Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

WASH Advocacy Challenge

In collaboration with WASH Advocates and the Fundación Avina, FAN Global was running the WASH Advocacy Challenge until Sep 2013. The WASH Advocacy Challenge Fund is a small grants programme which aims to improve water and sanitation policy by providing direct support to grassroots organizations to hold service providers to account in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Why support local advocacy?


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Weak, fragile or poorly governed states are not always willing or able to take on their responsibilities of providing basic services. In developing countries, they typically have limited capacity and resources to fulfill all their obligations as enshrined in international law.


Too often budgets for water and sanitation exist but remain unspent. Too often water and sanitation policies are not suited to the local context or do not exist at all. Civil society groups can play a crucial role in tackling this by holding their service providers to account to ensure budgets are spent and policies exist and are fit for purpose. Furthermore, by giving evidence of what works on the ground, civil society can bring the needs of poor and marginalized to the fore. Holding those who should be providing services to account reduces reliance on outside actors such as NGOs to support greater long-term sustainability.


The WASH Advocacy Challenge is playing a crucial role in enabling civil society organisations to demand accountability by funding self-empowered communities and networks to influence political leaders who create the policies, laws, regulations and budgets regarding WASH in their countries and communities.

The grantees

Nine organisations in Africa, Asia an Latin America were successful in securing grants for a wide range of activities. From supporting local and national level advocacy and campaigns to supporting poor and marginalized communities and their civil society networks to meet and influence their decision makers and catalyze change by strengthening political will – country by country – for safe, affordable and sustainable access to WASH. 


To replace out more about each project, click on the following links or scroll down:

South Asia

Jal Sanjaal / FAN Nepal

Jal Sanjaal is a network of civil society organizations working on WASH in Nepal. As part of the WASH Advocacy Challenge, the organisation will suppport a newly formed women’s organization called Maitree to strengthen its work by broadening its membership base, developing an effective advocacy strategy and strengthening its communications.


It will facilitate a positive dialogue between women, who are particularly affected by poor access to water and sanitation provision, and decision makers to raise awareness of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues and existing legal frameworks for WASH service delivery.


Integrated Regional Support Programme – IRSP

IRSP works on sustainable development in Pakistan through an integrated development approach. IRSP's WASH advocacy project will improve the capacity and knowledge of civil society organizations and relevant Pakistani government functions to work together to address WASH service delivery challenges and improve WASH policies in two provinces of Pakistan.


Social accountability tools such as community score cards or budget tracking mechanisms will be used to facilitate dialogue between these stakeholders, increase accountability as well as citizens’ participation in decision making and performance monitoring. This increased awareness of the context within which WASH services are delivered will allow these organizations to better influence local service delivery and policy to improve access.


FANSA Regional Secretariat

FANSA is a regional network of over 400 civil society organizations working on WASH issues in South Asia. This network of over 400 organisations has played a key role in influencing past SACOSAN (South Asian Conference on Sanitation) conferences.


SACOSAN brings together South Asian governments every two years to accelerate progress on sanitation and hygiene promotion in South Asia through the development of regional agendas on sanitation, learning from relevant experiences and set actions for future actions. FANSA has played a key role in bringing in the voice of civil society, particularly raising the concerns of poor and marginalized groups, to influence the outcomes of this conference. FANSA's project will provide support to the network and its members to prepare for and participate in SACOSAN V in October 2013.




CONIWAS is a network of Ghanaian civil society organizations aiming to positively influence WASH policy and advocate for increased access to WASH services. The network is working with community groups in selected slums in Accra to build their capacity to engage local authorities and services providers for improved WASH services. Through targeted community meetings and trainings on policy frameworks and decision making processes on WASH within the Accra metropolitan area, CONIWAS will strengthen local capacity to influence decision makers, plans and budgets and improve service provision within their communities.


Tanzania Water and Sanitation Network (TAWASNET)

The Tanzania Water and Sanitation Network (TAWASNET) is a network of civil society organizations working to improve access to  safe  water and  improved sanitation through capacity strengthening, increased coordination as well as effective collaboration and networking between civil society organizations and other stakeholders.

