A successful year; an ambitious future
"Together we achieved so much, despite increasing instability in the world. The continuing devastation caused by COVID-19. The global impact of the conflict in Ukraine, especially in relation to food distribution in the countries where we work. Conflict in Ethiopia and parts of west Africa.
"The growing risks brought about by climate change. Each of these are threats that could halt and even reverse the progress we have made. However, thanks to our wonderful teams and partners around the world, through it all we have sustained our programmes and helped many more people secure their right to water, sanitation and hygiene. Thank you all."
- Chief Executive Tim Wainwright and Chair of Trustees Andy Green CBE
Working in partnership
We bring people together, actively encouraging collaboration so that many voices can be heard and ideas can spread. This approach reflects how we were founded by the private companies of the UK water sector coming together with a shared vision in 1981, and deepening our relationship with the private sector within countries and globally is a key component of our new strategy.
Outside of the private sector, by working closely with partners internationally and on the ground, we achieve more lasting change than we would working by ourselves.
In 2021-22, we worked with 247 partner organisations on 233 projects.
Our partners included:
- 103 governmental bodies and 94 non-governmental organisations from the local to the global
- 15 primary networks or alliances, alongside a wide range of others
- 49 rural and urban authorities, including 8 utilities.
We invest in thorough research and targeted relationship-building, to create and seize opportunities to make a difference to people’s lives through governments at all levels. Change can take longer by this route, but once secured it can benefit millions and, if properly implemented, last lifetimes. In 2021-22 we helped secure changes to 14 national policies, strategies or standards to benefit people living without clean water, decent toilets or good hygiene.
A good COP26 for water
November marked our biggest and most successful engagement at COP, the global climate summit. In the lead-up, we worked with our allies Pan-Africa Climate Justice Alliance to ensure water was on the agenda and embedded in climate adaptation plans.
During COP26, we held events, meetings and exhibitions, including several events as part of the first-ever COP Water Pavilion with partners such as UN agencies, Eversheds Sutherland, Diageo, Arup and the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI). We will continue to develop the Resilient Water Accelerator as part of our involvement in the SMI.
As a result of our hard work and influencing, alongside other key allies in the water sector, water was more prominent than ever. We saw water, sanitation and hygiene integrated within country plans to adapt to climate change for Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia – with further influencing of these plans now underway in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and eSwatini – paving the way for us to make even bigger waves at COP27.
We strengthen the local and national systems that underpin how water, sanitation and hygiene services get to people in the first place, and are then maintained. These systems include planning, coordinating, financing, implementation and monitoring, and the approach means that our investment reaches many more people than it would if we used it to deliver services directly ourselves.
Below we report on people reached through these activities in 13 of the countries we work in:
Improved sanitation and menstrual health in eSwatini
Right: Siphosenkhosi with the contents of a ‘dignity pack’ at her school in Lubombo Province, eSwatini, where we helped develop menstrual health management guidelines with the Ministry of Health.
Organisations improving sanitation systems across the country are now using a manual that we developed with the Ministry of Health. We designed the manual with key factors such as climate, emergency situations and affordability in mind. However, top of the list were quality and inclusiveness – especially in relation to gender, disability, children and older people. The team also supported the Ministry to develop guidelines to improve menstrual health management.
The goal is to reduce absenteeism of girls from school and promote the dignity and safety of girls and women. The department for adolescent and young women has since used the guidelines to underpin an action plan to ensure relevant sanitation and hygiene facilities meet national standards, and to improve public knowledge, especially through private sector partnerships and the media.
Delivering services directly
We deliver services directly to bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to people for the first time, to keep us rooted in the communities we serve, and to test innovative new ways of working and technologies which we and our partners can scale up to reach even more people.
In 2021-22 we reached the following numbers of people and facilities with the following services:
Service delivery: Hygiene that shines in Madagascar
Our Shining Hygiene campaign has helped more than 6,000 households in 24 communes improve their hygiene behaviour, a vital element in maximising the personal and social benefits of clean water and decent toilets. The campaign, delivered to households by local volunteer hygiene promoters, is based around the adoption of 5 good hygiene behaviours.
