The Millennium Water Alliance Convenes and Influences Governments, the Private Sector, and Non-Governmental Organizations to Accelerate Global Progress in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene


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Millennium Water Alliance Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: December 2021 – March 2022

Save the Children is a global WASH leader with programming that advances universal WASH access to households, communities, health facilities, and schools across development and emergency contexts. With over $70m in WASH funding, Save the Children leads WASH activities on four global USAID flagship awards, and dozens of bilateral awards across 40 countries. Save the Children also implements WASH activities through a variety of other private and public donors and is an Accredited Entity with the UN Green Climate Fund. Save the Children’s WASH priorities and programs are always integrated with other health, education or child protection activities to achieve the best results for children.

Staff attend a training in Save the Children’s COVID-19 isolation and treatment centre in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh (Credit: Catherine McGowan / Save the Children)

Save the Children integrates their WASH work with other health, education or child protection activities that contribute to their three Agency Breakthroughs to ensure that children around the world Survive, Thrive and are Protected. In the United States and around the world, Save the Children is dedicated to ensuring every child has the best chance for success.

Through their role as the WASH & infection prevention partner on USAID’s Momentum Country & Global Leadership award, Save the Children published a global guidance document titled Essential Supply List of Infection Prevention & Control in Health Care Facilities. This document includes a list of essential supplies for health facilities in all health care service levels and contexts to include in their inventory for IPC.  This is the first resource to list all essential IPC items in a format similar to the WHO’s Model List of Essential Medicines that has guided ministries of health and partners for decades.

One of Save the Children’s recent global projects, the USAID-funded Practices, Research & Operations in WASH (PRO-WASH), provides support to implementing partners in order to strengthen the quality of WASH interventions through capacity strengthening, knowledge-sharing and applied WASH research opportunities. You can learn more about the research and capacity strengthening activities of PRO-WASH here.






Member Spotlight: July – October 2021


The Mortenson Center in Global Engineering (MCGE) at the University of Colorado Boulder trains engineers to work in partnership with institutions and communities worldwide to develop improved tools and methods to address global challenges. Our program is based on the principle that students educated in Global Engineering will be prepared to solve engineering and science problems within the socioeconomic, environmental and political constraints often encountered in lower-resource settings. We combine education, research and partnerships to positively impact vulnerable people and their environment. Our vision is a world where everyone has safe water, sanitation, energy, food, shelter, and infrastructure. The Mortenson Center details its approach in a newly released article: A Body of Knowledge and Pedagogy for Global Engineers. 

One of the Mortenson Center’s initiatives, in collaboration with the Millennium Water Alliance, is the Drought Resilience Impact Platform (DRIP) which is aimed at ending the cycle of drought emergencies in the arid regions of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. DRIP’s comprehensive systems design integrates early detection and planning with proactive groundwater management to ensure water availability, thus enabling drought-prone communities to become effective managers in the prevention of these humanitarian crises. It replaces reactive and expensive short-term assistance measures, like water trucking, with a framework for drought resilience, and directs adaptation responses when and where they are needed.

Other MCGE areas of research include sustainable WASH systems, in-situ and remote sensing, indoor air quality, infrastructure resilience and disaster recovery, and drinking water testing, treatment and adoption. MCGE expends approximately $4.5M a year, across our programs, including actively funded programs in multiple countries. Those programs include managing a nationwide health program in Rwanda and contributing to major USAID programs in Ethiopia and Kenya. We also currently lead the USAID SWS program, operating in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Additionally, we conduct human-centered design consultations to support technology development efforts, and develop and implement health behavior change programs.

Within all areas of research, we believe engineers must become activists and advocates, leveraging professional skills and capacity to generate evidence and positive impact toward rectifying inequalities. Poverty will not be solved through products or projects. Instead, Global Engineering should be concerned with the unequal and unjust distribution of access to basic services, and place an emphasis on identifying the drivers, determinants and solutions favoring equitable access.

All photo credits: University of Colorado Boulder



MWA Member Spotlight for February – March 2021


Acacia Water is a small social enterprise based in The Netherlands with the mission to improve worldwide access to clean and safe water through smart, sustainable and practical solutions for better water management and access for all.

Acacia Water is convinced there is enough water available for everyone. However, three factors are essential to address when approaching WASH related topics: 1) the quantity of the demand and the various user groups; 2) the preconditions set by the landscape and hydrological systems; and 3) the technical specific benefits and limitation of interventions. The power of our services lies in the integration of these elements and the ability to pass such knowledge to improve local capacity, both in a development program as well as emergency response.