TAWASNET's project aims to undertake relevant policy analysis and research to generate information and evidence to strengthen the network's advocacy work. This research will focus on equity issues, the use of water mapping data in local government planning and budgeting processes and the generation of case studies documenting good practice on effective pro-poor service delivery. This information will be used to engage and influence decision makers and WASH service delivery stakeholders to improve the framework for WASH services in targeted local government. To improve the interaction between local government and communities, the project will also develop and disseminate key messages on WASH policy making processes by sensitising selected media outlets and developing awareness raising materials.


Latin America

Alianza de Derecho Ambiental y Agua (ADA)

The Alianza de Derecho Ambiental y Agua (ADA) is an alliance working on raising awareness of environmental and rights issues in Guatamala. ADA's project aims to improve the dialogue between decision makers and community stakeholders on WASH service delivery by strengthening the Guatemalan Platform for Water Governance (GIGA) of which it is a member. GIGA brings together key water organisations to coordinate positioning on WASH issues.


ADA will convene multi-stakeholder dialogues in five targeted departments. These dialogues will bring together departmental government structures responsible for WASH service delivery planning and implementation, community representatives, women’s groups and relevant civil society organisations. Taking the human right to water and sanitation as an entry point, the discussions will explore relevant policies and frameworks on WASH and will culminate in a national event bringing together representatives from the eight regions of Guatemala to agree a declaration on the human right to water and sanitation for the attention of regional governments and the ministry of public health. In order to raise awareness of the right to water and sanitation and other relevant rights and duties of citizens, specific materials will be produced and disseminated to suit the needs of the different cultural groups in Guatemala.


Freshwater Action Network – Mexico

FAN Mexico is a network of civil society organisations which promotes the capacity building of local organizations through facilitating the exchange of experiences and information sharing on appropriate technologies and good practice.


The legal and institutional framework for the right to water has evolved rapidly in Mexico over the past few years with the establishment of a National Water Law in parallel with new citizen participation and consultation mechanisms allowing citizens to present law projects directly to Congress. FAN Mexico has played a key role in the coordination of civil society to participate in the establishment of the water law and for its WASH advocacy project, it aims to consolidate these successes by sensitising selected local government authorities on the new legal frameworks for universal access to WASH services, models of joint management of water resources with communities and share citizens’ views on the current legal frameworks and how these impact the work of local government authorities.


A series of training of trainers workshops will also be run to raise awareness of the new legal framework, opportunities for citizen engagement and practical ways to influence relevant decision makers. These trainings will target selected community leaders and civil society organisations working with poor and marginalised communities. Finally, the project will include a direct advocacy component focusing on parliament and the commission on water and sanitation to raise awareness of necessary legal changes and the key factors in achieving universal access to WASH.


Red de Organizaciones Comunitarias Sociales y Comunitarias de Agua del Ecuador (ROSGAE)

ROSGAE is a network of organisations working on the provision of WASH services at community level. This project aims to strengthen the advocacy capacities of ROSGAE and its member organisations to increase access to quality and sustainable WASH services in selected rural areas. To achieve this, this project tackles the complex legal and institutional frameworks regulating access to WASH services in Ecuador with a particular focus on the ongoing consultation by the national assembly on a planned law for water resource management. This project also aims to strengthen ROSGAE as a network, through legal registration and membership strengthening.

A series of regional consultations will allow ROSGAE to consolidate a common position on community water resource management options to influence policy makers. The project includes a series of discussions with relevant decision making bodies around the planned water resource management law. A series of regional workshops will provide opportunities for ROSGAE members to build their capacity to influence. Materials will be developed to disseminate the learning from the project and to communicate the network’s position on the planned water management law.


Asociación Nacional para la Defensa, Desarrollo y Distribución Ecológica del Agua a Nivel Rural (ANDAR)

The National Association for the Defence, Development and Ecological Distribution of Water in Rural Environments (ANDAR) aims to influence the policies and budgets of the Salvadorian national and local government to support rural water management systems.


ANDAR's project will influence the national water law to recognise the role of rural water systems and management structures. To achieve this, the project will strengthen the capacity of community leaders and rural water management structures on advocacy as well as provide them with an in-depth understanding of the legal and institutional frameworks for water management in El Salvador. Exchange visits between different rural water management structures will be organised. The project will also support dialogues between these stakeholders and local government. Relevant national stakeholders will also be brought together to consider ANDAR's position on the new water law.