SDC Water Blog

May 17
Aguasan Workshop 2019 - Day 5, 17.05.2019

The last day of this year’s Aguasan workshop started as the other days with a recap of the day before. Followed by the presentations of the group work. In six rounds, the learnings and outcomes of the group work was shared and discussed within small groups.

In the following development of synthesis and recommendations, we tackled the questions: What inclusive business approaches work for advancing the HRTWS and what learnings do we draw from the workshop for the wider sector community?

The pitching competition was the highlight of the day. The six young entrepreneurs presented their businesses, why it is important that they win the 5’000 CHF and what they would use it for.

Ricardo Enrique Alba Torres with EKO GROUP H2O+, which builds rainwater-harvesting tanks out of PET bottles in Colombia. (

Jennifer Colpas with Tierra Grata, which tries to improve the access to energy, water and sanitation in rural Colombia. The group work was about their compost toilets. (

Christelle Kwizera, from Water Access Rwanda provide through Inuma groundwater kiosks purified reliable water to the rural population. (  

Mwila Lwando, from Live Clean Initiatives that develops and operates public toilets and shower facilities in peri-urban Zambia. (

Daniel Nolan, Untapped that provides technical support, IT tools, business model expertise and asset financing to help local organisations providing clean water. (

Jesselina Rana and Shubhangi Rana presented their project Pad2Go that tries to make menstruation hygiene products accessible for all. They provide sanitary pad vending machines and raise awareness about menstrual health through trainings of men and women in Nepal. Pad2Go convinced the participants as well as the Steering Committee to win these 5’000 CHF. They will invest them in 30 new sanitary pad vending machines and in their awareness raising campaign. (

May 16
Aguasan Workshop 2019 - Day 4, 16.05.2019

This morning we had twice a session of two presentations in parallel. In the first round, Selma Hilgersom from Simavi gave a practical insight on their work on how they try to reach the last mile with water vending machines and other driving innovations in rural Tanzania. At the same time, Tania Marinela Garcia Mendez from SDC Colombia shared their experience with community water management as an inclusive business initiative in the provision of water and sanitation services in the ASIR SABA project.

In the following two people from Helvetas gave their presentations, Samir Adriano about the provision of water and sanitation services through artisan associations in Mozambique. Lucien Blaser pointed out how they address the absence of sanitation through local entrepreneurs in Haiti and the challenges they face due to political regulations.

The group work of the entire workshop was continued by comparing the current business model of the young entrepreneurs with the canvas business model. For the rest of today's official program, the presentations of the group work were prepared for tomorrow.

As the weather finally was sunny and a bit warmer people enjoyed their free time at the lake side in Spiez and other nice places of Switzerland.

May 16
Aguasan Workshop 2019 - Day 3, 15.05.2019

The day started with two interesting presentations given by Hester Foppen from Agua for all about “Utility led distribution of filters” in Ethiopia and by Abu Rehan working for SDC in Pakistan about the “Multi-Stakeholder Water and Sanitation Sector Committee for improved governance of corporate governed utilities”.

After a short session groups, all participants left to Bern to meet the Equal Opportunity Officer of Agile (organisation of people with handicap) Mr. Herbert Bichsel. He described the situation and laws about access to public water and sanitation services for handicapped people in Switzerland. These views were complemented with the insight of Jojo Linder from Kompotoi. Among small composting toilets, Kompotoi rents and sells toilets that are accessible by wheel chairs.

The trip continued to Lucerne. Thomas Schmied, the supervisor of public wells at the City of Lucerne welcomed the participants with refillable water bottles. The participants had the chance to fil in their bottles with fresh and potable water at every public wells while listening at the historical evolution of the public water supply of the city (some wells are dating since 1417!). 

Lior Etter introduced the concept of Wasser für Wasser. This initiative is promoting drinking tap water in Switzerland and integrates donations into everyday life through the collaboration with restaurants selling tap water. With the donations, they enable access to drinking water and basic sanitation in urban areas of Zambia and Mozambique.

This interesting day was ended with a tasty, seasonal and regional dinner in Quai41, a restaurant that gives job opportunities to people with mental illnesses and other handicapped.

May 14
Aguasan Workshop 2019 - Day 2, 14.05.2019

The day started with the recap of the first day in form of “Aguastan News”, pointing out the highlights. After this, we continued on where the first day ended, with finalizing the HRTWS check and ecosystem due diligence in the group work.

