Lessons learned from a consortium model for rural WASH

Consortia are becoming an increasingly common model for implementing WASH programmes. The DRC WASH Consortium led by Concern Worldwide is a consortium of five international NGOs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Jean Claude Mwilambwe shows to a Concern officer his latrine with the hand-wash installation. Photo: Silvia De Faveri.
Jean Claude Mwilambwe shows to a Concern officer his latrine with the hand-wash installation. Photo: Silvia De Faveri.

This paper presents the lessons learned since the Consortium’s creation in 2013. Strengths of the consortium model include increased scale; capacity for research and learning; an innovative joint strategy to improve sustainability; a credible image in the WASH sector and a positive influence on external stakeholders; and risk-sharing.

Challenges include the continuing logistical difficulties of implementation in rural DRC; previous experience of the member NGOs more focused on emergency WASH rather than development; and the time needed to build relationships and communicate the Consortium approach. Key lessons for success are the importance of strong leadership by the Consortium Coordination Unit, and spotting ‘gaps’ in WASH sector coordination and learning to help position the Consortium at the national level.

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