding priorities, our growth and development as a federation, and provides the framework against which we can assess our progress. The Board and secretariat coordinate the development, monitoring, review and reporting of the global strategy, coordinate the global annual planning process, and agree our global priorities.  We ensure that the programmes of work developed and delivered by each member are meeting our global aims and are taking us closer to the realisation of our mission: making clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene a normal part of everyday life for everyone, everywhere.

We aim to have a strong and diverse federation with a strong supporter base in key countries around the world.  We want to be effective in mobilising funds and influencing the policies and priorities of governments and companies. To do this we work to strengthen the capacity of all our members, and agree when and where to invest in new members and new country programmes where WaterAid can have most impact.

WaterAid international works across the federation to help our members build effective and influential relationships with key global actors, including governments, donors and private companies, making clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene a reality for even more people every year. You can read about some of these partnerships on our member sites.

As a global organisation with teams in 37 countries, we need processes and systems that work, enabling the free flow of funds, people and knowledge around the federation.  We often refer to this as the organisational plumbing.  WaterAid international’s role and responsibility is to coordinate the development and continuing efficiency of these processes, ensuring that we can be more effective in our work as a federation than we could be as individual organisations.

WaterAid international sets the membership criteria and standards across the federation that maintain our global reputation and brand, promote strong and well governed members, and present WaterAid as a cohesive and unified organisation.  The international board agrees the standards for how we work, dealing with core areas such as financial probity, safeguarding, health, safety and security, people management, and service delivery.  It coordinates the development and observance of these standards and criteria by members, and owns and licences the WaterAid brand to our members.

WaterAid international promotes a culture of mutual collaboration across the federation to drive our collective impact, and manage our collective risks.  This approach is supported by effective, efficient, and accountable governance of our global federation through the international Board and its committees and delegations.

WaterAid international is a charitable company, registered in the UK with the Charity Commission, registration number 1137900 (England & Wales) and at Companies House, registration number 07238796. Our Board of Directors (Trustees) comprises the Chair of each full member organisation, currently Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden, the UK and the US. One additional trustee from WaterAid UK is also appointed. Chairs of our associate members, currently India, attend by invitation of Chair. WaterAid international’s Chair is Maureen O’Neil, appointed in August 2020.

Our Board

WaterAid international’s Board Chair is Maureen O’Neil.

Portrait of Maureen O’ Neil, the newly elected Chair of the Board of WaterAid International
Image: Michelle Valberg

Maureen was appointed to the WaterAid international Board as Chair from 1st August 2020.  

Maureen has worked in international development in both executive and governance capacities since 1989.  She is the former President of the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and previous positions also include President of the International Development Research Centre; Interim President of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development; President of the North-South Institute; and Deputy Minister of Citizenship, Government of Ontario. Maureen is a member of the boards of e-Health Ontario; the Centre for International Governance Innovation; the Centre for the Study of Living Standards and the Canadian International Council. 

She is former Chair of the Board of the United Nations (UN) Research Institute for Social Development; the Board of Trustees of the International Institute for Environment and Development; the International Advisory Group; IDRC’s Think Tank Initiative; and the Advisory Council on Corporate Social Responsibility of Canada’s Export Development Corporation. She has represented Canada on the UN Commission on the Status of Women and on OECD committees, and has been a member of the UN Committee for Development Planning and the Board of the UN Research Institute for Social Development.

Maureen is an Officer of the Order of Canada, recognizing her public service, and her contributions to international development, gender equality and human rights.

Portrait of Andrew Towle

Andrew Towle

Andrew Towle joined the WAi board in January 2023 on his appointment as Chair of the WaterAid America board. He has spent his professional life creating value for some of the world’s best-known CPG companies, including Procter & Gamble, Heinz, Georgia-Pacific, and Kellogg’s. He was the CEO of private equity-owned Urnex Brands, which was successfully sold in 2017. Andrew is currently a partner at NGN Investment Partners.

Towle grew up in India and Thailand and experienced first hand the many issues that WaterAid is committed to resolving. 

