RWSN E-Discussion on Inclusive Rural Water Supply Management Innovation

  • Water management


6 November 2018

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We all know that high rural water supply coverage figures tend to obscure serious service and sustainability issues in terms of continuity of water services, equal access to water points, quality of water, sustainability of services and resilience to extreme events (climate, but also socially). In spite of the global discourse on systemic change and sustainability, the work that’s being done in rural water supply in the sector is still often piece-meal, for example with a narrow focus on construction, or a narrow focus on hand pump mechanics, water quality measurements or water point mapping. Community management, while sometimes very appropriate, is still widely seen as the only, best option to sustain the provision of rural water services.

However, there are encouraging experiences with innovative management models for rural water supply being developed, tested, and sometimes taken to scale.  A role for the private sector is often perceived to be the strategy towards greater professionalization of service delivery, though not the only strategy. Yet, in the debate on management innovation, gender and social inclusion is practically absent. In discussions about management innovations, questions are asked about financing, asset management, embedding into governance structures, for example, all important of course, but gender and social inclusion is missing from the discussion. Gender and social inclusion is discussed separately, primarily as part of the inclusive design (inclusive technology design), and village level processes. Also important, but it seems as if these are two separate worlds.

RWSN LNOB group in collaboration with SNV will host a three-week E-Discussion on inclusive management innovation from 12 to 30th of November 2018. This topic aims to go beyond inclusive design, exploring the implications of management innovations for gender and social inclusion in rural water supply. We would first try to get an overview of issues, in a second topic explore strengths and weaknesses of different models and in a third topic ask how the human right to water can be ensured while introducing management innovation in a district or county.

We are looking for a very wide participation from individual citizens, civil societies, private sector, local governments, national governments, NGOs and funding organizations so please let people know about this. We hope to use the E-discussion as an opportunity to bring different experiences from both the LNOB group and the management models group together.

The e-discussion is open to anyone who registers on If you are not a member of RWSN LBOB group, but are interested in the topic, we also encourage you to join.  If you have problems joining, please contact