IWA WATER AND DEVELOPMENT AWARDS

The Awards

The IWA Development Award recognises excellence, leadership and innovation in the water sector, and aims to encourage the continued contribution to the sustainable management of water in low- and middle-income countries. The IWA Development Award is awarded by a panel of experts, and recognises outstanding contributions to research or practice that has led to demonstrable impact in low- and middle-income countries. It is awarded every two years at the IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition. However, due to challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the IWA Development Congress & Exhibition will not be held in 2021. The current cycle of the IWA Development Award will therefore be presented to the winners in the first week December 2021.

The award is open to an individual (IWA member or non-member), or representative of an organisation active in the sector. Eligible individuals/organisations can be drawn from practice, academia/science, consultancy, equipment manufacturers, NGOs and civil society, international organizations or government.

There are two categories of the award, one for practice and one for research:

  1. The IWA Development Award for Practice celebrates outstanding accomplishments in the practice of forward-thinking applications and solutions to advance clean and safe water and sanitation in low and middle-income countries. These solutions can range from specific technologies and infrastructure to innovative approaches that improve performance, efficiency and sustainability in operations and maintenance. The award also recognises social innovation, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship.
  2. The IWA Development Award for Research recognises and promotes high-quality, impactful research. Research is the powerhouse of disruptive and breakthrough innovation. This award celebrates research that is challenging existing methods and approaches to create new opportunities in the area of sustainable water and sanitation in low- and middle-income countries. It is also open to early-stage business projects that are not yet market ready.

Process of Nomination and Selection

The call for nominations is now open through the following link: IWA WDA Call for Nominations.

1. Qualified Nominators

The right to submit a nomination for the Development Award is granted to Members of the International Water Association (IWA). The only exception is for previous Development awardees (whether IWA members or not).

Important: self-nominations will not be accepted.

2. Award Criteria

The IWA Development Award is in recognition of an outstanding innovation or contribution to science or practice which has led to demonstrable uptake/impact/influence at national, regional or international levels in low and middle income countries.

The nomination should therefore meet the following criteria:

Innovative The nomination should be creative and show that it brings unique or new solutions in the water and sanitation sector. It should feature new ideas that introduce change or improvement in existing practices.
Impactful The nomination should have demonstrable uptake, and show powerful effect and/or influence in the water and sanitation sector.
LMIC Focused The nomination should be focused explicitly on, or have clear relevance for communities in Low and Middle Income Countries (LAMIC).
Topical The nomination should relates to one or more of the following sub-topics: water supply and treatment (drinking water, wastewater), (on-site) sanitation, hygiene and health interventions, water resource management, financing, community engagement, community education, planning, capacity building, regulation/standards, institutional development operation & maintenance, management etc.

The awarding process

The International Water Association is responsible for the selection of the Development awardees. The IWA Secretariat will advertise the beginning of the award process and receive nominations. IWA will also appoint a Jury consisting of six voting members who will evaluate the received nominations. After the judging process, the jury will present a proposal for final candidates to the Governance & Nomination Committee (GNC) of the IWA Board of Directors. The GNC will audit the nomination and judging process then endorse the winners once the process is proved satisfactory.

Note: The IWA will not make the nominations public. The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as investigations and opinions related to the award.

Key dates

23 August

2021

Call for nominations opens

15 October

2021

Call for nominations close

04 October

2021

Judging process begins

17 November

2021

Winners notification

Start of December 

2021

Award ceremony

IWA is committed to recognising the special contributions and achievements of its members and water sector professionals, and the invaluable contribution they make to key innovations in water science and management.

2019 Winners

IWA Development Award: Research

This award recognises an outstanding contribution to science which has led to demonstrable impact in low and middle income countries.

Miriam Otoo’s research work in the area of resource recovery and reuse (RRR), with a focus on business models that work for low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), was considered by the Award jury as being crucial to the progress of the sector. Dr Otoo’s work goes beyond addressing the technical challenges of RRR and has influenced policy and adoption in international guidelines in LMIC.

IWA Development Award: Practice

This award recognises an outstanding contribution to best practice in water management which has led to demonstrable impact in low and middle income countries.

Sikandar Meeranaik, CEO of the Sankalpa Rural Development Society, started a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that installs rainwater harvesting recharge systems in bore wells in rural India. The low cost technology implemented in extremely vulnerable dry regions was considered to epitomise the spirit of the IWA Development Award – Practice. The business model incentivises the transfer of funds from companies to farmers, having a strong direct impact in the communities served, as well as contributing to maintenance of food production in times of drought.

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2017 Winners

IWA Development Award: Research

This award recognises an outstanding contribution to science which has led to demonstrable impact in low and middle income countries.

Barbara Evans’ research has played a key role in developing effective strategies for securing safe access to water and sanitation, with a sustained attention to poor urban and rural communities. She has been awarded the IWA Water and Development Award for Research for increasing our understanding on community-wide approaches to tackle urban and rural water and sanitation challenges.

IWA Development Award: Practice

This award recognises an outstanding contribution to best practice in water management which has led to demonstrable impact in low and middle income countries.

Marco Antonio Cevallos has shown how management vision can lead water utilities in emerging economies to deliver vastly improved services, even to the poorest in society. He is awarded the IWA Water and Development Award for Practice for instigating a new service paradigm that places greater emphasis on community engagement, resource stewardship, and investment decisions that consider the social, economic and environmental costs.

2015 Winners

IWA Development Award: Practice

Mamadou Dia has played a key role in transforming the water sector in Senegal to be a leader in Africa. Amongst his many notable achievements he was awarded the IWA Development Award for Practice for increasing access to water services, particularly amongst poor communities; improving the quality of water services; and contributing to the International Water Association’s work on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation…

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IWA Development Award: Research

Pay Drechsel was awarded the IWA Water and Development Award for Research for increasing our knowledge on low-cost safety options along the farm to fork pathway. This work directly supported the World Health Organization’s multi-barrier concept for safe wastewater irrigation. His research has played an important role in developing options for safe wastewater use in countries where treatment capacities are low and informal wastewater use is a common feature of irrigated urban and peri-urban agriculture in support of urban food security.

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