WaterAid’s framework for racial equality and inclusion

From WaterAid's Chief Executive Tim Wainwright
Last updated 05.02.2021

At WaterAid, everything we do is guided by our values of respect, collaboration, accountability, innovation, courage and integrity. We stand against all forms of racism, injustice, and inequality.

We treat everyone with dignity and respect, and champion the rights and contribution of all to achieve a fairer world. We act with honesty and conviction and our actions are consistent with openness, equality and human rights.

In the diverse communities where we work, we know that making clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere depends upon identifying and addressing the reasons why the poorest and most marginalised people live without these basic services. We are committed to tackling and challenging these inequalities and we seek to work with and represent communities in a way that empowers them and reflects the reality of their lives.

We are passionately committed to WaterAid being an organisation where everyone involved in our work is welcome and included, and where diversity is celebrated. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment or bullying.

Immediate support

Our first priority is always to put people first. We continue to support our colleagues who have been particularly affected by racism and events reported in the media and the conversations that have followed.

Learning together

As an organisation and as individuals, we have been reflecting on the racial injustice that exists across the globe, and how we can practice anti-racism, inclusion and allyship. We have taken time to create the space for all of us to listen to lived experiences of racism and to learn about oppression and inequality.

We commit as an organisation to continually listen, reflect, learn and take action to ensure we live our values and create an environment where all staff can thrive and be themselves. To help our learning, we created a collection of resources shared by WaterAiders across the globe and others in our sector, to support each other to deepen our own personal understandings of racism and injustice.

Lasting action

In November 2020, we launched our framework for lasting action, outlining our intentions and actions to ensure we stand against all forms of racism and address any unhelpful internal power dynamics. We are committed to sustainable change and this requires a collective effort from everyone at WaterAid to make the long lasting impact we all want.

Our framework is structured around four areas of focus to help us to fully embed a racially diverse and inclusive culture across WaterAid:

This framework represents an important step forward and moves us closer to ensuring that we truly live our values as individuals, teams and WaterAid countries.

We will review our progress every three months and report on this internally. We will report externally in our annual report to hold ourselves accountable for our commitments. We will also continue to update our framework in line with these regular reviews and the feedback we receive.

We are on a journey and we won’t achieve change overnight, nor will we get everything right, but our commitment as individuals and as an organisation can be achieved by working together and holding ourselves accountable to accelerate change.

It is our individual and collective responsibility to fight against racism, injustice and discrimination wherever and however it exists.

We commit as an organisation to continually listen, reflect, learn and take action to ensure that we are working towards a more equal and fair world for everyone, everywhere. 

Tim Wainwright, CEO, WaterAid UK.
Image: WaterAid/ Sam James

Tim Wainwright
Chief Executive of WaterAid UK