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Freshwater Action Network

The Freshwater Action Network (FAN) works to improve water supply and sanitation services worldwide, and has grown from its foundation in 2000 to become the leading international voice for community-based organisations in its sector.

Both directly and through five regional consortiums in Africa, Central America, Mexico, South America and South Asia, FAN links thousands of community-based and larger local and national organisations, as well as the international non-governmental organisation, WaterAid.

One of FAN’s priority projects is to boost the capacity of small civil society organisations in the poorest countries to influence World Bank policies and investments in water and sanitation, to ensure that local knowledge and concerns are taken fully into account.

FAN and the World Bank discussed how liaison between the organisations could work, and they commissioned Public World to carry out a scoping study and identify potential candidates for pilot projects.

We brought together key World Bank officials with representatives of FAN’s regional bodies in a two-day dialogue meeting in Washington, D.C., and designed a framework for ongoing liaison, including procedural rules to maintain mutual trust. In consultation with FAN members and World Bank officials on the ground, we also identified ten potential projects through which dialogue could be developed at national and local levels.

The exercise produced a rich body of insights for all participants, and the World Bank and FAN asked us to prepare a candid commentary about the lessons.

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