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AMCOW pledges to promote integrity in the water sector through partnership with WIN

October 1st 2019 at 10:27

The African Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW) and the Water Integrity Network signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on August 28, 2019 to guide the development and implementation of strategic collaborative programmes. Besides being a common agreement on principles and mutual commitment to the partnership, the MoU has an operational side: it paves the way for a concrete annual plan of activities and joint efforts to mobilize resources.

Globally, only seven out of ten people used safely managed drinking water services in 2017 [1]. The figures vary widely across the world and across the African continent. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 3 in 10 people used safely managed drinking water services in 2017, while 4 in 10 did not even have access to basic water services. Despite the positive steps taken towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 and significant progress in the past decade, weak governance and a lack of resources and funds are still jeopardizing the delivery of services to many [2], especially the poorest and most vulnerable.

With this MoU, AMCOW and WIN are building a framework to work together to address these issues with more integrity in pan-African water sector institutions and in the water sector of the 55 African states. The African Union declared 2018 the year of combatting corruption. The 2019 agreement between AMCOW and WIN shows continued willingness on the part of AMCOW to take action for integrity and against corruption in the water sector specifically.

As a first step, a workshop is planned on October 7-8 in Abuja, Nigeria, during which AMCOW and WIN will work together on the development of an integrity risk management framework for the AMCOW secretariat and define their joint work plan for 2020.

The MoU focuses on strategic areas of collaboration including sustainable infrastructure, safely managed sanitation, and groundwater. AMCOW and WIN will explore these areas of collaboration with an integrity lens and in line with the strategic priorities of AMCOW outlined in its Strategy 2018-2030: ensuring water security, ensuring safely managed sanitation, promoting good water governance, and strengthening AMCOW governance and operational effectiveness.


[1] Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2017. Special focus on inequalities. New York: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO), 2019.

[2] National systems to support drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene: global status report 2019. UN-Water global analysis and assessment of sanitation and drinking-water (GLAAS) 2019 report. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019.



About AMCOW:

The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) was formed in 2002 in Abuja Nigeria, primarily to promote cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty eradication among member states through the effective management of the continent’s water resources and provision of water supply services. AMCOW brings together, under a formal Secretariat, the line Ministers of Water for all 55 African States. http://www.amcow-online.org

About WIN:

The Water Integrity Network (WIN) promotes integrity to eliminate corruption and increase performance in the water sector worldwide. To achieve this mission, WIN connects, enables, and promotes the work of organizations and individuals who recognize the impact of corruption—especially on poor and marginalized communities—and work to assess risk and promote practical responses.


Claire Grandadam / Communications Coordinator / Water Integrity Network Association e.V. Alt-Moabit 91 B, 10559 Berlin, Germany / info[at]win-s[dot]org


The post AMCOW pledges to promote integrity in the water sector through partnership with WIN appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

Sector Round Up

October 10th 2019 at 09:29

A lot of very different and very interesting material was published in September. We have new insight on corruption in Latin America and especially on how women perceive and are affected by corruption. Also available, new straightforward reference material to work out and think about management models for rural water supply and to think about the human rights dimension of infrastructure developments.

Please don’t hesitate to share your views  in the comments or get in touch to share information and material for the next round-up. Thanks!

The links here go to original material on external websites.
WIN is not responsible for the accuracy of external content.


Global Corruption Barometer – Latin America and the Carribean 2019

A few months back we linked to the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) for Africa 2019. The new GCB for Latin America paints an equally troubling picture, showing that 19% of people who accessed services from utilities in the previous year paid a bribe. Here too, young people are more likely to pay bribes than those over 55. Fortunately here also, the majority of people believe they, as citizens, can make a difference int he fight against corruption despite fears of retaliation.

What is new and particularly interesting in this edition is the focus on how women perceive and are affected by corruption in the region. The data specifically covers sextortion, “one of the most significant forms of gendered corruption”. Shockingly, findings suggest “one in five people experiences sexual extortion – or sextortion – when accessing a government service, like health care or education, or knows someone who has”. Poorer women are more vulnerable. In terms of action, women are less likely to think people can report corruption without fear of retaliation and they are less likely to think appropriate action will be taken once corruption is reported. This is sobering new insight.

Read the full report here:


See the special feature on the results related to women and corruption here:



2019 RWSN directory of rural water supply services, tariffs, management models and lifecycle costs

In terms of transparency, the first edition of the 2019 RWSN directory of rural water supply services, tariffs, management models and lifecycle costs is an important milestone document. It’s meant as a quick reference guide and inspiration for “financial data sharing and dialogue on tariffs, cost recovery and inclusive financing”. Yes we do have to be more open about options and costs. Maybe in the future we can then also be more open about the costs and the impact of corruption on rural water service delivery.

Download and check out the directory here:


To submit information for the next edition, contact the RWSN Secretariat or complete a form online at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/rwsn-directory


Impact of Megaprojects on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation

A new report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation, Mr Léo Heller, focuses on the impact of megaprojects on the human rights to water and sanitation. It provides a set of questions for stakeholders to assess and implement their human rights obligations throughout the lifetime of a megaproject.

Corruption risks in the development of major infrastructure or megaprojects are particularly high, partly because of the complexity of the projects, the amounts of investment involved, and the scale of their impact. The report fails to address the scale and scope of these risks and their impact on human rights to water and sanitation obligations, although they are strongly linked.

The report does mention corruption risks specifically once, while discussing the imbalance of power between players involved and populations affected, admittedly a very important risk factor:

“Another important observation is the imbalance of power between those adversely affected by megaprojects and the proponents thereof, who frame them as solutions for development. The affected population is often reluctant to accept such projects as the most suitable solution for development, since for them the negative impacts exceed the benefits provided. At times, this polarized view of megaprojects further aggravates social conflicts and may increase incidents of corruption by certain actors in the pursuit of economic interests. It is essential to regulate such projects with an emphasis on human rights, to address power imbalances and to mitigate and prevent their adverse effects on human rights.

We believe efforts to combat corruption and realize human rights are always mutually reinforcing: both are necessary. The list of questions provided in the report is therefore still a simple and hence quite user-friendly way to take first steps in examining projects with a human rights lens.

Download and read report here:



Cases to watch

Here is information on more debarments by major development banks of organizations involved in water-related developments in Indonesia, Pakistan, and Colombia.


The post Sector Round Up appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

Water and Open Government Community of Practice

October 29th 2019 at 12:16


In 2017, Fundación Avina, the Open Government Partnership, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Water Integrity Network (WIN), and the World Resources Institute (WRI) formed a Community of Practice on Water and Open Government. Bringing together water and open government experts from around the world, the community facilitates knowledge sharing and the development of innovative, cross-sector approaches that leverage transparency, inclusive participation, and accountable decision-making to improve water and sanitation services.

The Community of Practice aims to strengthen linkages between water and open government reformers and mobilize actions that help realize the human right to water and sanitation. With support from the OGP Multi-Donor Trust Fund, supported by the World Bank, the Water Open Government CoP goals for 2019-2021 include:

  • Creating a help desk to work with interested governments on developing and implementing country specific commitments through OGP National Action Plans;
  • Creating a knowledge and exchange mechanism to provide governments and civil society with technical information and expertise needed to create transformative water and sanitation commitments;
  • Producing guidance materials to help water professionals understand the OGP process and the specific opportunities to advance water reforms;
  • Organizing learning events that increase data sharing, technical expertise, good practices, and peer learning to boost the development and implementation of more ambitious commitments;
    Strengthening international and national coalitions that effectively use the OGP platform to push for water reforms.



Going Further Hand in Hand: Launching the OGP Water and Sanitation Community of Practice

Open Government Partnership: Water and Sanitation Policy Area

Transparency International: Compendium of Good Practices on Anti-Corruption for OGP Action Plans



Also available in Spanish and Portuguese: Water Open Gov CoP Intro ES   //   Water Open Gov CoP Intro PT

The post Water and Open Government Community of Practice appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

Studies on Social Accountability Programmes in Nepal and Ethiopia

November 4th 2019 at 13:44

In a new publication by the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre and WIN, the authors analyse case studies of social accountability processes in Ethiopia and Nepal, using as a research tool the four pillars of using WIN’s Integrity Wall: Transparency, Accountability, Participation, and Anti-corruption – or TAPA.

The publication concludes that strengthening user participation in communities relies on time, negotiation, and localization. Donors should recognize as an essential step the building of users’ trust in the process and their ability to speak up against integrity gaps. Practitioners should also regularly examine links between TAPA principles in the local context to ensure effectiveness.