Alongside this work we supported 22 schools and 3 health centres to gain certification for their clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. Our support included constructing sanitation blocks, and supplying training for teachers, students and medical teams. The certification is approved by the ministries of education and health respectively, and contributes to the country’s progress to becoming open defecation free. We also shared our experiences with the World Bank, as part of their consultation on future programmes.
Fundraising and finances
Generosity bowls us over
While the UK began its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic this year, we knew its economic impact would linger. We have been bowled over by the generosity our supporters showed, despite these continuing difficult times. Below we feature just some of our fundraising successes.
But we also want to extend a special thank you to everyone who continued supporting us in smaller, yet no less significant ways. WaterAiders who responded to our appeals with a cash donation, or made our ongoing work possible by giving or increasing a regular gift, have continued to make real change happen for communities around the world. Thank you to every one of our supporters. Together we are making a bigger difference with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.
Truly lasting change
Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have supported us since 2013, and during 2021-22 raised a phenomenal £2,519,000. This level of support is transformational, and has had a huge impact for communities across the world.
Total income is 2.7% higher compared to the prior year, which is a remarkable achievement given the continued impact of COVID-19 and more recently the war in Ukraine. With social distancing restrictions being lifted this year, we were delighted to see many of our corporate partners’ businesses recover and many events take place again to grow that income stream.
Giving from individuals continued steadily and companies and philanthropic organisations supported our work with greater generosity than we planned for. We are immensely proud of and grateful for this, as it has a direct impact on our ability to respond to the difficult circumstances experienced in the countries where we work.
Total expenditure reduced by 1% on the previous year. While expenditure against already secured funds was a little slower than we had planned there were also economic factors such as exchange rates being more favourable than expected that contributed to programmes being delivered at lower cost than budgeted.
Going into 2022-23 the challenging environment to deliver sustainable and quality programmes of work continues, with the ongoing impact of COVID-19, political insecurity in some countries, war in Ukraine affecting critical supply of goods (especially to Africa) and weakening global economics contributing to rapidly rising inflation.
The lower costs and excellent income results led to an unrestricted surplus for the year, increasing our operational reserve above its target. We will draw upon this excess to manage risks of our uncertain economic environment, and to invest in implementing our new global strategy, which is starting in 2022-23.
Supporting staff to be their best
Promoting openness on mental health
With the pandemic heightening awareness of mental health, we launched our first annual global wellbeing day just after World Mental Health Day in October. To engage staff in this vital issue we ran a number of activities including running a global webinar that raised awareness of how we can support each other’s wellbeing and mental health at work. Senior leaders discussed their own mental health and wellbeing, to demonstrate the importance of being open and honest with colleagues.
A global approach to recruitment
In line with our ambitions to devolve decision making, address power inequalities, and grow diversity, we are increasingly taking a global approach to recruitment. For many roles, finding the right people with the right capabilities, at the right time, no longer needs to be dependent on them being in a particular place.
This includes being innovative about recruiting global experts in countries where we have no registered office, as we have done in Kenya. The approach allows us to maximise our existing talent, as well as to employ the best future talent. To achieve it we published global recruitment guidelines and launched a global opportunities hub.
Addressing our own power imbalances
At the heart of our work lies the conviction that everyone, everywhere deserves the same rights and opportunities. In relation to water, sanitation and hygiene, we are committed to identifying and removing the barriers that hold people back from these three essentials and fulfilling their potential. Increasingly, we have been challenging our own assumptions and practices as an organisation to remove internal power imbalances and inequalities that get in the way of us achieving our mission.
For more information please download our full Annual Report (download PDF) or get in touch.
So much of our work is only possible because of the passion and commitment of individuals and organisations who share our vision of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene for everyone, everywhere.