RWSN is about connecting people and to do this online we use a platform called Dgroups, which is run by the non-for-profit Dgroups Foundation, based in the Netherlands. The Dgroups vision is:

A world where every person is able to contribute constructively to dialogue and decision-making for international development and social justice

A world where every person is able to contribute constructively to dialogue and decision-making for international development and social justice - See more at: http://www.dgroups.info/about-dgroups/#sthash.1vKx2owy.dpuf

Dgroups vision:

A world where every person is able to contribute constructively to dialogue and decision-making for international development and social justice

- See more at: http://www.dgroups.info/about-dgroups/#sthash.1vKx2owy.dpuf

Dgroups vision:

A world where every person is able to contribute constructively to dialogue and decision-making for international development and social justice

- See more at: http://www.dgroups.info/about-dgroups/#sthash.1vKx2owy.dpuf

Skat Foundation, on behalf of RWSN, is a member of Dgroups, which gives us a stake in how the platform is run and developed. Dgroups was chosen because it has been designed specifically for development professionals and can be used through email and through a low-bandwidth website, thus making it ideal for communicating with members who have limited internet connectivity.

Our area of Dgroups has a main community of nearly 8,000 members which we use as our membership database. It is tightly controlled and only used for sending out quarterly newsletters and major announcements.

Discussion areas have been set up around the four RWSN themes, and cross-cutting topics and special interests. We consider setting up sub-communities if there is a champion to lead and moderate the group and enough interest from members. 

How to Join

Follow the links below to go the web page for each community and to appy to join, if you are not already a member. Please note that being a member of one community (or the overall network) does not automatically give you access to the sub-communities. Please apply through the web page for each community and the moderator for that community will let you in. Some communities are more active that anothers. Some sub-communities are nested within others that are related, so you will receive emails from and can contribute to both.

E-discussions

The communities are generally there for open discussion and question and answer on the topic of that community (and are moderated to keep them on track). However, usually once a year we have a structrued e-discussion, which typically lasts four weeks and uses weekly questions and summaries to stimate debate on a particular topic. At the bottom of the page you will find links to summaries and syntheses of recent e-discussions.

These are very powerful and effective events at generating knowledge exchange across the world and building up a valuable aggregation of knowledge. In some cases they have helped drive the strategy of the network and our partners.

The RWSN Dgroups directory

Overall RWSN Community

Theme sub-communities
Topic sub-communities
Geographic/Language sub-communities

How to use Dgroups

Download our quick guide, available in [English] and [French]

Related Resources


Gender and rural water services – lessons from RWSN members Summary of RWSN E-discussion on how women’s engagement in Water User Committees impact on its performance and system functionality (2016) and RWSN Webinars: Making Water Work for Women, Sharing Inspiring Experiences (May 2017)

Gender relations are critical to nearly every aspect of rural water supply, but rarely addressed in practice by rural water professionals. All water supply programmes affect men and women in different ways, and while practitioners assume their work will benefit women, how do they know whether it will or not, how do they know what impact it will have?

In 2016 RWSN’s Mapping and Monitoring Theme members had an impromptu and rich e-discussion on gender equality and WASH. In early 2017, RWSN’s Equality, Non Discrimination and Inclusion (ENDI) Theme launched a call to their members for examples of inspiring experiences of ‘Making Water Work for Women’. Both discussions have been rich with experiences from across Asia, Africa and Latin America, and reinforcing of each other. We have put together a short brief highlighting the key points from these discussions:

