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Community Contribution

Expanding the Reach of Women + Water in India through Collaboration and Adaptation

Ella Lazarte, Saswat Rath
2022 CLA Case Competition Winner Ribbon

In 2017, USAID and Gap Inc. formed the Women + Water Global Development Alliance to improve and sustain the health and wellbeing of women and communities touched by the apparel industry in India. The Alliance empowered women to become change agents for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) management in their communities. A reflection session after the first year identified that the theory of change did not properly address WASH governance issues, affecting the Alliance’s ability to achieve its full impact.

Women + Water quickly decided to leverage new CLA approaches to resolve this development challenge by increasing external collaboration and the scale of stakeholder engagement while revisiting the theory of change. This collaborative process brought WaterAid to the conversation, along with their deep knowledge of local communities and their relative WASH infrastructure, and ultimately resulted in expanding the theory of change to include WASH governance approaches. The Alliance further adapted by expanding their consortium to include WaterAid as a full member, thereby increasing community engagement and an ability to incorporate continuous learning and rapid adaptive management through beneficiary feedback. Just one year after executing this adaptation, the number of people empowered to improve their access to drinking water and sanitation through the Alliance increased from just under 70,000 to more than 900,000 with an anticipated final reach of more than 2 million people. Beyond this development impact, the success of the CLA approaches employed had rippling effects among the Alliance and its partners, fully embedding collaborating, learning, and adapting into its organizational culture.

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