Andy Green, Chair of WaterAid UK

Andy Green CBE

Andy joined the international Board in October 2020, and is also Chair of WaterAid UK. He holds a number of Chair, Non-Executive Director and advisory roles linked by his passion for how technology transforms business and daily lives, and global sustainable development. These appointments include WWF UK, the Disasters Emergency Committee, the Lowell Group, Airtel Africa and Link Administration Holdings. Before joining WaterAid, Andy was President of UK Space, CEO of BT Global Services, CEO of Logica and Chair of Digital Catapult. 

A head and shoulders photo of Martin Munro

Martin Munro

Martin joined the international Board in June 2022.  He is from Ottawa and is a retired engineering and technology professional.  Most recently he was Vice President Strategy and Business Development with DRS Technologies Canada Ltd, and before that held senior positions with Allen Vanguard, Cubic Field Services Canada, and Lockheed Martin Canada.  He is a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario and a past board member of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries and Service Coordination. He has lived in Papua New Guinea, working on health infrastructure.

A portrait photo of Karlene Maywald

Karlene Maywald

Karlene is currently appointed by the South Australian Government to the role of Water Ambassador, leading the development of a ‘Water for Growth’ strategy to support the State’s Growth agenda.   Karlene’s  water sector experience includes chairing the International Centre of Excellence in Water Resources Management (ICEWaRM) and the Peter Cullen Water and Environment. She is also a Board Member (elect) of The Australian Water Association and Chair of the CSIRO Land and Water Advisory Committee. Her not-for-profit experience includes Chair of the Cancer Council SA and membership of the Independent Advisory Panel for the Red Cross Bush Fire Relief Fund.


Professor Mala Rao OBE

Mala is Senior Clinical Fellow at the Dept of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London and has extensive experience in strengthening health systems and workforce development for public health in the UK, India and SE Asia. She is a campaigner on the health aspects of climate change and is passionate about the integration of WASH and health policy and delivery, which are key elements of WaterAid’s Global Strategy. Mala was appointed to the WaterAid UK board in 2017 and to WaterAid international’s board in 2018.

Portrait of Michael Arthursson

Michael Arthursson

Michael Arthursson joined the Board of WaterAid international in June 2023 and is Chair of the Board of WaterAid Sweden.  Michael is the Secretary General of The Centre Party (Centerpartiet) in Sweden. He has previously run companies with a focus on social issues and development, and has been active within the City of Stockholm, Stockholm County Council, the Red Cross and other non-profit organizations. Michael has board experience with many organisations including Danderyd Hospital, Randello Invest, the Swedish Association of Municipalities and the National Youth Council. He was one of the founders of the green liberal think-tank Fores and its first chairman of the board. Today, Michael works as an independent strategic advisor.

Portrait of Hiroaki Furumai

Hiroaki Furumai

Hiroaki Furumai is the Institute Professor of the Research and Development Initiative at Chuo University and a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo.   He has a doctorate in engineering from the University of Tokyo and is engaged in research on urban water infrastructure and water environment conservation. He is the director of the International Water Association, the chairman of the Japan Society on Water Environment, and the chairman of the Japan Water Works Association and the Japan Sewage Works Association. Currently, he also serves as a member of the Welfare Science Council, and of the Central Environment Council.

Sumit Bose

Sumit Bose

Sumit Bose is Chair of Jal Seva Foundation (WaterAid India) and an Associate Board Member of WaterAid international.. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1976 and has held senior roles in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. He was Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Human Resource Development and has been Vice Chair of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Chair of the Board of Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, and Public Interest Director of the Bombay Stock Exchange since 2016.

Our Global Director

WaterAid international’s Global Director is Andrew McCracken.

Image of WaterAid international’s Global Director, Andrew McCracken.

Andrew joined WaterAid in February 2021 from the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland where he was Chief Executive.  

Prior to that he worked with INGO Tearfund for 13 years, including three years as Global Fundraising Director.

He is also on the Boards of Oxfam Ireland and the CypberPeace Institute. 

Andrew works closely with WaterAid member Chief Executives and Boards to maximise our collective impact and develop the WaterAid global network, and leads the WaterAid international secretariat.


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