- The nature of female participation within water committees should be discussed in terms of quality as well as quantity. If women’s roles do not offer any opportunity to influence committee decisions and outcomes, their participation is largely tokenistic. Qualitative indicators can help to show whether women’s participation is tokenistic, or active and meaningful.
- High-level government commitment to minimum quotas for women’s participation was seen as a crucial prerequisite to creating the space for the inclusion of women and the ability to demand it.
- Where women were more influential on Water User Committees, it was strongly attributed to the special efforts of implementing organisations who worked on mobilising women and increasing their confidence and awareness about the work involved, and sensitising men equally to create space for women’s involvement in the committees, as the example in India shows.
- By working closely with women and men together it is possible to challenge gender norms amongst women and men in rural communities, so that they begin to share unpaid work associated with WASH more equally, as the example in Ethiopia shows.
- Identifying the agents of change (women and men) from the community who are motivated and determined to advocate for water and sanitation can nurture lifelong advocates, as illustrated by the experience from Bangladesh.
- Disaggregating monitoring indices by gender can help to raise gender equality as a priority, and set specific expectations about the participation of women in different aspects of service provision.
- Conflict-sensitive approaches to water and sanitation can help to facilitate peace building by creating a platform for women around a common need, as in the example from India. | »

Community management of water points: more problem than solution? RWSN Dgroups discussion synthesis

This note summarizes some of the broad points of a June 2017 RWSN blog written by Dr Ellie Chowns on communitybased management (CBM) and the ensuing discussion on the RWSN Sustainable Services DGroup, to which many RWSN members contributed .

CBM is the prevalent management model for rural water supply. So what are the issues?
• Lack of accountability: Community management enables government officials and donors alike to abdicate responsibility for ensuring long-term sustainable water services.
• Inefficiency and lack of sustainability: Preventive maintenance is almost never done, repairs are often slow and sub-standard, and committees are unable to collect and save funds.
• Disempowerment: CBM reinforces existing community power relations, thereby breeding conflict rather than strengthening social capital.
• Lack of scalability and dependence on external support: The CBM model has never reliably worked at any scale but is continued due to a lack of viable, or proven alternative. One can always find 'successful' case studies of where it has worked fantastically well – but these tend to be isolated systems, reliant on constant | »

Local Government and Rural Water Services that last: a way forward Rural Water Supply Reality Check

This paper is a synthesis of the major themes discussed during the local government e-discussion held during May 2015, which included 75 contributions from 58 people presenting experiences in English, French and Spanish and cases from 43 different countries from across the globe. Each week focused on a specific theme. Dedicated week facilitators introduced the theme in the beginning of the week, led the discussion during the week and summarised the main discussion points at the end of the week. The paper highlights the discussed role local government can and does play in ensuring sustainable water service provision, the challenges that local government is facing in fulfilling these roles and responsibilities, and the opportunities for overcoming these challenges. | »

Reducing Inequalities in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) A synthesis of experiences and lessons discussed in the RWSN Equality, Non-discrimination and Inclusion (ENDI) Group 2015

Between October and November 2015 the Rural Water Supply Network’s Equality, Non-discrimination and Inclusion (ENDI) theme enjoyed lively e-discussions on Reducing Inequalities in WASH. This covered practical approaches to improve participation of everyone; inclusive infrastructure designs and information, guidance and support that exist on these. Two webinars were held on these topics, with presentations from World Vision, Messiah College, WaterAid, FCG International, and the University of Technology – Sydney . Disability, gender, menstrual hygiene management, rights to water and sanitation and school WASH from Mali, Niger, Tanzania, Nepal, Ghana, Timor-Leste and Vietnam were covered. During the e-discussions independent consultants and staff from the Church of Uganda, TEDDO, WaterAid, WEDC, Mzuzu University, the Honduran Association of Management Boards of Water Systems, Concern Worldwide, Auguaconsult, the University of Denver, the World Bank, Amref Health, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Messiah College and World Vision shared experiences. These were drawn from their or their organisation’s work in Uganda, Vietnam, Mali, Madagascar, Zambia, Nepal, Chad, Timor Leste, Tanzania, Niger, Honduras and Pakistan. Throughout the e-discussions and webinars the primary scope was rural water supply, but sanitation and hygiene were considered when relevant.

This report synthesises the online discussions, draws on relevant content from the webinars and highlights experiences and lessons learnt. It is not an extensive literature review, but does draw on existing literature beyond what was discussed during the e-discussions. | »

Short Summary on RWSN & World Vision Webinar series on Self-supply February & March 2015

This short summary highlights some of the issues that emerged from the presentations and discussions. | »

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