The local participatory and transparent budgeting programmes under review in each case took steps to ensure accessibility of information to users, bolstering transparency and awareness, but some gaps remained because of low technical knowledge, low interest in financial processes among nonliterate users, and a mismatch between the scheme and some users’ needs. The programmes also provided manuals and trainings to clarify roles and responsibilities – an important step toward better accountability, but the extended time frame needed for training and high turnover of oversight committees indicated that institutionalizing lines of accountability requires time and effort to align with local communities. In both countries, programmes took steps to optimize participation in the budgeting process. The analysis found that despite stubborn barriers to participation posed by local power structures, the process opened a space for the development of trust and negotiation skills, as well as greater awareness of all stakeholders’ rights. The programmes did not emphasize anti-corruption measures, but the domination of some individuals highlighted local power imbalances.


Read in full:

Social accountability and water integrity: Learning from experiences with participatory and transparent budgeting in Ethiopia and Nepal

A U4 report by Birke Otto, Floriane Clement, Binayak Das, Hari Dhungana, Lotte Feuerstein, Girma Senbeta and Jasmina Van Driel. Series editor: Monica Kirya


The post Studies on Social Accountability Programmes in Nepal and Ethiopia appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

Innovations in water management in the city of São Paulo: the leading role of civil society

November 8th 2019 at 13:21

The Metropolitan Region of São Paulo faced a grave water crisis from 2014 to 2016. Despite the gravity of the situation, the political leadership of Brazil’s largest city remained mostly silent about how to address it. Seeing no one take action, Alliance for Water broke the status quo by asking a simple question: What exactly are the real responsibilities of Brazilian municipalities in the complex and multi-sectoral management of water?

In practice, the answer was surprisingly not clear. The question has since become the baseline for new initiatives and innovations in campaigning for water sector reform.


Read this post in Portuguese here: Inovações na gestão das águas no município de São Paulo: protagonismo da sociedade civil


About the Alliance for Water

Founded in October 2014, the Alliance for Water is a civil society movement that came together to tackle the water crisis in São Paulo and to build a “New Culture of Care for Water” in Brazil. The Alliance is comprised of a wide and diverse group of over 60 organizations and movements focused on the environment, consumer rights, human rights, education, activism, and innovation.


From legal review to campaign for reform

During the water crisis, the Alliance witnessed a lack of transparency in the management of water resources. It became clear that this directly influenced the population’s perception of the crisis and made it more difficult to engage citizens to tackle the issue.

Under the coordination of Estela Neves, Professor of the Graduate Program in Public Policies at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ, (Portuguese acronym), members of the Alliance collaborated with the Institute of Democracy and Sustainability (IDS), to conduct an extensive review of the Federal Constitution of 1988 and the Brazilian legal-regulatory framework and map all the responsibilities of cities for water management. The resulting report, “Who cares for water? Fresh water governance: the national legal-institutional framework”, was published in 2016.

This technical document formed the basis of a campaign called #VoteForWater, initiated by the alliance. The campaign successfully transformed the findings from the research into a draft bill, which was applicable to any municipality in Brazil. This text was conceived under the aegis of the Water Security concept, as defined by UN-Water. The draft bill was conceived as a single legal instrument that did not create any new responsibilities but helped to ensure that local governments could be held accountable for the actions they already officially have the responsibility for. It was meant as a useful instrument to inform as well as put pressure on candidates campaigning during the municipal elections in 2016.

As a result of the campaign, over 300 organizations, which had the commitment from 82 candidates for Congress and 18 candidates for the Executive branch across Brazil in 47 municipalities, signed a declaration to take the draft bill forward. Of these candidates, two mayors in the municipalities of Itu and Marabá and five city council members in São Paulo were elected. The technical and political result of this process was the development of a document that provided a framework for municipal water security on seven fronts, illustrated in the image below.



Transparency, the access to information, and social control mechanisms are fundamental dimensions of the Municipal Water Safety Policy, as laid out in item VI, paragraph two, article 2.


New Water Security bill advances in São Paulo

In the city of São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, the draft bill actually advanced. After it was presented in the local parliament, the declaration became a bill in December 2016. It was named PL No. 575 and was authored by city council member Eduardo Suplicy from the Labour Party, with the support of representatives[1] from several other parties. It was approved during a second debate in the Municipal Council on May 8, 2019, and enacted on May 31 of the same year through Law No. 17,104, which created the Municipal Policy for Water Security and Water Management (PMSH, Portuguese acronym).

There are two important provisions in the law:

  • Article 3: which determines the creation of a “competent body to implement the Municipal Policy for Water Safety and Water Management”, and
  • Article 4: which reiterates that “Municipalities shall be liable (…) for presenting Water Security Status Reports”.

This innovative public policy places the spotlight on Water Security actions and policies at the local level and pushes the agenda as political priority. Two major challenges in the São Paulo’s case, in order for the policy to really take effect is a) the creation of the specific body inside the government to articulate and integrate local action, and b) to build a set of indicators that can be  used as a powerful instrument for monitoring,  improving  public policy and wider communication with the society and the citizens.

To make inroads for the implementation of the PMSH, Mayor Bruno Covas from the Social Democratic Party of Brazil (PSDB) signed a Directive (No. 349) on June 25, constituting the Water Security Commission. The Commission members include six municipal government departments, two representatives of civil society[2] and one representative from academia. It has two main tasks: drafting a proposal for setting up a specific body to exercise the responsibilities laid out in article 2, and drafting a proposal for collaborative monitoring and improvement of indicators. The indicators to be considered include, for instance, local water stress index and the historic evolution of data on hospitalization due to waterborne diseases.

This effort in São Paulo is the fruit of a technical process resulting from a partnership with academia, followed by mobilization of the electorate with the active participation of multiple civil society actors, with the backing of different political parties; the legislature and the executive branch of the São Paulo municipality.


Through the Open Government Partnership lens

This co-created effort is part of an open government and social participation logic that, among other elements, seeks to better monitor the implementation of the new law –and related challenges- with strong indicators. Indicators feature elements from the seven themes that formed the basis for the law. The indicators emerged from a process that was based on a dialogue with civil society. The Alliance for Water played a fundamental role in providing technical support and social mobilization in the process.

Considering the lessons learned from Brazil’s water crisis, especially the São Paulo case, transparency should be one of the key components of the process of implementing the law instrumental in promoting social control and quality participation.

São Paulo has a lot to share with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Local Program, as it relates to the pillars of transparency, participation, co-creation and accountability, and to open government reforms in public services. Future commitments on water resources in the city of São Paulo’s action plan will hopefully build further on this Alliance for Water experience.


About the authors:

Guilherme Checco holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the Institute of Energy and the Environment at the University of São Paulo (Procam/IEE/USP, Portuguese acronyms) and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC/SP, Portuguese acronym). He is currently a researcher at the Institute of Democracy and Sustainability (IDS).

Marussia Whately is an architect and urban designer, specialist in water and sanitation. She is one of the leading people behind the Alliance for Water. She is an author of several books and publications, among them Século da Escassez. Uma nova cultura de cuidado com a água: impasses e desafios.  She currently serves as the executive director of the Water and Sanitation Institute.


More on the Community of Practice on Water and Open Government

Tackling today’s water challenges, from expanding service delivery to cleaning up the world’s waterways, will require more than improving infrastructure and stepping up investments. Governments and civil society must also address daunting political challenges such as fragmented resource management, corruption, and unequal access to clean water. Adopting open government reforms can help institutional capacity, facilitate coordination between stakeholders, and resolve information asymmetries, to promote fairer, more reliable and more efficient water and sanitation service delivery.

The Community of Practice on Water and Open Government is a collaborative space for stakeholders to share ideas and expertise to support open government reforms for water. It is run by Fundación Avina, the Open Government Partnership, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Water Integrity Network (WIN), and the World Resources Institute (WRI) since 2017.

Find out more at:




[1] City Council members Gilberto Natalini (PV), Nabil Bonduki (PT), José Police Neto (PSD), Soninha Francine (previously PPS, currently CIDADANIA), Ricardo Young (REDE), Toninho Vespoli (Psol), Jair Tatto (PT), Sâmia Bomfim (Psol) and Celso Giannazi (Psol).

[2] Alliance for Water and Nossa São Paulo Network. In June 2019, due to an issue of agenda availability, the RNSP (Nossa São Paulo Network) was substituted by the Institute for Democracy and Sustainability (IDS, Portuguese acronym), both members of the Alliance for Water.


The post Innovations in water management in the city of São Paulo: the leading role of civil society appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

WIN photo and design competition 2020: Now OPEN!

