How can partnerships with business increase access to safe, clean water for all?


(Neil Jeffery) #21

The critical issue is how partnership models develop and enhance the capacity of service providers to respond successfully to specific consumer segments, particularly those that are traditionally not well served in emerging markets: the development of delegated management structures, for example in peri - urban areas in Lusaka or low income areas in Nairobi, have significantly improved the quality and reliability of service delivery for low income consumers, as a result of the 'last mile delivers' being closer to the reality to low income consumer need.

Partnership between governments, regulators & private sectors operators should seek to develop the skills of these key delivery agents in the supply chain, through appropriate contract management, improved institutional structures & capacity development.



Zahid Torres-Rahman said:

Let's start with question 1:

What are the most promising partnership models designed to tackle shared water risks, and what impacts are we starting to see on the ground?


(Charlotte Minvielle) #22

Hi Zahid,

Sure you can find out more about Mercy Corps' partnership with Twinings on WASH here:

https://www.mercycorps.org.uk/renewed-partnership-twinings-brings-clean-water-tea-workers


(Katherine Rostkowski) #23

I agree with Will. At USAID, we have seen the most promising partnerships to be those where we can find shared value in a partnership opportunity. We may partner to catalyze investment and mobilizing finance in the sector, harness expertise, assets, and resources, promote more inclusive and sustainable business practices, collaborate to tackle systemic challenges that impact business, improve the policy environment, and/or drive innovation at the intersection of business and development. A variety of partners can help!



Will Davies said:

Hi Rachel - good question. I think it depends on the existing level of motivation amongst stakeholders. If it is already very high, then a simply "neutral broker" role can be quite effective in bringing the parties together, perhaps with some small seed funding to get the process started and make it easy for potential partners to join. If motivation is one of the challenges then targeted advocacy might be the best starting point to raise awareness of the issues and potential solutions..

Rachael Clay said:

Thanks for hosting this discussion.

What kind of support and facilitation do essential partners (government, companies, donors and CSOs/NGOs) need to be able to develop and grow such partnerships around shared water risk? Thank you!


(Lucy Lee) #24


Totally agree that Lake Naivasha still stands as one of the best examples of collective action on water.

We have been working on collective action project in a number of others basins, For example we have been working on water stewardship in the Breede basin in the Western Cape of South Africa for a number of years, originally initiated by M&S, Woolworths, WWF, (The Alliance for Water Stewardship) AWS and a group of progressive fruit farmers. The farmers were part of a pilot to implement the AWS standard, helping to improve on farm water management practices. The project is now growing and WWF is leading initial collective action efforts in the Upper Breede with partners and other stakeholders including the Catchment Management Authority. Through collective action we have identified a number of key opportunities to mitigate water risks and the next phase of the project now explores how to address these issues.


Will Davies said:

Agree with David's comments. To cite a few Africa examples, I think the case of Imarisha Naivasha in Kenya is one we can learn a lot from. This is a case where quite diverse stakeholders within a specific, high stress watershed came together to collectively tackle water risks, mobilized to a large degree by the horticulture industry and European retailers, and facilitated by WWF and others.

Within our own 2030 WRG network, the Strategic Water Partners Network in SA is a great example of a national multi-stakeholder water partnership. Under the SWPN, a wide coalition from the private sector have come together with the public sector to try to tackle some of the most pressing water challenges in the country, across the municipal, mining and agriculture sectors.


David Grant said:

It all depends on the context of the water risk that you are seeking to address, but there are a variety of successful models that we are starting to see.

For example, if there is a need to address cross cutting water issues at a national or state level, then an initiative such as the Water Resource Group has been demonstrated to be successful due to the nature of partners they attract at both national government, private sector and civil society level.

In agriculture, we have made use of the “model farmer” partnership structure successfully for both commercial and smallholder farmers.

Partnerships around payment for ecosystem services are also proving to be successful, such as the Aqua Fund model which the nature Conservancy has been working on, particularly in Latin America.

Although one has to bear in mind that the broad frameworks of these models need to be considered as replicating them step by step is seldom going to work due to the very specific local dynamics that play out from one location to another.


(Neil Jeffery) #25

Hi Rachel

In addition I would say that understanding the specific and complimentary roles of different players in the service delivery & supply chain is fundamental. Support that recognises the unique contribution of each partner is a really important component, and facilitation that ensures and enables a partner ( or set of partners) to reduce specific barriers to the benefit of the whole initiative will go a long way to improving practical outcomes.