We could enjoy an interesting panel on de-risking WASH investments through building functional ecosystems with representatives of Rightholders (Binayak Das, Water Integrity Network), Dutybearers (Tania Marinela Garcia Mendez, SDC Colombia), Private sector (Adriaan Mol, BushProof), NGOs (Olivier Normand, International Secretariat for Water) and the UN (former Special Rapporteur for the HRTWS).

The Aguasan Community of Practice (CoP), had their quarterly meeting in parallel to the podium. Therefore, the next session was a speed dating between the CoP and workshop participants, which enabled a lot of networking and many business card exchanges.

The afternoon was full with presentations. It started with Bjoern Struewer, Founder & CEO at Roots of Impact about financing strategies for inclusive WASH businesses such as impact subsidies. Erik Simanis could give a talk about the approach of TIL Ventures on reality check at the Base of the Pyramid via skype. Adriaan Mol from BushProof fascinated with his learnings as a serial impact entrepreneur on last mile distribution of renewable energy, sanitation and safe drinking water and failures and successes of their businesses. Mikael Dupuis from Uduma/ Odial Solutions Group gave a practical insight on sustainable models for rural water services in Burkina Faso and Mali.

After showing the video about the SDC Trend Observatory, the workshop day ended with a market place with more than 10 posters.

May 14
Aguasan Workshop 2019 - Day 1, 13.05.2019

​The 35th AGUASAN workshop dedicated this year to the interlinkages between Human Rights to Water and Sanitation and Market Based Approaches was opened by the Steering Committee members who welcomed the 49 water and development practitioners.

The introduction round of participants showed the rich and diverse experience of participants and how they complement each other, bringing technical, technological, legal and institutional expertise at both micro, meso and macro levels.

Raphael Graser from Antenna Technologies shared the successful and inspiring business model of SPRINGHEALTH in India, a social enterprise, which delivers 120,000 l of safe water per day, through local entrepreneurs who deliver jerry cans at home.

Tatjana von Steiger, the Deputy Assistant Director General of the Global Cooperation Department at SDC highlighted the approaches applied by SDC for advancing the HRTWS and strengthened that "Systemic changes are needed, that is why we need partnerships to establish stable frameworks. Peace and access to water are both preconditions to attract impact investors. The SDG concept is there but we need pilots to fill it, that is why this workshop is relevant".

Amanda Loeffen from WaterLex focused on the two main questions: What is the Human Right to Water and Sanitation and what role do entrepreneurs play?

Valentin Post gave practical insight about WASTE, Approaches of the Dutch Development Cooperation for scaling inclusive business and showed the interlinkages between government, business, finance and communities.

The workshop also gave the voice to six innovative, promising, inspiring, courageous young entrepreneurs pitch their case.

The first day ended with the presentation of the WaterLex checklist on HRTWS for small scale water providers and the checklist for small scale sanitation.


Get all presentations here.

Mar 22
22.03.2019 - Discover key features of the RésEAU history

This year the SDC water network RésEAU celebrates its 10th anniversary. How did it really start and why? What are the key successes over the last years and challenges? We would like to invite you to a short retrospective of the history of the RésEAU.


The thematic and methodological networks were established during the reorganization of the SDC in 2009 with the idea to use the network approach to benefit from the vast knowledge of its staff and from external sources such as NGOs, scientific institutions and the private sector. Over time, a dozen thematic networks - covering all SDC thematic priorities - have been established. In addition, 5 networks of transversal significance such as gender equality, poverty, aid efficiency, etc. have been established.

The SDC water sector: pioneer in institutional knowledge management

What is less known is that the SDC water sector had already put in place a set of tools to ensure learning and knowledge sharing before the institution decided to launch the thematic networks. Since 1984, the AGUASAN Community of Practice is bringing together a wide range of specialists to promote wider and deeper understanding of key issues in the water sector in developing and transition countries. It is in one sense the pioneer to RésEAU. Since 2004, face to face events called "SDC IWRM Team Meeting" were organized regularly right after the AGUASAN workshop week. Also the publication of the "SDC Water News" did not wait for the launch of the RésEAU and started already in 2007.

Key successes and challenges

Since its launch during the SDC Water Team Day in 2009, the network's intensity has been increasing:

      • Increased members: From 34 members mostly SDC staff at its creation, the RésEAU is now counting 379 members from 66 countries and includes implementing partners. While the number of member per se is not an indication of success, the membership base is diverse and relevant for the RésEAU's objectives: SDC is represented by several divisions (Global Program Water, Cooperation with the South, Cooperation with the East and Humanitarian Assistance), SDC implementing partners, SECO staff and partners.