November 7th 2019 at 09:01

To participate, please submit your images with captions and the signed Terms and Conditions form, by 23:59 CET Sunday 16 February 2020 to winphotocomp(at)gmail(dot)com.


Nearly 7 out of 10 people will live in urban areas by 2050. As the urban population booms, it is a major challenges to ensure provision of sustainable water and sanitation services, particularly to poor communities and those living in informal settlements.

Corruption and a lack of integrity compound this challenge. They drain financing from the sector, by, for example, siphoning funds out of the system, directing services delivery to specific groups, delivering sub-standard or dysfunctional services, employing incompetent people to manage water and sanitation services. Without addressing these twin issues, it is unlikely that the Sustainable Development Goals will be met.

This year’s photo and design competition focuses on the dynamics of corruption and integrity in the urban water and sanitation sector. We ask contestants to send us images that show either side of the coin: the damaging effect of corruption on service provision in cities in the era of climate change, or the way integrity (and its pillars Transparency, Accountability, Participation, and Anti-corruption) can make a difference to support service delivery and ensure we leave no one behind.

Participants are invited to share their vision and submit up to two images that examine these complex dynamics, along with captions or short descriptions for each image.

For the first time, we are going beyond photography and welcoming entries that include visual art work (graphic design, painting, illustrations etc.).

Our jury of water and media specialists will select the winning images.

All shortlisted photos will be displayed on the WIN website and be part of the design of the next Water Integrity Global Outlook 2021 publication.

Winners will be announced on World Water Day, 22 March 2020.



Best artist: three prizes will be awarded in this category, one for first place, and two runners up.

  • First place: 700 Euro prize.
  • Runners-up: 200 Euro prize each.

Special prize for young artists: one prize will be awarded in this category.

  • Special prize: 300 Euro prize.


Terms and conditions

Download the terms and conditions for the WIN photo competition 2020:



Here are the results of previous photo competitions:

2019: Gender and Water Integrity

2018: Where and How Does Money Flow in the Water Sector?

2017: Wastewater and Water Integrity

2013: Cooperation for Integrity

2012: Water Integrity and Water for Food

2011: Water Integrity and Urban Water

2009: The Impact of Corruption in the Water Sector

The post WIN photo and design competition 2020: Now OPEN! appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

Water integrity as an opportunity: the relationship between climate change finance and the water sector

November 7th 2019 at 10:55

Download full brief:


Global climate change finance flows are expected to increase over the next few years in response to climate change. As these funds will be channeled through relatively untested funding sources, existing corruption risks in climate change finance need to be better understood.

This policy brief provides an overview of challenges and opportunities concerning corruption in the wa­ter sector in the context of climate change finance. It addresses policy makers and practitioners from both sectors.

The policy brief was drafted based on a literature review and interviews with experts from international and civil society organizations as well as implementing entities.

To promote greater responsibility and accountability in climate finance, this policy brief makes a number of recommendations:

  • In the context of multilateral climate funds, national designated authorities and accredited entities should improve their respective capacities in order to strengthen integrity and address specific  corruption risks. A zero-tolerance approach and targeted climate finance readiness support can positively affect projects related to the water sector.
  • Strengthening participation of vulnerable communities and civil society in prioritization, planning and implementation of projects could reinforce their role concerning oversight.
  • The climate finance architecture in many countries, as well as globally, is still under development. This provides an opportunity to consider some of the best practices and to undertake early  measures to curb corruption and strengthen integrity.
  • Development partners are encouraged to continue demanding high standards of accountability and transparency from their partners and support capacity building, e.g. through South-
    South learning on integrity approaches.
  • Both climate change finance and the water sector can draw on different tools, approaches and experiences concerning the prevention of corruption. Thus, both can benefit from each other’s expertise.

The post Water integrity as an opportunity: the relationship between climate change finance and the water sector appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

Inovações na gestão das águas no município de São Paulo: protagonismo da sociedade civil

November 8th 2019 at 11:03

A Região Metropolitana de São Paulo enfrentou uma grave crise hídrica ao longo dos anos de 2014 a 2016, e, não obstante sua gravidade, foi notória a falta de protagonismos dos Prefeitos na busca de soluções, em especial a liderança política da maior cidade do Brasil. Diante daquele cenário, um questionamento foi levantado pela Aliança pela Água: quais são, de fato, as responsabilidades dos municípios brasileiros na complexa e multissetorial gestão das águas? Desde então, esse desafio se transformou em iniciativas e inovações importantes.


Leia este post em inglês aqui: Innovations in water management in the city of São Paulo: the leading role of civil society


Sobre a Aliança pela Água

Fundada em outubro de 2014, a Aliança pela Água é uma articulação da sociedade civil criada para enfrentar a crise hídrica em São Paulo e construir uma “Nova Cultura de Cuidado com a Água” no Brasil. A Aliança é composta por um grupo amplo e diverso de mais de 60 organizações e movimentos envolvidos com questões do meio ambiente, direitos do consumidor, direitos humanos, educação, ativismo e inovação.


Seguindo os passos certos

Em 2016, a Aliança decidiu criar uma frente de trabalho técnico para poder abordar essa questão de maneira mais efetiva. Um dos principais desafios observados durante a crise foi a falta de transparência na gestão dos recursos hídricos, o que influenciou diretamente a percepção da crise pela população  e tornou mais difícil envolver os cidadãos em seu enfrentamento.

Sob a coordenação de Estela Neves, Profa. do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Políticas Públicas da UFRJ, foi conduzido um processo de revisão extensiva da Constituição Federal de 1988 e do arcabouço legal-normativo brasileiro, de modo a mapear e sistematizar todas as atribuições dos municípios nas diferentes políticas setoriais. Esse processo contou com a colaboração de integrantes do secretariado da aliança e do Instituto Democracia e Sustentabilidade (IDS), resultando na publicação do documento “Quem cuida da Água? Governança da água doce: a moldura jurídico-institucional nacional” (2016).

A partir desse documento técnico, foi criada a campanha #VotePelaÁgua, iniciada pela Aliança. Esta campanha conseguiu transformar os resultados da pesquisa em uma proposta de projeto de lei, organizada em três artigos e aplicável a qualquer município do Brasil. Esse texto foi concebido sob a égide do conceito de Segurança Hídrica. É importante salientar aqui que nenhuma atribuição nova foi criada e que o texto foi organizado na forma de um único instrumento legal, ou seja, a proposta de projeto de lei. Com isso, seria possível garantir que os governos locais respondessem pelas ações de sua responsabilidade. Foi um instrumento útil para informar e também pressionar os candidatos em campanha durante as eleições municipais em 2016.

O resultado prático dessa mobilização foi a declaração assinada por mais de 300 organizações, em que foi ratificado o compromisso de 82 candidatos aos Legislativos e 18 candidatos aos Executivos de todo o Brasil, distribuídos em 47 municípios, de levar adiante a proposta do projeto de lei. De todos esses candidatos foram eleitos dois prefeitos nos municípios de Itu e Marabá, e cinco vereadores em São Paulo. O resultado técnico-político desse processo foi a elaboração de um documento que estruturava a segurança hídrica municipal em sete frentes, ilustradas na imagem abaixo.

Brasil - politica municipal de sguranca hidrica

A experiência de São Paulo

No município de São Paulo, maior cidade do país, a proposta de projeto de lei efetivamente avançou. Depois de ser apresentada no parlamento local, a declaração virou oficialmente um projeto de lei em dezembro de 2016, intitulado PL No. 575 e de autoria do Vereador Eduardo Suplicy (PT), com o apoio de um conjunto diverso de parlamentares[1] de diferentes partidos. A matéria foi aprovada em segunda discussão na Câmara Municipal em 8 maio de 2019 e promulgada em 31 de maio do mesmo ano a partir da Lei No. 17.104, que criou a Política Municipal de Segurança Hídrica e Gestão das Águas (PMSH).

Dois dispositivos da lei devem ser destacados:

  • o art. 3º, que determina a criação de “instância competente para implantar a Política Municipal de Segurança Hídrica e Gestão das Águas”; e
  • o art. 4º, que destaca que “Caberá ao Município (…) apresentar Relatório da Situação sobre Segurança Hídrica”.

Esta política pública inovadora coloca o foco nas ações e políticas de segurança hídrica a nível local e impulsiona a agenda como prioridade política. Dois grandes desafios no caso de São Paulo, para que a política realmente entre em vigor, é a) a criação de um órgão específico dentro do governo para articular e integrar a ação local, e b) a construção de um conjunto de indicadores que possam ser usados como um poderoso instrumento para monitorar, melhorar as políticas públicas e ampliar a comunicação com a sociedade e os cidadãos.