Will Davies said:

Hi Rachel - good question. I think it depends on the existing level of motivation amongst stakeholders. If it is already very high, then a simply "neutral broker" role can be quite effective in bringing the parties together, perhaps with some small seed funding to get the process started and make it easy for potential partners to join. If motivation is one of the challenges then targeted advocacy might be the best starting point to raise awareness of the issues and potential solutions..

Rachael Clay said:

Thanks for hosting this discussion.

What kind of support and facilitation do essential partners (government, companies, donors and CSOs/NGOs) need to be able to develop and grow such partnerships around shared water risk? Thank you!


(Nathaniel Mason) #26

In research we're currently doing, funded by UNICEF and the UN Foundation, we've been looking at a lot of partnerships in the water supply and sanitation space (as opposed to water stewardship which focuses a bit more on water resources management).

Whereas the core business reasons for engaging on water stewardship are fairly clear, partnerships on water supply and sanitation can be dismissed as being driven by relatively narrow reputational concerns – especially water supply, where there are good photo opportunities from, say, funding a community level hand pump.

But we're starting to see examples where there's a more direct, compelling business reason to engage. Some that jump out to me are:

- Partnership models based on workforce health and welfare like HERHealth, which works with companies and supply factories to provide health promotion (including around water, sanitation and hygiene) via NGOs - helping to increase employee productivity: http://herproject.org/herhealth

- Partnerships based on future business opportunity e.g. the Toilet Board Coalition, which brings business with a commercial interest in sanitation, NGOs, and donors together to identify promising and scalable sanitation technologies and business models.

These are especially interesting because they make clear the long-term business reason for engaging. Where those reasons are on the table it can help develop trust for joint-working


Katherine Rostkowski said:

The Global Development Alliances (GDAs) are USAID’s premiere model for public-private partnerships, helping to improve the social and economic conditions in developing countries and deepen USAID’s development impact. More than just philanthropy or corporate social responsibility, GDAs leverage market-based solutions to advance broader development objectives. When successful, the resulting alliances are both sustainable and have greater impact. GDAs are co-designed, co-funded, and co-managed by all partners involved, so that the risks, responsibilities, and rewards of partnership are shared. They work best and have the greatest development impact when private sector business interests intersect with USAID’s strategic development objectives.

The Water and Development Alliance is an example of a GDA that captures the commitment and reach of USAID and its missions and The Coca-Cola Company, its foundations, and bottling facilities with the support of the Global Environment & Technology Foundation. Now in its tenth active year, WADA is having positive impact in more than 30 countries with cash investment by partners of over $37 million. With current investments and contributions from each partner of expertise and unique global networks, the program expects to provide water supply access to more than 600,000 people, provide sanitation access to more than 250,000 people, and place more than 440,000 hectares of watersheds under sustainable management practices.

For an introductory video to USAID Partnerships and the Global Development Alliance Model, visit: http://www.usaidallnet.gov/training/ideagp/#91EEDA12-A48D-EF22-E02E...



Zahid Torres-Rahman said:

Let's start with question 1:

What are the most promising partnership models designed to tackle shared water risks, and what impacts are we starting to see on the ground?


(Zahid Torres-Rahman) #27

Great discussion! Let's move on to the second question:

What are we learning about how to develop and sustain successful water partnerships on the ground, particularly the role of governments, and what are the greatest barriers to progress?


(David Grant) #28

I think that any partnership that is hoping to achieve success needs to engage with government for long term sustainability. I say this due to the fact that whatever is being considered on the ground will invariably have some relationship with government (for example national, local, catchment management agencies) policy, strategy, action plans, projects etc and to not include them does place the partnership in jeopardy. Ultimately government is the custodian of the water resources in a given country.


(Katherine Rostkowski) #29

Great point Neil. The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals for drinking water and sanitation has led to significant investment in infrastructure, innovation, and institutional reform. It has not been accompanied by the necessary focus on the size, competencies and enabling environment for the human resource base needed to design, construct, operate and maintain such services to meet the target and beyond, in considering the proposed Sustainable Development Goal framework. Effective partnership models will be critical in implementing the post-2015 agenda.