      • Successful development of regional networks to strengthen exchanges within regions (Latin America and Caribbean from 2008, Eastern Europe and Central Asia from 2013, Middle East and North Africa & Africa in process of being created;)

      • Intensive and enriching Global Water Team Days (9 in total);

      • Well-functioning communication and collaboration tools (41 newsletters, Shareweb, e-discussions, webinars);

      • Full-fledged Core Group, steering the RésEAU interventions.


Not very surprising, key challenges are the ones that any knowledge network are experiencing: lack of time to engage in RésEAU activities and varying commitment of members. It has also been challenging to create ownership for the RésEAU in regions were water does not make part of the country strategies.

The above graph was presented by Manual Thurnhofer (SDC) for the Water Team Days in 2012 displaying the network's intensity on a scale from 0-10 and its development over time (2004 – 2012).

Vision for the next RésEAU decade

Development interventions are highly complex. Learning from experience, successes but also failures is a key process for progress. The water sector will face important challenges in the future. The RésEAU will thus continue to have a strong importance for the SDC water sector so that the SDC water profile is strengthened, coherent and trend-setting and that SDC and partner staff apply up-to-date knowledge in their water-related work and are connected and exchange among each other.

Let's continue learning together for many more years ahead and for the improvement of our work. The RésEAU is constituted by its members. You are the RésEAU. Shape it to make it as relevant as possible for your activities!

Let use discover together the first RésEAU member's portrait of a series of 10. Thomas Zeller, co-founder of the RésEAU, is a retired Swiss Water Expert. He has stayed actively involved in the sector until today as co-chair of the Swiss Water Partnership. He shares with us why the network is important to him (link to the video).

Thank you for your collaboration and your involvement.

Hanna Capeder, RésEAU Focal Point


Nov 08
Regional Water Team Days Latin America and the Caribbean (Day 3)

Field trip – Insights into the Recycle Reduce and Reuse project in Lima

Day 3 started with a "field" trip - not really to the field as we visited two sites within the greater Lima area! The first visit was dedicated to one of the main flower market of Lima where organic waste of the market is recycled and used as compost, later sold to clients. The plant has a capacity of 2 tons of fresh material per month and helped the market to improve waste management as well as transit of traffic in front of the market. Indeed, before the installation of the plant, the road in front of the market water constantly blocked by the waste.

During the second visit, the participants got familiar with a wastewater treatment plant where wastewater is treated up to a grade where it can be used for watering a neighboring park and potentially other areas as well. The park is a beautiful recreational area for people living in the area. Before constructing the wastewater treatment plant, this place was desert: due to the dry climate in Lima there was only sand there. Now, it's a green area with a lagoon, animals, a plant greenery and an educational center.

Back at the venue the participants then shared their personal learnings from the last three days and jointly carried out an evaluation of the event. Spirits were high and participants agreed that this kind of event is worth the effort - many expressed a desire to repeat this in other occasions, maybe also in other formats.

Here on the blog we will be sharing the presentations from the last three days so that also people who did not participate can benefit from the efforts that went into the preparation of this event, so please watch this space.

The sub-ResEAU LAC comes out of this even stronger, with a vibrant community of practice and a rich body of experience, knowledge and learnings to share within and beyond the region.

Nov 08
Regional Water Team Days Latin America and the Caribbean (Day 2)

​After its second day of exchange and learning, the Sub-ResEAU LAC is coming out of this event more vibrant and active, and there are already ideas emerging on how to foster exchange and learning beyond the face-to-face event. Let’s dive together into day 2!

Morning sessions

Day 2 of was charged with highlights: entertaining presentations, intense discussions, in-depth group work, as well as informal networking. The day started with a presentation of the SABA/ASIR-SABA experience: more than 20 years of experience in Latin America presented in a condensed version. People involved in the development of the project shared their experiences on how this model has evolved and how it was possible to scaled it up at international level.

The second part of the morning was dedicated on five case studies, center piece of the event:

- The project "Mi Paramo" in Colombia

- Disater Risk Reduction and the experience of the El Niño Costero in Perú

- Circular Economy and the Reduce Reuse Recycle (RRR) project

- Integrity Management Toolbox

- Watershed management in a mining context

The presentations of these case studies will be made available here on the Shareweb shortly.

Afternoon sessions

The Governors of two regions in Peru (Ica and Huancavelica) joined the meeting and shared their personal experience about how a poor upstream region (rich in water) started collaborating with a rich downstream region lacking water, and how they both depend on this shared vision of a well-managed watershed. Even at personal level, what once was hostility and conflict has become cooperation and friendship, and the two governors are now working side by side to help replicate this model and strengthen the funding mechanism of this cooperation even stronger.