Para avançar na implementação da PMSH, em 25 de junho, o Prefeito Bruno Covas (PSDB) assinou a Portaria No. 349, que constituiu a Comissão de Segurança Hídrica com as atribuições de elaborar uma proposta para a instituição de órgão específico para exercer as atribuições previstas no art. 2º da Lei e também elaborar uma proposta para monitoramento e aperfeiçoamento colaborativo dos indicadores e das políticas municipais previstas na Lei. Entre os diversos indicadores a serem considerados estão, por exemplo, o índice de estresse hídrico local e a evolução histórica dos dados de internação por doenças de veiculação hídrica. É igualmente importante destacar que a Comissão de Segurança Hídrica é composta por seis secretarias do governo municipal, dois representantes da sociedade civil[2] e um representante da academia. Por fim, cabe destacar alguns aspectos desse complexo percurso no âmbito da construção da PMSH/SP

Esse trabalho em São Paulo é fruto de um processo técnico realizado em parceria com a academia, seguido de uma mobilização do eleitorado que teve a participação ativa de uma multiplicidade de atores da sociedade civil, com articulação política com diferentes partidos políticos e os poderes Legislativo e Executivo do município de São Paulo


Do ponto de vista da Parceria de Governo Aberto

Esse trabalho de cocriação se insere em uma lógica de governo aberto e participação social que visa, entre outros elementos, à construção de indicadores de monitoramento da nova lei. Esses indicadores permitirão acompanhar os avanços na implementação da lei e identificar os desafios para o avanço dessa agenda. Esses indicadores foram desenvolvidos a partir de um processo de diálogo com a sociedade civil, em que a Aliança pela Água teve papel fundamental ao proporcionar aporte técnico e mobilização social. Os indicadores contêm elementos das sete frentes que serviram de base para a lei.

Considerando as lições aprendidas com a crise hídrica brasileira, em especial o caso de São Paulo, a transparência deverá ser um dos principais componentes desse processo, contribuindo para promover o controle social e uma participação qualificada, de acordo com os dispositivos explicitados na própria lei que criou a Política Municipal de Segurança Hídrica.

São Paulo tem muito a compartilhar com o Programa Local da Parceria de Governo Aberto (OGP – Open Government Partnership) tendo em vista seus pilares de transparência, participação, cocriação e prestação de contas e o interesse da OGP em vincular as reformas de governo aberto com os serviços públicos – em que a água é um dos temas prioritários. Seria importante explorar futuros compromissos referentes aos recursos hídricos no plano de ação de governo aberto de São Paulo com base nesta experiência da Aliança pela Água.


Sobre os Autores

Guilherme Checco é Mestre em Ciência Ambiental pelo Instituto de Energia e Ambiente da Universidade de São Paulo (Procam/IEE/USP) e Bacharel em Relações Internacionais pela Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC/SP). Atualmente ele atua como pesquisador no Instituto Democracia e Sustentabilidade (IDS).

Marussia Whately é arquiteta e urbanista, especialista em água e saneamento. É uma das idealizadoras da Aliança pela Água. É autora de diversos livros e publicações, entre eles o Século da Escassez. Uma nova cultura de cuidado com a água: impasses e desafios”. Atualmente é diretora-executiva do Instituto Água e Saneamento.


Mais sobre a Comunidade de Práticas no domínio da Água e da Governação Aberta

Os desafios atuais no domínio da água, desde a expansão da prestação de serviços até à limpeza das vias navegáveis mundiais, exigirão mais do que a melhoria das infraestruturas e a intensificação dos investimentos. Os governos e a sociedade civil devem também enfrentar desafios políticos assustadores, como a gestão fragmentada dos recursos, a corrupção e a desigualdade de acesso à água potável. A adoção de reformas governamentais abertas pode ajudar na capacidade institucional, facilitar a coordenação entre as partes interessadas e resolver assimetrias de informação, para promover a prestação de serviços de água e saneamento mais justos, confiáveis e eficientes.

A Comunidade de Práticas sobre Água e Governo Aberto é um espaço colaborativo para que as partes interessadas compartilhem ideias e conhecimentos para apoiar reformas governamentais abertas para a água. É administrada pela Fundación Avina, a Open Government Partnership, o Instituto Internacional de Água de Estocolmo (SIWI), a Water Integrity Network (WIN) e o World Resources Institute (WRI) desde 2017.

Saiba mais em: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/policy-area/water-sanitation/



[1] Aliança pela Água e Rede Nossa São Paulo. Em julho de 2019, por uma questão de disponibilidade de agenda, a Rede Nossa São Paulo (RNSP) foi substituída pelo Instituto Democracia e Sustentabilidade (IDS), ambos membros da Aliança pela Água.

[2] Vereadores Gilberto Natalini (PV), Nabil Bonduki (PT), José Police Neto (PSD), Soninha Francine (à época PPS, atual CIDADANIA), Ricardo Young (REDE), Toninho Vespoli (Psol), Jair Tatto (PT), Sâmia Bomfim (Psol) e Celso Giannazi (Psol)

The post Inovações na gestão das águas no município de São Paulo: protagonismo da sociedade civil appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.

October round-up

November 8th 2019 at 09:38

Evidence and learning to improve anti-corruption work,
and how a breakdown in enforcement and regulation is leading to ecological disaster


Corruption is a complex, systemic, and difficult problem.” We all know this and it affects our work daily. But it’s not always so obvious why or how to move forward.

In the news this month, an investigation into the circumstances leading to what appears to be straightforward dramatic pollution incident in the Mar Menor lagoon in Spain, shows a complex web of dynamics and systematic breakdowns related to integrity but no clear cut case on the causes of the situation or the way forward.

We have to learn from such cases, just as we must learn form governance and anti-corruption programmes, to improve management systems and limit opportunities for malpractice.


Please don’t hesitate to share your views  in the comments or get in touch to share information and material for the next round-up. Thank you!

The links here go to original material on external websites. WIN is not responsible for the accuracy of external content.



Mar Menor: History of a Disaster

Close to 50,000 people demonstrated at the end of October in the south east of Spain after thousands of dead fish washed up on the shores of the protected Mar Menor lagoon. The waters are increasingly and dangerously polluted as a result of decades of systematic breakdowns in regulation, enforcement, and monitoring. Hundreds of illegal wells, canals, desalinations systems and pumps have proliferated unpunished, water is abstracted from overexploited aquifers, there is a lack of monitoring and control over land use and use of fertilizers.

How does one get to this point? What are the consequences of a lack of integrity in water management?

These are some of the questions that the journalists of Datadista covered in their investigation of the current crisis in the Mar Menor, an investigation WIN supported via its water integrity journalism fund. The in-depth investigation and interviews takes a longer term perspective on an ecological disaster.

Read full: Mar Menor: historia profunda de un desastre

Stay tuned for the translation into English


Learning from and for Anti-corruption Work


On Voices for Transparency: motivation to keep learning and taking action

Thoughts on the need to better plan and document anti-corruption work to integrate a continuous learning approach and push the field forward.

Read full on Medium: Doing anti-corruption work more effectively: How learning and adaptation matter


New insight from the Anti-corruption Evidence Research Programme

Diverging paths to fight corruption and promote open government and transparency in procurement in Uganda and Tanzania bring to light different motivations for action. These must be taken into account for effective action.

Read post: Where does pressure for public procurement transparency come from? Reflections from Uganda and Tanzania

The post October round-up appeared first on WIN - Water Integrity Network.


November 11th 2019 at 11:58

Teun Bastemeijer, whose energy, imagination and commitment have built and nurtured WIN through its early and challenging years, is stepping down from his position as Chief Strategic Advisor, today November 11th 2019.

Teun joined WIN as Director of the WIN secretariat at Transparency International on March 1st 2008, before WIN was a separate, legal association. He helped build the network and secretariat team. He also structured WIN’s advocacy work and oversaw WIN’s first major publications. In June 2013, Teun presided over the first Water Integrity Forum in Delft, the Netherlands. The planning and organization of this event was a big step in the development of a solid partnership of organizations committed to the cause of integrity and good governance in the water sector. It was in many ways the founding moment for the independent WIN network as it stands today.

As Chief Strategic Advisor from 2014 onwards, Teun guided WIN’s strategy and developed major new partnerships, for example with the OECD Water Governance Initiative, establishing WIN as an international player, here to stay.

He has played a key role in shifting the global conversation in the water sector towards integrity and anti-corruption.


A farewell from Teun Bastemeijer

November 11, 2019


Today, I am retiring after eleven years being part of the effort to build WIN as an effective instrument to reduce the impact of corruption in the water sector.