Neil Jeffery said:

The critical issue is how partnership models develop and enhance the capacity of service providers to respond successfully to specific consumer segments, particularly those that are traditionally not well served in emerging markets: the development of delegated management structures, for example in peri - urban areas in Lusaka or low income areas in Nairobi, have significantly improved the quality and reliability of service delivery for low income consumers, as a result of the 'last mile delivers' being closer to the reality to low income consumer need.

Partnership between governments, regulators & private sectors operators should seek to develop the skills of these key delivery agents in the supply chain, through appropriate contract management, improved institutional structures & capacity development.



Zahid Torres-Rahman said:

Let's start with question 1:

What are the most promising partnership models designed to tackle shared water risks, and what impacts are we starting to see on the ground?


(David Grant) #30

In terms of barriers to progress I would say that some of the lessons we have learnt (repeat of the blog on this site - with apologies) are the following:

  • Engage and mobilise prospective partners through inclusive, evidence-based dialogue.
  • Take the time up-front to understand the motivations of all key stakeholders.
  • Identify partners with the right blend of complementary strengths and experiences.
  • Expect bringing partners together around a common agenda to take a long time.
  • Make sure that government and local communities can participate effectively.
  • Partner objectives must align, but need not overlap 100%; communicate openly about the extent of alignment and what that means it is possible to do together.
  • Focus on the linkages between water, food and energy use to develop holistic and sustainable solutions.
  • Reducing shared water risk can be a medium- to long-term endeavour, so actively manage internal and external expectations about the pace of progress.
  • Break initiatives down into highly measurable components and use clear results measurement frameworks.
  • Use results data to demonstrate progress internally and externally, keeping existing stakeholders engaged and attracting new ones.


Zahid Torres-Rahman said:

Great discussion! Let's move on to the second question:

What are we learning about how to develop and sustain successful water partnerships on the ground, particularly the role of governments, and what are the greatest barriers to progress?


(Lucy Lee) #31

There are a number of lessons that WWF has learnt from our water stewardship work about the ways to develop and maintain successful partnerships to support sustainable water management including the need to:

  • Identify water risks hotspots and target actions at these key locations

  • Include all stakeholders in a collective action process, not just a small number of organisations in partnership
  • Collectively identify the drivers of risks with key stakeholders in the catchment

  • Raise awareness of the risks and the potential impact on the local economy

  • Develop a shared vision of how to address them

  • Respecting the different motivations of stakeholders

  • Compromise on timescales to ensure work can be delivered to meet the needs of different stakeholders

  • Be transparent about actions taken

  • Develop simple clear communication, harmonising language across the value chain


(Katherine Rostkowski) #32

I agree with David. Host country ownership to strengthen local and regional capacity and align with country priorities is an operational principle of the USAID Water and Development Strategy. The Strategy emphasizes the importance of working at the level where relevant decisions are made, with attention to the lowest and most local levels of government. It is critical for all partnerships to include local ownership as a core value. Projects must be unique and customized to respond to local needs and priorities, while engaging all relevant stakeholders and taking advantage of partner strengths, from before program design to long after project close-out.



David Grant said:

I think that any partnership that is hoping to achieve success needs to engage with government for long term sustainability. I say this due to the fact that whatever is being considered on the ground will invariably have some relationship with government (for example national, local, catchment management agencies) policy, strategy, action plans, projects etc and to not include them does place the partnership in jeopardy. Ultimately government is the custodian of the water resources in a given country.


(Charlotte Minvielle) #33

The sustainability of the water facilities is one issue, and indeed the role of community water and sanitation committees is crucial and so is the role of local government. There is also the question of sustainability of hygiene education to make WASH projects successful and we've been able to integrate hygiene education within school sessions in Darjeeling for them to continue in the long term.


(Lucy Lee) #34

In terms of the role of Government - Government have the mandate to ensure that water resources are managed sustainably. The role of NGO’s and business is to support and encourage government to deliver sustainable water management and not to undermine legitimate government priorities and mandates.



Katherine Rostkowski said:

Great point Neil. The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals for drinking water and sanitation has led to significant investment in infrastructure, innovation, and institutional reform. It has not been accompanied by the necessary focus on the size, competencies and enabling environment for the human resource base needed to design, construct, operate and maintain such services to meet the target and beyond, in considering the proposed Sustainable Development Goal framework. Effective partnership models will be critical in implementing the post-2015 agenda.