The second part of the afternoon was spent on an in-depth study of the five case studies mentioned above - each participant had the opportunity to analyse in detail how change was achieved. Discussions then evolved around the question on how innovation and change can be implemented in different contexts.

Finally, the participants got some additional information of the RRR project implemented in Lima and elsewhere which will be the site of a field visit on the third day.

It was a long an intense day, but spirits are high and discussions continued even during the informal part of the day!

Nov 07
Regional Water Team Days Latin America and the Caribbean (Day 1)
From November 5 to 7 2018 the regional Water Team Days of the Sub-ResEAU in Latin America and the Caribbean are taking place. A group of 35 people from across the region meet face-to-face in Lima in order to exchange experiences and strengthen processes of horizontal learning. The objectives of the event are:

1) Strengthen links within the Sub-ResEAU

2) Facilitate the integration of innovative aspect in the work plan of each participant

3) Strengthen collaboration between different divisions of SDC, between different projects and programs, between different countries and between ResEAU members

The following is a short overview of the activities of the first day:

- Inauguration (Ambassador of Switzerland in Peru)

- Key note on the panorama of water in Latin America, by Ex-Minister Francisco Dumler

- Panel on Water Footprint, focusing on experiences in Peru and Colombia

- Group discussions (Topics:  Social and financial inclusion, water governance, private sector/PPP, water quality, fragile states)

Here in the ResEAU blog we will be uploading some videos and additional information in order to keep the rest of the ResEAU up to date on what's happening in Lima these days. The full documentation of the event (agenda, PPT, results of discussion) will be available shortly after the event and be published under the Sub-RésEAU Lac section.

Oct 26
Stories from Bangladesh and Burkina on Global Handwashing day 2018

Global Handwashing Day celebrated on the 16th of October each year provides an opportunity to celebrate, advocate for, and raise awareness of the importance of handwashing with soap. It is a catalyst for national, local, and global action.

Let's have a look back over two events organized by SDC funded projects: the HYSAWA project and Antenna Foundation with their schools programme.

Local Governance for better WASH services in Bangladesh 

HYSAWA is currently implementing the project titled "Empowering and Decentralizing Local Government Institutions (LGI) to manage Hygiene, Sanitation and Water Supply service delivery in hard-to-reach areas of Bangladesh – 2nd phase". The overall objective of the project is to benefit the citizens of Bangladesh by improving local governance and ensuring better access to effective, accountable, inclusive and sustainable local public WASH services. The project, capitalizing on the learning from last phase, is providing support to the LGIs to operationalize applicable laws, rules and guidelines related to Public Finance Management procurement and democratic processes.

Under the three-year project, HYSAWA is installing water and sanitation infrastructure in hard to reach areas of Bangladesh, conducting hygiene promotion sessions on (i) proper hand washing technics, (ii) menstrual hygiene, (iii) latrine hygiene, (iv) garbage disposal (v) water safety plan, and (vii) food hygiene in communities and schools.

HYSAWA has carried out multidimensional activities in community level to mark the Global Handwashing Day on November 2018. In partnership with the local administration and other local NGOs, HYSAWA organized a discussion meeting and a colorful rally in Satkhira Upazila of Bangladesh. People from all walks of life including government officials, teachers, development workers, students and locals took part in the awareness raising event. Handwashing competition among different school students in Hatiya Upazila were also organized. The students who could properly wash their hands following the prescribed steps were rewarded with handwashing materials. Besides, several handwashing sessions were organized in a Union Parishad and different communities of Khulna, Satkhira and Hatiya upazilas to observe the day and raise awareness among people.

For more information visit HYSAWA

 Handwashing session at a community in Jashore, Bangladesh, HYSAWA


Healthy Water at School in Burkina Faso

Antenna Foundation develops a project called "Healthy Water at School" in Burkina, a project that is part of a global approach based on the WATA solution. WATA technology allows the local production of sodium hypochlorite for water treatment and disinfection purposes. It targets communities that lack access to a chlorine supply chain or to a drinkable water supply. The goal of the school project is to improve student health by promoting good water hygiene and hand washing.

 Antenna Foundation develops Healthy Water in School project in Burkina Faso

The schools programme aims to make pupils aware of HWT. The availability of a WATA device not only allows pupils to learn chlorine disinfection techniques; it also teaches them how to produce chlorine on site for treating the school's water supply. Antenna has built up solid experience in this area through successfully completed schools projects in Bolivia, Haiti and Kenya. Moreover, WATA technology can be smoothly integrated into ongoing or planned WASH programmes in schools around Burkina Faso.

For more information visit Antenna Foundation



1 - 10Next