Over the years, as Director and then Chief Strategic Advisor of WIN, I spoke out against corruption and for integrity in water. This I did also out of conviction and concern. Fighting corruption in water, even when we call it promoting water integrity or improving water governance is not easy. You may recognize the frustration of being met with silence or of seeing stakeholders purposely avoid direct cooperation.

Fortunately we have made progress. More people and organizations have overcome their fear of speaking openly about integrity in water. They see value in pursuing change and seek ways to join the effort, a development that is all the more important in this era of climate change. The growth of WIN’s partnerships is a crucial element of WIN’s work and a reflection of real change.

I look back with appreciation for all the support from donors and from water and cross-sector organizations. Above all I recognize the dedication and commitment of the people I’ve cooperated with in many countries in the world, some of whom are now good friends.

It is now time to go and to wish WIN and its strategic partners a good and impactful future. I hope that you, just like myself, will stay interested in how WIN fares in coming years and continue to support the struggle for more transparency, accountability, honesty and fairness in water-related policies, strategies, programmes and projects.

During the coming years, I am hoping to spend much of my time and energy on issues of water governance for climate resilience, with a focus on local initiatives and multi-stakeholder engagement.


Farewell for now,


Teun Bastemeijer



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Multi-Country Water Integrity Programme

November 18th 2019 at 22:02


The SDC-funded Multi-Country Water Integrity Programme (MCWIP) was a water governance and water integrity programme for rural water implemented in Guatemala, Kenya, Nepal, and Mozambique from 2012 to 2019. The overall progamme goal was to increase the engagement of water users and decision-makers to change both individual attitudes and the institutional behaviour of public, private and civil society stakeholders. Water rights holders would be thus empowered and duty bearers held accountable, leading to effective water governance as well as equitable and sustained access to water and sanitation.

The programme was implemented in collaboration with Swiss organizations working on water and sanitation, including Helvetas Swiss Inter-Cooperation, Caritas Switzerland and cewas. Partnerships were established with local organizations to develop and support local programme activities. The MCWIP focused on remote regions where service levels are lower and engaged directly to empower vulnerable communities using a framework of Transparency, Accountability and Participation (TAP). Social accountability mechanisms were introduced in particular, as a key component of the programme.

From 2015 to 2019, MCWIP in its third and final phase focused on collecting and structuring the knowledge gathered during the programme both to feed sustainability and to reflect on lessons learnt.

One category of lessons relates to enablers, or conditions, that support the effective launch and implementation of water integrity projects. As considered through the four elements of the WIN Integrity Wall, TAPA, these lessons include the value of media involvement in boosting Transparency and accessibility of information; the importance for Accountability of clear rules and regulations, mechanisms for gathering evidence, and open platforms for dialogue; the need for Participation to include all stakeholders and an increased proportion of women, youth, and other marginalized groups; and the value of slow progress in Anti-corruption using a collaborative, solutions-oriented, non-confrontational approach.

The second category of lessons relate to the challenges of implementing a multi-lateral programme such as MCWIP. These include:

  1. the importance of understanding the broader country context to the ability to deliver at programme level;
  2. the value of a multi-stakeholder, solutions-oriented approach in increasing the impact of water integrity programmes;
  3. the need and effectiveness of explicit actions to amplify the voices of women and youth; and
  4. the importance of sharing knowledge and building the capacity of national and local stakeholders in improving uptake of integrity tools and increasing impact.



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Making information on the use of water resources in Chile open and transparent

December 2nd 2019 at 12:48

The promotion of an open government and the empowerment of citizens through co-creation processes using technology could sound like a distant goal. But as challenging as it sounds, there are steps being taken in this direction. This is evidenced by the initiatives contained in the action plans adopted by the governments that are part of the Open Government Partnership, (OGP).


Launching open government initiatives: opening up information on water licensing

In Chile, the Water Directorate (DGA in Spanish) has taken part in the OGP process since 2016. The OGP participation in Chile is coordinated by the Presidency’s Secretariat General (SEGPRES), which serves as the national point of contact (PoC). Since Chile’s first Action Plan, SEGPRES has promoted a participatory process with civil society organizations and public entities. Through this process, the DGA presented its first commitment in the 2016-2018 Action Plan.

To fulfil its first commitment, the DGA developed an easy-to-access web app. The app makes it possible to obtain information on the demand and granting of water use licenses in the country and makes it easier to file complaints in case of damage.

In particular, the app makes it possible to visualize georeferenced information on resolved and ongoing water rights submitted to the DGA and allows public consultation of water-rights documentation. It also provides visualizations of the location of citizen complaints filed in relation to violations to the Water Code (Código de Aguas, C.A.).  Among the most frequent violations are: the construction of unauthorized works on watercourses (Art. 41 y 171 C.A.) unauthorized water extraction (Art. 20, 59 and 163 C.A.; Art. 42 and 43 D.S. 203/2013), and non-compliance with the conditions for the exercise of water use rights (control of water extractions, Art. 68 C.A.).


The fourth Open Government National Action Plan: progress and new tools for transparency on water extraction

ARTICLE 68°- “The Water Directorate General may require the installation and maintenance of systems for the measurement of flows, of extracted volumes and of phreatic levels in [the construction and operation of hydraulic] works, in addition to a system for the transmission and sharing of the information obtained. In the case of non-consumptive exploitation rights, this requirement shall also apply to aquifer restitution works […]”

Water Code, Law 21.064

Since 2018, DGA is working to disseminate information to the public and increase transparency on the use of water resources as a contribution to commitment #8 on water resources of Chile’s latest OGP Action Plan 2018-2020. These efforts are in line with the most recent changes to the Water Code, Law 21.064, specifically in relation to article 68. Specifically, the DGA has decided to make available to the public data on water extraction by different users, including farmers, mining and forestry companies, and other water rights holders.

To do this, DGA is developing a new web app. The data visualized in this app will be partly user-generated and further complemented by documentation on water use rights. Larger water users have to set up a meter system that automatically generates the georeferenced data that is then sent to DGA, while smaller users will report the information through excel sheets centralized by DGA. While there is the risk of users manipulating the excel sheet (or even the meters), DGA expects that the publication of the data and social monitoring and pressure will be an incentive for relatively accurate input.

Focused on transparency and public access to information on water use, this work on National Action Plan commitments seeks to reduce uncertainty regarding water availability, given the extreme water scarcity that affects Chile. A water scarcity decree has been issued for 56 communes and an agricultural emergency officially declared in 111, impacting over 400,000 people. The DGA has been questioned for not having all relevant information on the registration, allocation and management of water rights in the country. The new system is an attempt to respond.


Disclosure must go hand in hand with citizen engagement

It is important to put these efforts into context. The issues we face in the water management sector will not be solved with just data. The creation of opportunities for citizens to use and engage with the information and platform for their benefit is essential.

At present, the data that will be published is mainly contained in specialized studies. These studies neither disaggregate the data nor consider the local scale. This is an example of a dissociation between the functioning of public services and the people they serve. Disaggregation would allow for a better understanding and use of the information by those who need it most. And to further prevent or reduce disconnection to citizens’ needs, it is essential to listen to what people have to say, address and resolve complaints and grievances in an empathic, committed and needs-focused manner.

This experience reinforces the idea that the main efforts to promote principles of co-creation, transparency and participation need to be initiated by the State. This will ensure credibility and increased cooperation between the government and civil organisations, allowing for the construction of a true path towards the improvement of people’s quality of life. However, such efforts, like the web platforms created to promote transparency and access to public information, will not fulfil their mission if they are not complemented well through citizen engagement.


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Making school WASH work for and with students in Bangladesh

December 9th 2019 at 09:27

As the Roman poet Ovid once said, “The lamp burns bright when wick and oil are clean.” Students are those lamps who will brighten up society and drive a country to its ultimate prosperity. To do that, students need to have proper education and good health. Basic, usable WASH facilities at school are a logical prerequisite for this, as students spend most of their day at school.

Development Organisation for the Rural Poor (DORP) is relentlessly working to develop proper water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities in schools situated in remote regions of Bangladesh. In the last two years, we have found that the lack of proper and functional WASH facilities cannot only be attributed to limited resources but also to a basic lack of awareness and the absence of accountability and participation: School Management Committees, teachers, and guardians are often reluctant to take up issues around student needs for water and sanitation in schools.


