Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

What we do

FAN works to improve water policy and practice by strengthening local voices in decision-making.

Some of our key activities include:

  • Influencing at global level
  • Grassroots mobilization
  • Developing members' capacity to influence
  • Exchanging skills

Check out our current projects

A network of change-makers

A strong and vibrant civil society will transform the way in which water is managed, accessed and respected. Our members are the local implementers of policies and programmes working in challenging situations, such as urban slums and degraded environments, with weak governance and inadequate legal or regulatory frameworks.

We are seeking innovative methods to improve the delivery of water and sanitation services for all and for effective water management.


Positive change is possible through communication, partnerships and cooperation. Freshwater Action Network capitalizes on the creativity, drive and initiative of our membership to further our mission.


Since 2001, we have been building national, regional and global alliances which are now gaining institutional strength. We have evolved into a consortium of CSO networks with focal points in Africa, South Asia, Mexico, Central and South America.

We amplify the diverse voices of our membership, identify the channels through which our experiences can be shared and offer a means to unlock our potential to influence, lead, and advocate.  

A link between local and global

Global change must respond to local voices. Communities can use their experiences to influence policy.


Whether at the UN, the World Bank or a local municipality, we aim to ensure that debates are informed by and accountable to the practical reality of what works for people on the ground. Understanding how water can be managed within the unique contexts in which people live is critical if we are to seriously address the global water crisis.This is a two-way process.


For local change to take place, an understanding of the global agenda is needed. FAN shares key information with members working at the local level to enable civil society to monitor and analyze national progress against international commitments and best practice. We build the capacity of our members to understand the relevant policy debates and systems so they can engage strategically with the sector.

A platform for dialogue and influence

Providing spaces for meaningful engagement between civil society and governments can help to generate political will.

FAN actively identifies opportunities for members to access policy makers at the national, regional and global levels. Our members are equipped with years of local experience and many are strong and articulate advocates.


We work to ensure that during discussions that affect grassroots water users, the right people are in the room to present their experiences and share knowledge of how progress can be made.


We lobby for our members to be invited to key meetings and conferences and facilitate their participation. FAN works to increase the number of NGO advocates equipped with the skills and tools to communicate clearly on water policy issues.

FAN seeks representation, accountability and transparency at all levels. To facilitate this, we ensure that FAN delegations represent a diverse range of interests from organizations with a variety of perspectives and strengths. 

A forum for sharing learning and experiences

FAN members have valuable lessons to share. We facilitate a continuous process of knowledge, experience and information transfer throughout our global network via our website, newsletters, eBulletins, listserves and face-to-face meetings. This strengthens the skills and know-how of our members and builds capacity to communicate clearly on water policy issues and to promote the right to water and sanitation.


At international conferences the learning potential is high as members get the opportunity for south south learning and forging relationships with other organisations working on similar issues.