Acacia Water joined the MWA-family in December 2019 as the first ‘private-sector’ member. Our engagement in the Kenya-RAPID program led by MWA in the northern counties of Kenya has proven that access to water resources knowledge is essential for a more sustainable WASH approach.

During the Kenya-RAPID program (2015-2020), we developed a knowledge base of the water resources (, identifying its potential and issues necessary for evidence-based decision-making. Capacity building was also an important contribution to this program, in which we developed guidelines and tested a methodology for the 3R approach (Retain, Recharge, Reuse). The knowledge developed on the water resources availability has been deployed by both implementing partners and county authorities for improved water (and land) resources management.

Field visit in Turkana for borehole yield measurements 
and quality assessments with Catholic Relief Services - Nov 2018.


For more than 10 years Acacia Water has been working with partners including international organizations – namely UNICEF, UNOPS, Red Cross and international NGO’s such as Catholic Relief Services, ZOA, Cordaid, World Vision, Food for the Hungry and Oxfam – on improving the long-term sustainability of WASH services delivery. Projects have been concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as in few countries in Asia, such as Bangladesh. Recently, a successful collaboration in Ethiopia with UNICEF has led to sitting more than 40 deep boreholes for sustainable WASH water provision in 39 water-scarce woredas (districts). The methodology developed (and tested) for Groundwater Resources Mapping in Ethiopia (GW4E) to increase the rates of successful borehole drilling can be replicated elsewhere. Project results and deliverables are accessible through the dissemination platform:

Presentation and dissemination of GW4E 
project results – UNICEF July 2018.


Another remarkable example of our work in recent years is the collaboration with different NGOs in Sudan, working with NRM (Natural Resources Management) and IWRM (Integrated Water Resources Management) in Darfur and Eastern states.

Examples of produced water resources maps which are helping partners increase 
their success rates in water allocation interventions.


Acacia Water distinguishes itself by collaborating closely with universities and research institutes. Together with implementing partners we translate the latest scientific developments in the fields of hydrology and environment into innovative and practical solutions to improve access to water resources and meet the Sustainable Development Goals.



MWA Member Spotlight for November – December 2020:

Water Aid Logo Tall

WaterAid America:

 Creating long-term resilience in global health

WaterAid is one of the world’s best-known WASH implementers. Working in 25 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, since 1981 WaterAid has helped bring clean water to 26.4 million people and reliable toilets to 26.3 million people.

A member of MWA since 2010, WaterAid is also one of the best-known advocates for WASH, globally and in the U.S.  MWA and WaterAid are leaders in the WASH advocacy coalition that has successfully raised the level of US government funding for international water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Today, among it many innovative programming initiatives, WaterAid is helping to build -term resiliency in global health. Leonardo Da Vinci said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” When it comes to global health, handwashing and hygiene are as simple as interventions come. Yet, the return on investment and health impacts are exponential.


Promoting good hygiene behaviors is the most cost-effective public health intervention and protects people from life-threatening illnesses such as cholera, diarrheal diseases, and now, COVID-19. This moment that we are living through has the potential to lead to catalytic change. The link between good hygiene and disease prevention has never been clearer or more urgent. But we must leverage the moment wisely.

Midwife Fostina Sedjoah aged 36, washes her hands at the Katiu CHPS health centre, Katiu community, Kassena Nankana West District , Upper East Region, Ghana – February 2019. Credit: Water Aid – Eliza Powell

Dr. Om Prasad Gautam, WaterAid senior manager and hygiene lead, has studied previous disease outbreaks extensively and has seen that while there is an immediate uptick in handwashing, inevitably that upward trend plummets once the threat retreats.


That’s why the WaterAid team is building resilience for the future now. Handwashing and hygiene can prevent future pandemics before they start – but only if we prioritize them.


As more people experience the importance of having sustained access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, we are supporting communities and local leaders in demanding their right to these services. We are also working with governments to invest more and prioritize water and sanitation, so they are better prepared for future rapid response efforts while also meeting immediate health needs.

Samjhana bathes her son with her mother, Bina, as 

part of a WaterAid hygiene program for new mothers in Jajarkot, Nepal.

Credit: Water Aid - Mani Karmacharya

Further, we will continue deploying sustained behavior change programs at scale. And we are embracing behavior-centric approaches where we listen to communities to design research-backed programs that use people’s emotions, environmental cues, nudges, products and desires to create lasting and healthy behaviors. One example of this revolutionary, yet simple approach is our program that embeds hygiene promotion into Nepal’s national vaccination program.