School toilets in Bangladesh: a dire situation

While most schools spend most of their budget on infrastructure, the maintenance of WASH facilities is neglected and budgets for this remain minimal. The National Hygiene Baseline Survey 2014 found that six out of every ten latrines in primary schools were locked, and only a quarter of them were clean. While 79% of all schools had at least one functional toilet, unhygienic conditions, locked doors and inadequate facilities contributed to the low use of the toilets by students. Frequently, there was no maintenance plan, no cleaning schedule and no specific responsible person to hold accountable.

Bangladesh is committed to meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 6 on access to water and sanitation. In support of this, the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh released an official order called the Secondary School WASH Facility Improvement Circular in 2015. The Circular highlights issues around WASH in educational institutions and gives 11 directives mandating schools to improve access to WASH facilities. However, most schools do not comply with the circular. A lack of awareness and coordination among all stakeholders of schools is one of the main reasons for poor compliance.


A new ingredient: supporting School WASH with integrity

In this context, DORP saw value in applying an integrity lens to assess and improve the situation in schools. It launched the Integrity in School WASH project with WIN in Bhola and Ramgati Upazila in 2017. Under this project, we are working with 30 schools on different activities including research, lobby, advocacy and awareness raising. The main objective of these activities is to first introduce and establish the concept of integrity among different stakeholders and to then assess developments in WASH facilities in schools. Participation of different stakeholders, including students, has been a key lever of action.


The School WASH Team: mobilizing students to support WASH in schools

Activating what we call the “School WASH Team” has been one of the more successful approaches to ensure WASH facilities in schools are built and maintained. In every school, this team monitors the overall WASH situation in a school and reports it to the principal. The team members take part in the Management Committee meetings to share their opinion on school WASH facilities. They also share information with the rest of the students. A special badge is given to every member of the School WASH Team, to recognize and further motivate them.

A School WASH Team is formed with two students from every class from grades 6 to 10. Team members are selected every three months by students and teachers through a fair process. In all co-education schools, an equal number of male and female students are selected for the team. Knowing that differently-abled children have specific needs in WASH facilities, the School Management Committee makes sure they are represented on the School WASH Team. At the end of the year, the School Management Committee rewards the best team of the year.


photo: Members of the School WASH team show off their badges
Members of the School WASH team show off their badges


Evidence from the integrity work in schools in Bangladesh suggests that WASH facilities improved where the pillars of integrity (Transparency, Accountability, Participation and Anti-Corruption) were assimilated and promoted in schools and taken on board by active students and stakeholders. We are currently following up on the projects and organizing a series of events to advocate for further improvements and for clarifications on budget allocations. The aim is to keep up the good practices in schools and support the development of an enabling environment built on integrity for improved WASH.


photo: new signage on school toilet
New signage on school toilet


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Supporting community water management in Chiapas, Mexico

December 9th 2019 at 10:31

In conversation with Margarita Gutiérrez Vizcaino, director of the Area of Incidence and Systematic Change at Cántaro Azul.

WIN and Cántaro Azul are collaborating on a project for the adaptation and implementation of the Integrity Management Toolbox for small water supply systems in Mexico.


Tell us about yourselves: what do you in do in the water sector, in what context and area do you work in?

Cántaro Azul was born 13 years ago with the aim of ensuring access to safe water in rural communities. We operate mainly in the State of Chiapas, in Mexico. This State has the highest rates of marginalization and poverty in the country, as well as the lowest rate of access to water, despite the large amount of water resources available in the area. It should also be noted that 50% of the population of Chiapas lives in rural areas and that, therefore, 2.5 million people obtain their water services through community structures.

Cántaro Azul first focused on developing the “Mesitas Azules”, which is a low-cost ultraviolet water purification technology, easy to use and access by rural communities. First, the “Mesitas Azules” were used in households and Cántaro Azul subsequently introduced them in schools.

However, it soon became clear that the technological component was not enough and Cántaro Azul began to develop a complementary social component.

Our conclusion based on our experience is very clear:  without a social component, there is no good management or sustainability in the use of water systems.

Cántaro Azul operates 3 main programmes:

  • Social Franchise: is a social entrepreneurship programme, working with groups of women who build and operate water purification kiosks. Cántaro Azul provides the seed capital, technical support and fosters the articulation among women’s groups.   This programme operates mainly in peri-urban areas where bottled water is largely a solution to poor water services, and where these kiosks provide a more environmentally-friendly and affordable alternative to the local economy.
  • Safe water in schools: within this programme, water purification systems are installed with linked pedagogical and recreational components.  The purification system is in a transparent box that allows children to see how the water is purified through the system. An assessment is also made with the school community and school committees are created to promote hygienic habits
  •  Community water management: this programme began at the family and at the kiosks level creating a social structure to support the systems, whether they were “Mesitas Azules” in households or in community kiosks. Last year we changed the strategy and began to work with the community water committees which are self-organised. Our focus moved to actively supporting more centralized systems with the aim of achieving greater efficiency and sustainability. Our key activities support the committees in strengthening their capacities and improving the water systems.


Could you share an example of a success story?

The Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez school, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, is a success story that provides safe water for around 600 children. It is located in a peri-urban area. There, we installed a large system of rainwater collection and purification. The school committee (i.e. parents, children and teachers) took over the system and they have made it financially sustainable by selling sell water to surrounding families. With the money collected they pay for the operation and maintenance of the system, including the salary of a technician.

Another success story is the collaboration with the municipal government of the town of Berriozábal. Here, we have managed to share the problem and the proposals for a solution with a local government that serves 100 locations. The government has shown a strong commitment and created a municipal structure, endorsed by the State Congress, to institutionally support rural communities of the municipality. This municipal structure, called the “Organismo Municipal de Servicios Comunitarios de Agua y Saneamiento” (Municipal Agency for Community Water and Sanitation Services), serves 37 community water committees in rural areas.


What are the challenges you see? Are there integrity issues?

We find a major problem with regards to the poor quality of the data and information available. The official data on access to water and sanitation services do not reflect the complete reality, since they do not take into account the actual availability, the water quality or the availability of sanitation facilities. The only data available is about existing infrastructure, regardless of whether it is functional or not. The most serious consequence of this is that decisions are made based on these data and, therefore, real issues are not taken into account. This is a serious problem and particularly evident in the sharp decline in the budget dedicated to water and sanitation in the country in recent years.

Another important challenge is that of investments. Total priority is given to infrastructure, but not to the social or governance component. One of the reasons behind this is the greater ease of diverting resources in construction projects, as well as the fact that tangible works generate more political capital. We find two immediate consequences, on the one hand not enough money is allocated to governance and management and on the other, low quality infrastructure is built without taking into account the context of the situation at all.

Another notable challenge is people’s lack of awareness and participation. They normally do not know their rights, including the human rights to water and sanitation as well as water quality criteria. Not knowing makes them hesitant to demand quality service. In fact, when we go to the communities and ask about their water services, one of the first reactions is that they say they have no problems. Only after subsequent questioning, it turns out that the water is indeed contaminated and does not arrive every day into their homes.


Why did you decide to work with WIN?

In December 2018, WIN organized a full-day event in Mexico City to introduce the integrity concept and the Integrity Management Toolbox approach to water and sanitation organizations in the country. Aided by a series of presentations and a simulation exercise, participants discussed possible ways to apply the toolbox to identify and address their integrity risks and, thus, improve the performance and quality of their services.

As a result of the workshop, we came to know WIN’s work at a very good time for us, coinciding with our change in strategy towards a model more focused on community committees and as we began to establish our methodologies. Thus, we decided not to start from scratch, but to support and strengthen ourselves with WIN methodologies, adapting them to the rural context of Chiapas.


What was your experience working with the IM Toolbox for Small Water Supply Systems?

The IM Toolbox for small systems helped us identify things we wanted to, but never got down to doing ourselves.

With regards to the process and the methodology used by Cántaro Azul we were unsure about the next steps and yes, knowing and applying the toolbox helped us to define the next steps – such as the action plan with the committee(s).

The toolbox workshop inspired us greatly. On the one hand, it showed us how to build a working plan with the community. On the other hand, we greatly appreciate the tool’s self-management approach, which is aimed at avoiding paternalism and motivating the community to build their own solutions.


Photo: C. Fernandez Fernandez - Cantaro Azul working with the IM Toolbox for small systems in Chiapas, Mexico
Cantaro Azul working with the IM Toolbox for small systems in Chiapas, Mexico


What is your experience regarding gender? Do you work with women and other marginalized communities?

