IRC's regional work is contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal targets for the WASH sector. The programme is pursued by advocating for, and facilitating the development of improved decentralised local water governance processes in selected countries for sustained pro-poor, demand-responsive Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) service delivery and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).
Since the inception of IRC's current Business Plan 2012-2016, Uganda and Ethiopia have been identified as Focus Countries. The programme in Uganda is led by Kampala based René van Lieshout, who also manages IRC's activities in the wider East Africa region. The Ethiopia focus country programme is being setup by John Butterworth.
The objective of the programme is to contribute substantively to the achievement of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related MDGs in Latin America, as well as more generally to the provision of sustainable WASH services to the poor and the improved management of local water resources.
The focus in the regional programme for South Asia will be on the strengthening of the south-south relations in the IRC network of existing partners. The strategy focuses primarily on improving the performance of stakeholders in the sector by the development of a platform for learning and sharing.
IRC's focus in the Southern Africa region is to strengthen intermediate levels (province, district, municipality) capacities of the various actors involved in pro-poor WASH governance taking place in a local Intergrated Water Resource Managment context.
The Southern Africa Regional Programme (SARP) consists of two main components:
- Enhancing regional knowledge networking, so as to facilitate and support organisations and networks to effectively address the key WASH issues;
- Knowledge development, innovation, documentation and sharing, mainly in South Africa and Mozambique but also in other countries in the region, on a number of prioritised thematic areas.
The West Africa programme aims to contribute to the achievement of full coverage in sustainable WASH services in West Africa through catalyzing and supporting improved local governance for WASH services and integrated water resources management through various action research programmes in its two focus countries Burkina Faso and Ghana. IRC has been working for over 20 years in the region and is also keen on sharing its philosophy, ideas and skills with partners in the region for improved local governance and sector coordination.