Failing better in the WASH sector

Things can, and do, go wrong in water, sanitation and hygiene. In July 2018, an event at the Water Engineering Development Centre Conference in Nakuru, Kenya, “Blunders, Bloopers and Foul-ups: A WASH Game Show” inspired a call for WASH Professionals to publicly commit to sharing their failures and learning from one another. After months of iterations, including collecting feedback from the sector, we present to you:

The Nakuru Accord: failing better in the WASH sector

Transparency and accountability are necessary for achieving sustainable, positive impacts from water, sanitation and hygiene.  As a WASH professional, I believe that we can achieve this through a culture of sharing and adaptation when things go wrong. To support this, I will:

  • Promote a culture of sharing and learning that allows people to talk openly when things go wrong.
  • Be fiercely transparent and hold myself accountable for my thinking, communication and action.
  • Build flexibility into funding requests to allow for adaptation.
  • Design long-term monitoring and evaluation that allows sustainability to be assessed.
  • Design in sustainability by considering the whole life cycle.
  • Actively seek feedback from all stakeholders, particularly end-users.
  • Recognise that things go wrong, and willingly share these experiences, including information about contributing factors and possible solutions, in a productive way.
  • Critically examine available evidence, recognising that not all evidence is created equal.
  • Write and speak in plain language, especially when discussing what has gone wrong.


Please click here if you would like to sign The Nakuru Accord.


We also suggest adding to your email signature: I am a signatory to The Nakuru Accord: I believe that things can and do go wrong in WASH and I promote a culture of sharing and adaptation.

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