This is a very challenging issue for us and for which we have yet to conclude our reflection within the organization. Chiapas is a State with a great proportion of the population being indigenous and living in rural areas. In these contexts, gender structures are very different from those in the west. On the one hand, there is machismo and little space for women in decision-making. On the other hand, certain aspects are a consequence of the people’s world vision and the distribution of roles in society. We have to be careful in trying to change the moulds without a deeper understanding and analysis, as it can close many doors. Moreover, some imported models of support for women only load them with more work. What we try to do is to make their voices heard as they are the main users of water and therefore our main stakeholders in the assessment processes.

In mestizo communities we do try to push for more. For example, the “Social Franchise” project with kiosks is carried out with women entrepreneurs, but the work is made compatible with their household chores. Although it is not surprising that even when the woman is the final authority, the husband ends up making the decisions. Sometimes it is also a challenge for women facilitators to be heard on an equal footing, just like men in certain communities, but once we have achieved this, it helps immensely to break down barriers.

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“I do not want to tell you what we endured, what we had to go through to get that water”

December 9th 2019 at 11:08

“What is this dignity we keep talking about? You see us looking clean, healthy and fed but you have no idea how much sex we have traded to look dignified in front of you”. These were the powerful words of the local assembly member at the Sex For Water kick-off meeting held in September in Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. She added:

“Twenty years ago, before water was even accessible in Kibera, we would go to the neighbouring golf club in the wee hours of the night to fetch water. The guards would let us in from midnight to six in the morning, I do not want to tell you what we endured, what we had to go through to get that water.”


Sex for Water is Corruption

Any mention of sex for water is usually met with incredulity, disbelief, and outright denial. Yet, the testimonies collected from women over the past five years in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga , some of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, point towards an invisible, unspoken, and sinister consequence of corruption in the water sector: sextortion.

Sextortion is a form of corruption in which sex, rather than money, is the currency of the bribe.

For millennia, people who occupy positions of authority and public trust have sometimes abused their power and sought to take advantage of those who are dependent on their favour. Whether they are government officials, judges, educators, law enforcement personnel, border guards, or employers, their power to grant or withhold something of importance makes others vulnerable to their attempts to extort money or other things of value in exchange for the desired action. When that abuse of power takes the form of a demand for sexual favours, we call it “sextortion”.

During World Water Week 2018, at the event “Sex for Water: a women’s right’s violation”, the Stockholm International Water Institute, together with African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW), projected a video in which women in Kenya spoke out about being asked to pay for water with sex. The film also shows a water vendor shamelessly recognizing the total impunity for perpetrators.

Previous attempts to put the spotlight on the problem of sex for water include the detailed report on sextortion based on research in Johannesberg and Bogota (2014).


How does sex for water come about?

Testimonies range from women and girls having to trade sexual favours for water and face other forms of physically inappropriate and violent behaviour during their long journeys to fetch water or use sanitation facilities.  In Malawi for example, it has been reported how women desperate for water have succumbed to indecent proposals in order to access water“Even guards in schools with boreholes take advantage of desperate women by enticing them with sex to beat long queues,” says one concerned citizen, adding that the distance women travel in search of potable water makes them vulnerable to more sexual exploitation. Flirting can become one of the ways women and girls use to avoid long queues or to delay the water supply from being cut. This can lead to unwanted sexual attention, grooming and other devastating consequences.

CARE International reports from southern Mozambique where women and girls are struggling to cope with a two-year drought, the worst in 35 years. They are resorting to survival tactics such as eating less and selling sex for food or money. Teenage girls are particularly at risk, as they lack the knowledge to protect themselves and their children from hunger. Girls as young as 11 or 12 years have been lured away from water collection points by older men in exchange for food stocks or money. Some of the girls discover later that they are pregnant and are consequently stigmatized by the community and family.

The shame and stigma associated with these sexual offenses compound the difficulty of coming forward.

Because of fear of societal judgement and shunning, it is not an easy task for victims of sextortion to speak about it.


A favour for a favour

What happens when a  person relies on favours for basic services? Like water for instance, because they do not have a tap at home. Like depending on water from private vendors or boreholes without enough money to pay for it.  That person’s human right to drinking is reduced to a favour, and their existence is at the mercy of potential favour providers, such as a neighbour or a community water vendor.  Without financial means, returning the favours becomes a little more complicated.


What can be done?

First, we must believe the victims. We must acknowledge that this is happening. We must try to look deeper than what we see: the long queues, the jerry cans, the chit chat around water points and water service provision and  the vendor pulling his cart towards her home …. it is important to break the silence that makes it so easy for sextortion to remain unchallenged.

Current laws also need to be made more responsive to protect people from sextortion. A 2014 study by the IAWJ and the Thomson Reuters Foundation on laws in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Kenya, Mexico, Taiwan, Uganda and the United Kingdom found that none of the nine countries studied had adopted laws that refer to sextortion.

Against the global backdrop of anti-sexual harassment movements which have opened the floodgates for women to come forward with their stories, there is an opportunity to:

  • Raise awareness on and increase the visibility of the issue of Sex for Water.
  • Engage and build the capacities of communities and local authorities to address sextortion in water and sanitation in rural and urban areas.
  • Support water utilities to develop and implement gender responsive policies, plans, and practices.
  • Create a safe environment for women and girls, and support policing efforts in the access to water.


About the author:

Sareen Malik is the Coordinator of the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) and SWA Steering Committee Vice-Chair


More references and resources:

http://www.watergovernance.org/resources/wgf-report-8-women-corruption-water-sector-theories-experiences-johannesburg-bogota/ (there could be some good stuff coming from there)






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November Round-up

December 12th 2019 at 14:37

Accountability in tough places, a new database for accountability, and the long-lasting impact of poor integrity and corruption in the water sector

In November, Venetians had their feet in the water, partly because of corruption. And in other news, we noted the updates from the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) Programme by the Institute for Development Studies and partners and the launch of the Accountability Console database

Please don’t hesitate to share your views  in the comments or get in touch to share information and material for the next round-up. Thank you!

The links here go to original material on external websites. WIN is not responsible for the accuracy of external content.



8 key messages on promoting empowerment and accountability in tough places

The Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) Programme by the Institute for Development Studies and partners is and international research programme exploring how social and political action can contribute to empowerment and accountability in fragile, conflict, and violent settings. They recently published emerging messages that highlight the need to seriously rethink our approaches in fragile contexts. The messages specifically point to the importance of frontline actors and women’s collective action. We’re keeping our eyes peeled for more.

Read on: A4EA Synthesis Report – Empowerment and accountability in difficult settings: what are we learning?

And a summary of the messages: 8 Key Messages on Promoting Empowerment and Accountability in Messy Places


Accountability Console

Accountability Counsel launched a database that includes complaints filed to the independent accountability mechanisms of bilateral and multilateral development finance. That includes complaints for corruption. And complaints related to water infrastructure projects. Worth a deep dive.

Access the database: Accountability Console


Flooding in Venice

In Venice, thirty people were arrested after a corruption scandal broke in 2014, related to a slush fund to bribe officials amassed by the consortium building the city’s new flood barriers. Today, the barriers are not finished and there are questions about the planning, effectiveness, and impact of the Moses project. Venetians have expressed dismay and anger after the sudden flooding in November caused serious damage to their homes and Venice landmarks.

The case has been in the news repeatedly, for example in the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, or on France 24.


And a bonus preview for December:

South African President takes a stand on corruption in water

South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa, wrote in his weakly letter on December 2 that: “Mismanagement of water resources and corruption in the water sector has in no small part contributed to the situation we currently face.” He added “Serious accountability and governance issues persist, whether it is in the building of infrastructure or at a municipal level, where water losses are mounting as a result of billing errors, unauthorised usage and outright theft.

This is a very clear, strong message on poor integrity in the sector coming straight from the Head of State!

We are eager to see how this will translate into action.

Read more at:

Corruption in water infrastructure projects will be punished: Ramaphosa

Dubious tenders put SA’s water security at risk, Cyril Ramaphosa says

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December Round up

January 13th 2020 at 08:59

Reflections on participation and social accountability in water

As Coalition Eau examines opportunities and challenges of participation in the water and sanitation sector, Naomi Hossain reflects on protest and social accountability, urging the aid community to be more attentive.


Please don’t hesitate to share your views  in the comments or get in touch to share information and material for the next round-up. Thank you!

The links here go to original material on external websites. WIN is not responsible for the accuracy of external content.



Citizen participation in the water and sanitation sector

Coalition Eau, a network of 30 French NGOs working to promote sustainable access to water and sanitation for all, published an expert note on citizen participation mid-December: La participation citoyenne dans le secteur de l’eau et l’assainissement (in French).  The brief is useful and straightforward overview of the definition, opportunities, and challenges of participation in the sector, with specific examples of platforms for citizen input to planning and social accountability or monitoring mechanisms from West and Central Africa.

