International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC)

IRC is an international think-and-do tank that works with governments, NGOs, entrepreneurs and people around the world to find long-term solutions to the global crisis in water, sanitation and hygiene services. At the heart of its mission is the aim to move from short-term interventions to sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services.

With over 45 years of experience, IRC runs large-scale programmes in seven focus countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and projects in more than 25 countries. It is supported by a team of around 80 staff across the world.

We want to cultivate a new way of working: delivering sustainable services through a comprehensive approach to water and sanitation. This involves underpinning services with financial planning that takes into account both the start up and the ongoing life cycle of the service. At the heart of much of this work is the development of people’s competency and their capacity to maintain services. We encourage them to learn and continually adapt based on hard evidence of what works, not just now, but in 10, 20 and 30 years.

Our key activities

Supporting governments and WASH organisations to transform the way they work by providing coaching and consultancy.

  • bringing together all those involved – to pool resources in order to identify challenges and find solutions;
  • building people’s capacity – to plan, manage and maintain services;
  • using structured approaches to make change happen in policy and practice – locally, nationally and internationally;
  • working together, rather than competing – to make money and resources go further and have far greater impact.

Water and sanitation facilities: a service provider is needed for day-to-day administration.

In rural areas, community-based organisations have been the most common option for the management of water supply systems. Though this has led to real progress in service delivery, it has its limitations; communities frequently face problems they cannot solve on their own, problems that go beyond their technical or financial capacity. Over the last decade, much effort has gone into helping such community-based organisations to operate more professionally, for example so that they can outsource appropriate tasks to paid experts and adopt good business practices while retaining their not-for-profit status.

Where we work

IRC’s regional work is contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal targets for the WASH sector. The programme is pursued by facilitating the development of improved decentralised local water governance across the globe.

Visiting address

Bezuidenhoutseweg 2, 2594 AV The Hague, The Netherlands

Phone : +31 70 304 4000

Email :


International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) P.O. Box 82327, 2508 EH The Hague, The Netherlands

+31 70 304 4000

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