Neil Jeffery said:

The critical issue is how partnership models develop and enhance the capacity of service providers to respond successfully to specific consumer segments, particularly those that are traditionally not well served in emerging markets: the development of delegated management structures, for example in peri - urban areas in Lusaka or low income areas in Nairobi, have significantly improved the quality and reliability of service delivery for low income consumers, as a result of the 'last mile delivers' being closer to the reality to low income consumer need.

Partnership between governments, regulators & private sectors operators should seek to develop the skills of these key delivery agents in the supply chain, through appropriate contract management, improved institutional structures & capacity development.



Zahid Torres-Rahman said:

Let's start with question 1:

What are the most promising partnership models designed to tackle shared water risks, and what impacts are we starting to see on the ground?


(Nathaniel Mason) #35

I'd highlight transparency from that list. It can be in tension with building trust within the partnership, but for long term success it's key to address external concerns about capture of the resource or the policy influence that controls the resource (which could arise from getting the businesses involved in managing water). Need for transparency applies to everyone, not just those in business – people in governments, NGOs and donor agencies have their own interests. Ultimately transparency means not just sharing with partners, but incrementally opening up to wider scrutiny and sharing information and decisions with the public.

Lucy Lee said:

There are a number of lessons that WWF has learnt from our water stewardship work about the ways to develop and maintain successful partnerships to support sustainable water management including the need to:

  • Identify water risks hotspots and target actions at these key locations

  • Include all stakeholders in a collective action process, not just a small number of organisations in partnership
  • Collectively identify the drivers of risks with key stakeholders in the catchment

  • Raise awareness of the risks and the potential impact on the local economy

  • Develop a shared vision of how to address them

  • Respecting the different motivations of stakeholders

  • Compromise on timescales to ensure work can be delivered to meet the needs of different stakeholders

  • Be transparent about actions taken

  • Develop simple clear communication, harmonising language across the value chain


(Will Davies) #36

I think there are two parts to this: the pre-conditions that increase the chances of the partnership succeeding, and then the more practical (and difficult) process of making it work over the longer term.

On pre-conditions, we already discussed motivations, which are key. Water scarcity needs to be high on the political, business and/or social agenda in the first place. And not just for a small cross section of stakeholders - to really build and sustain coalitions, you need a critical mass. Then you also need champions, leaders that are willing to stand up and put their name to the partnership, to draw others in. And you need a common vision - a common understanding of what the partnership is for, and what it aims to achieve.

On the process side, I think the factors are more general - getting people with the right skill sets in to manage the partnerships, demonstrating results, etc.

Coming back to the SWPN example, we recently produced a case study looking at the this question of what drove the success of the partnership and many of these factors came up. Those interested can get a copy at:

http://www.2030wrg.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/SWPN-Case-Study_May2015.pdf


(Lucy Lee) #37

Likewise from my blog - these are the key barriers from our perspective:

  • Engaging in water governance – while many businesses might take the sub-goals of the SDG water goal as being about delivering safe drinking water and sanitation for employees or local communities, water efficiency in operations and supply chains, and dealing with effluent quality, our experience at WWF has shown that these goals will only be achieved by businesses engaging and influencing the governance of water. This is an uncomfortable place for many businesses.

  • Public perceptions of why companies are engaging - there is likely to be public mistrust in the motivations of businesses that advocate for changes to the governance of water resources.

  • Legitimacy of private sector advocacy - the water stewardship credentials of most businesses are currently not strong. There is a need for a company to have its own house in order before it can legitimately advocate for changes to water governance.

  • Unintended consequences – businesses need to be part of the solution but need to recognise that, wherever they are operating, there will be water management practitioners and stakeholders with many decades of experience, and governments with mandated priorities. Understanding the technical, social and political complexities in any location, working with existing programmes, and listening stakeholders, rather than establishing parallel programmes is essential.



David Grant said:

In terms of barriers to progress I would say that some of the lessons we have learnt (repeat of the blog on this site - with apologies) are the following:

  • Engage and mobilise prospective partners through inclusive, evidence-based dialogue.
  • Take the time up-front to understand the motivations of all key stakeholders.
  • Identify partners with the right blend of complementary strengths and experiences.
  • Expect bringing partners together around a common agenda to take a long time.
  • Make sure that government and local communities can participate effectively.
  • Partner objectives must align, but need not overlap 100%; communicate openly about the extent of alignment and what that means it is possible to do together.
  • Focus on the linkages between water, food and energy use to develop holistic and sustainable solutions.
  • Reducing shared water risk can be a medium- to long-term endeavour, so actively manage internal and external expectations about the pace of progress.
  • Break initiatives down into highly measurable components and use clear results measurement frameworks.
  • Use results data to demonstrate progress internally and externally, keeping existing stakeholders engaged and attracting new ones.