The brief can be downloaded at: Coalition Eau – Note d’expertise: La participation citoyenne dans le secteur de l’eau et l’assainissement


Why the World Bank is missing out on an Accountability Revolution

Naomi Hossain, on the Oxfam blog From Poverty to Power, sees recent protests across the world also as a call for accountability from governments and political elites. While reflecting on effectiveness and legitimacy of both social accountability initiatives and protests, she urges the international aid community to put nuance and care into their reading of worldwide protests.

“[The aid community] needs to be able to read these protests better, which means being able to listen to what people are saying, and to reflect on what it means for the policies they propose.”

-Naomi Hossain, Why the World Bank is missing out on an accountability revolution

See full blog post: Why the World Bank is missing out on an Accountability Revolution: Reflections on the Global Partnership for Social Accountability Forum 2019

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2019 water corruption and integrity highlights and what they mean for our work in 2020

January 28th 2020 at 21:19

The Global Impact of Corruption in Water

Estimates are that at least 10 per cent of water sector investment is lost to corruption and in some places is may be up to 40 or 50% This means that every year, more than 75 billion dollars – meant to protect rivers, keep clean water flowing and toilets running – vanish into the pockets of the few instead of benefiting the many.  The consequences can be devastating. In 2019, there’s been no shortage of cases of corruption and mismanagement to illustrate this.

A few examples: in the United Kingdom, the Water Services Regulation Authority imposed a £126 million fine on Southern Water for serious failures at sewage treatment and gross misreporting.

In East Africa, the highly-publicized arrest of Kenya’s Finance minister and other treasury officials over fraud charges concerning a multi-million-dollar project to build two mega dams, has already proven to be the tip of the iceberg of cases, and has triggered a wider discussion on the state of corruption in the sector.

Datadista’s investigative reporting on the Mar Menor crisis in Spain in October found that it was the product of decades-long build-up of dubious governmental practices which have led to overexploitation of underground water reserves, and eventually, the massive destruction of marine life. Earlier in the year, fish were dying en masse in the Murray Darling basin in Australia for similar reasons.

These are not isolated issues, nor are they contained in a handful of fragile regions. There are concerns of corruption in the water sector across the globe and the impact is severe. We cannot and should not dismiss this.


Leaving No One Behind? Not Yet…

Reports by the World Bank and WRI have highlighted that water quality and water scarcity issues are both seriously underestimated. The poor, the marginalized, and the vulnerable suffer the most in relation to both. Importantly, as highlighted in the World Water and Development Report of 2019: “apart from derailing policy implementation, corruption also reinforces existing inequalities, since payments trickle up to those with more (discretionary) power.”

Policy and support mechanisms are not up to standard. Another World Bank report published in 2019 found that water and sanitation subsidies are disproportionately benefitting the better-off: across a number of low and middle-income countries 56 percent of the subsidies are captured by the richest fifth of the population, while only six percent flow to the poorest fifth.

Many communities are still consistently left behind or forgotten. As international attention shifts to the new theme of the year for water (climate), the timely reminders from SERI to consider the needs of disabled women in informal settlements or from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the Stockholm World Water Week on the importance of respecting the rights of indigenous communities and activists, must not be forgotten.


Women in Water: Continued Exclusion

2019 yielded much-needed additional research that shed light on the ways in which women are left behind in water, and how corruption and anti-corruption measures affect them specifically, also in the water sector.

First for example, the 2019 World Bank report on women in water utilities acknowledges that despite women being largely responsible for procuring and using water for household purposes, the sector is yet to fully appreciate the benefit from women’s contributions as water managers and providers. The report echoes the urgency of closing the gender gap in water sector employment in order to achieve adequate water and sanitation for all.

Second, Transparency International has started including survey data on sextortion for its Global Corruption Barometer. The first numbers from both Latin America and the MENA region, suggest at least one in five women experience some form of sextortion when accessing public services, including water.

There’s still work to do to mainstream gender in our work. This type of data is a helpful starting point.


The Changing Role of Civil Society

2019 witnessed a peak in attention on the vital role of civil society in holding governments accountable and the precarious conditions that burden civil society activism. The publication, in May, of a humbling evaluation of transparency and accountability programmes in health in Indonesia and Tanzania, made it necessary to rethink the purpose and outcomes of many social accountability initiatives.

We see citizen oversight in the water sector as a key barrier to corruption, it’s therefore essential that, in 2020, we follow the ongoing discussions on collective action and the ways to bridge growing divisions and distrust between governments and people.

It’s also important to put these discussions in context of the latest annual State of Civil Society Report by Civicus, which analyzes civil society’s response to contemporary major challenges. The report cites the growing power of anti-rights groups and the incessant attacks on civic spaces of excluded groups as some of the key trends that impacted on civil society in 2018 and continued into 2019. What’s in store for 2020?

The trends are worrying, especially as we believe more attention needs to be awarded to grassroots activism to further amplify community voices, especially this year as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UN resolution on the human rights to water and sanitation. More access to information on water and sanitation projects must be granted to civil society actors to pursue accountability efforts in water sector planning and expenditure.

Echoing this sentiment, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace entered the new year with a report stressing the need to bridge the gap between technocratic NGOs in the field of anti-corruption and grassroots activists, recommending joining policy analysis with mass mobilization. And, End Water Poverty has already launched the #ClaimYourWaterRights campaign globally to mobilize people to claim their human rights to water and sanitation.

Can we make this happen for integrity? How can/is technology help(ing) these developments? And what kind of data and research will we need to make this kind of collaboration effective and to support accountability mechanisms? What information needs to be open? These are some of the questions we’ll be looking to in 2020.


Moving Forward in 2020

As a first step, the WIN team and partners will be focusing on supporting the development of better open government commitments for the water sector.  We’re working with a community of practice of organizations to strengthen input from water sector stakeholders into the Open Government Partnership processes. Join us to share knowledge and experience and take part in the development of an Open Government Declaration for the Water sector at a workshop in Brasilia Februrary 10-11, 2020.

We’ll also be working on the topic of water sector finance and how integrity measures can support creditworthiness of water service providers. For example, we’ll be focusing on mutual accountability in the build-up to the Finance Ministers’ Meeting of Sanitation and Water for All. How can we support utilities to be more accountable towards their users and government? How can we hold government accountable to support utilities, and even just pay their own water bills?

The key lessons we learn throughout the year will contribute to the development of our next Water Integrity Global Outlook, which will focus on integrity challenges and paths for action in urban water and sanitation. The Outlook will be published in 2021 and we welcome contributions, case studies, and partnerships as we develop the content this year.

We are particularly excited about the ongoing development of a integrity index, focused on corruption risks in urban water and sanitation. 2020 will see the development of the index methodology, and pilot testing in at least three cities. The index will draw on a combination of big data and questionnaires to reach those places and issues that don’t feature in the big data sets. Get in touch to share ideas!

We’re expanding the team to support the development of these new initiatives. Check our opportunities for more information.

We look forward to working with you in 2020!

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How does corruption actually work in the water sector, what can we do about it?

February 15th 2020 at 11:51

Every year, at least 75 billion dollars of investment vanishes from the water sector. In every project, that could be anywhere between 10 and 40 per cent of money gone and dramatic consequences.

What does that actually mean?

At the Stockholm World Water Week 2019 we asked participants to share their experiences of corruption and what they did about it. Here’s what they told us.





See the individual interviews here:

Lourdes Valenzuela, from the organization AGUATUYA (Bolivia), spoke to us about the topic from a gender point of view and explains why women are usually the most affected:


Peter Njaggah from Water Service Regulatory Board in Kenya, talks to us about the positive impact that the shift to Integrity Management had in his organization and how the staff learned they could all gain individually for collective changes:


Brian Felix Kwena, from Kenya Water for Health Organization, spoke to us about how he has personally been affected by corruption, the importance of the inclusion of marginalized groups and why being informed is key to avoid being victimized by the issue:

Joseph Oriono Eyatu, Commissioner for Rural Water Supply & Sanitation at the Ministry of Water and Environment in Uganda, explains, how the degradation of the water service because of corruption can affect the ability to maintain and sustain the water supplier system and how the best way to fight corruption is by involving the community in the process:

Herbert J. Kashililah, from SHAHIDI wa MAJI (Tanzania), how the existence of a law is not enough when it is not actually enforced and the challenges of taking action when there is no information available:

Mohammad Zobair Hasan, from Development Organization of the Rural Poor in Bangladesh, highlights the importance of making space to listen to the demands of the community and how participation leads to good governance, among other resources:

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