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 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 Companies House, registration number 07238796. Our Board of Directors (Trustees) comprises the Chair of each Full member organisation, currently Australia, Canada, Sweden, the UK and the US. One additional trustee from WaterAid UK is also appointed. The Chair of WaterAid international is Maureen O’Neil, appointed in August 2020.
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.
Chairs of our Associate and Affiliate members, currently India and Japan, attend by invitation of the WAi Chair
Our Global Director
Our Global Director role is currently vacant, following the retirement of Ken Caldwell in April 2020, and we are now recruiting for his replacement. The Global Director works with WaterAid member Chief Executives and boards to maximise our collective impact, develop the WaterAid global network and lead the WaterAid international secretariat.
Cecilia Chatterjee Martinsen is covering the duties of the Global Director during the vacancy, alongside her principal role as WaterAid Sweden’s Chief Executive.
Our annual reports
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By working together, we can enable entire communities to unlock their potential, break free from poverty and change their lives for good.