Zahid Torres-Rahman said:

Great discussion! Let's move on to the second question:

What are we learning about how to develop and sustain successful water partnerships on the ground, particularly the role of governments, and what are the greatest barriers to progress?


(Nathaniel Mason) #38

The nutrition sector is doing interesting work here. The Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network is providing support to country governments to effectively engage their own private sector in developing national nutrition strategies. So sometimes country ownership needs to be supported and facilitated - it may not happen just because government is invited to the table.

Katherine Rostkowski said:

I agree with David. Host country ownership to strengthen local and regional capacity and align with country priorities is an operational principle of the USAID Water and Development Strategy. The Strategy emphasizes the importance of working at the level where relevant decisions are made, with attention to the lowest and most local levels of government. It is critical for all partnerships to include local ownership as a core value. Projects must be unique and customized to respond to local needs and priorities, while engaging all relevant stakeholders and taking advantage of partner strengths, from before program design to long after project close-out.



David Grant said:

I think that any partnership that is hoping to achieve success needs to engage with government for long term sustainability. I say this due to the fact that whatever is being considered on the ground will invariably have some relationship with government (for example national, local, catchment management agencies) policy, strategy, action plans, projects etc and to not include them does place the partnership in jeopardy. Ultimately government is the custodian of the water resources in a given country.


(Katherine Rostkowski) #39

Excellent points. Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) is an example of a global partnership of over 90 developing country governments, donors, civil society organizations and other development partners working together to catalyze political leadership and action, improve accountability and use scarce resources more effectively. Partners work towards a common vision of universal access to safe water and adequate sanitation, including national level sector planning and monitoring.


Nathaniel Mason said:

I'd highlight transparency from that list. It can be in tension with building trust within the partnership, But for long term success it's key to address external concerns about capture of the resource or the policy influence that controls the resource, from getting the businesses involved in managing water. Need for transparency applies to everyone, not just those in business – people in governments, NGOs and donor agencies have their own interests. Ultimately transparency means not just sharing with partners, but incrementally opening up to wider scrutiny and sharing information and decisions with the public.

Lucy Lee said:

There are a number of lessons that WWF has learnt from our water stewardship work about the ways to develop and maintain successful partnerships to support sustainable water management including the need to:

  • Identify water risks hotspots and target actions at these key locations

  • Include all stakeholders in a collective action process, not just a small number of organisations in partnership
  • Collectively identify the drivers of risks with key stakeholders in the catchment

  • Raise awareness of the risks and the potential impact on the local economy

  • Develop a shared vision of how to address them

  • Respecting the different motivations of stakeholders

  • Compromise on timescales to ensure work can be delivered to meet the needs of different stakeholders

  • Be transparent about actions taken

  • Develop simple clear communication, harmonising language across the value chain


(Pamela O'Brien) #40

Sometimes the "local" levels of government are the local witch doctor when addressing the needs of those living at the last mile. We favor a strategy through community development where we can reach people in need, empower them by teaching them how to create small business enterprises and supporting their every need. It is all about relationship and creating hope through business. Business Connect is now in 34 countries around the world and growing. We would love to see more engagement with governments to empower people out of poverty but right now to help people in need, we need to engage those at the highest risk.

Katherine Rostkowski said:

I agree with David. Host country ownership to strengthen local and regional capacity and align with country priorities is an operational principle of the USAID Water and Development Strategy. The Strategy emphasizes the importance of working at the level where relevant decisions are made, with attention to the lowest and most local levels of government. It is critical for all partnerships to include local ownership as a core value. Projects must be unique and customized to respond to local needs and priorities, while engaging all relevant stakeholders and taking advantage of partner strengths, from before program design to long after project close-out.



David Grant said:

I think that any partnership that is hoping to achieve success needs to engage with government for long term sustainability. I say this due to the fact that whatever is being considered on the ground will invariably have some relationship with government (for example national, local, catchment management agencies) policy, strategy, action plans, projects etc and to not include them does place the partnership in jeopardy. Ultimately government is the custodian of the water resources in a given country.