Published: Dec. 19, 2019 By
Group of people working together

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We have observed a range of approaches used to address problems of coordination and collaboration among WASH stakeholders, donors, and implementers which often differ in the intensity of collaboration. The least intensive collaborations are informative platforms that simply improve the availability of information. Slightly more intensive are consultative approaches that aim to improve information flows (processes) and reduce the duplication of effort. Next, collaborative approaches aim to improve the way that services are delivered by building consensus on the bottlenecks and challenges that affect the stakeholders. Finally, the most intensive collaborations are integrative, which aim to mobilize members for joint actions according to a shared agenda.

By grouping and comparing similar approaches, we can more easily identify trends and lessons. Ultimately, a guiding framework of the range of related approaches could help organizations select the most appropriate approaches for their context and goals.

Within this range of collaboration, “collective action” refers more narrowly to both collaborative and integrative approaches. This definition best fits the recent wave of activities that seek to bring together stakeholders around a common vision and problem to change how WASH services are delivered.

Specifically, we define a collective action approach as: A process for improving a public service in which sectoral stakeholders regularly convene and take joint actions to address shared problems, and in which:

  • problems are complex and their solutions require deliberation and action by many actors,
  • members agree on a shared vision and shared problem definition, and
  • stakeholders clarify responsibilities for service provision and hold each other accountable for actions.