MWA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT for August – September 2020:

Helvetas Strengthens WASH Governance in

Local Master Use Plans

Founded in 1955, Helvetas is the largest Swiss-based international development NGO, with affiliate organizations in Germany and United States. Helvetas works in 30 countries around the world, with more than 250 projects focused on WASH and water governance, food and nutrition, climate change, basic education, vocational skills development, private sector development, governance, conflict and migration, among others. Helvetas joined MWA in November 2013. 

Helvetas places the human right to water and sanitation at the center of its work. We promote a comprehensive approach that includes distributing water resources fairly, sustainably managing water supply services, efficiently irrigating fields, and improving hygiene practices.

As an MWA member, we look forward to seeing what other organizations are doing in the field and are happy to have the opportunity to share one of our innovative approaches in the WASH sector – the Water Use Master Plan (WUMP).  

Developed by Helvetas Nepal, the Water Use Master Plan (WUMP) is a participatory, inclusive water management plan, based on integrated water resource management, working at the local level and building on local knowledge. The goal of WUMP is to delegate water planning and management to the community level, ensuring that water resources are used rationally and shared equitably and fairly within communities considering different needs.

Initially, WUMPs were developed through village development committees (VDCs); and over the course of time, 200 were completed. Since the establishment of Nepal’s federal system, it was the municipalities, made up of a cluster of former VDCs, that became responsible for planning local water supplies. Helvetas supports the development of municipal WUMPs now, and has completed three so far.

WUMPs are recognized as a good practice by the Government of Nepal as well as other agencies, and have also been replicated outside the country, including in Haiti, Madagascar, Myanmar, and Pakistan. Our Nepal team put together this short documentary on WUMP – be sure to take a look!

More details about our work in the WASH sector can be found here.


Photo 14758 © Helvetas, Andrea Peterhans, Nepalese household woman carrying a metal pot containing drinking water as they coming from water source level, which is half an hour long walking trail distance, in Dullu village in Dailekh district, Nepal. 20 November 2016.

Photo 5941 © Helvetas, Andrea Peterhans, Water Use Master Planning in Dullu village in Dailekh district, Nepal. 20 November 2016.


Member Spotlight for June-July 2020:

“Member Spotlight” focuses on the work and mission of an individual member organization of the Millennium Water Alliance. This month: One of MWA’s newest members, Action Against Hunger (also known as Action Contre la Faim).

Action Against Hunger is a global 7,700-employee humanitarian organization that takes action against the causes and effects of hunger. Begun in France in 1979, known as Action Contre la Faim, the organization has grown to a global network with eight independent headquarters and satellite locations and programs in more than 45 countries.

Because water, sanitation, and hygiene are so strongly linked to effective programs in nutrition and food security, the organization direct implements WASH interventions in 37 of its missions. Action Against Hunger joined MWA in December 2019.

Action Against Hunger USA became an independent headquarter office in 1992 and currently manages programs in eight countries. Through its multisectoral approach, the organization conducts WASH activities in Haiti, Cambodia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda. Their research projects focus on the effects of poor WASH conditions on acute malnutrition. Last year, Action Against Hunger USA’s WASH interventions directly reached 1,323,277 people in need.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Action Against Hunger has been very active in focused programming to help populations at risk to adopt mitigation strategies, and is very vocal with media and others in its advocacy for WASH implementation to help prevent and mitigate future epidemics:

Action Against Hunger’s Country Director for Somalia, Ahmed Khalif, was quoted extensively in an April 2020:

“All our country offices are working on COVID-19 emergency preparedness and response plans, with a focus on Health and WASH,” says the organization’s Senior WASH Advisor Bram Riems.

“We gathered together all available guidance on COVID-19 and developed SOPs for infection prevention and control in Health facilities in line with WHO recommendations (hand washing at entrance, waiting area, consultation room and in-patient rooms, personal protective equipment, triage, isolation where feasible, waste management). We have developed WASH technical guidance to adapt, reorient, or develop new interventions regarding COVID-19.”

Current examples of Action Against Hunger’s response:
* In Haiti, cholera rapid response teams will be reoriented towards COVID-19 prevention, mitigation and control, with mass sensitization on hand washing, social distancing, case detection and early recognition of symptoms in the areas where cases have been reported.
* In South Sudan, a rapid response team has been deployed for COVID prevention and control.
* In Somalia, Action Against Hunger is supporting case management in the nutrition sites and health centers it supports:
* In Kenya, Action Against Hunger is working on an updated WASH and Health approach.

Also, the organization’s international network worked with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine early in the outbreak to develop rapid tools to increase hand washing practice at community level, in schools and other public places (improving effectiveness of risk communication).

Action Against Hunger USA is also a member of the steering group of the Clean, Fed and Nurtured (formerly BabyWASH) coalition, a member of the Global Handwashing Partnership.