CAWST lauded by new study

safe drinking waterA recent study conducted by students at Cranfield University, UK, indicates that the Calgary based organization, CAWST, remains a distinct actor in the international development sector. They have placed CAWST foremost among international development organizations working in the field of water and sanitation. The study “could identify no organization that fully matched the work of CAWST.”

CAWST, the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology, is a Calgary-based Canadian NGO that builds the knowledge and skills of people in the developing world to meet their own needs in having safe drinking water, basic sanitation and improved hygiene practices. Since it was formed in 2001, CAWST has worked with local organizations to reach 6 million people with improved water and sanitation.

Building people’s knowledge and skills in water and sanitation is a fundamental building block in improving the prospects of the world’s poorest people.
CAWST’s approach to building capacity by doing mentoring, partnership, training and consulting is similar to only a few other organisations

Each day more than 4100 children die unnecessarily because of water related diarrheal disease, while millions more are sick and cannot attend school or go to work. The water technologies and other solutions required to alleviate this problem have been in place in the developed world for over 100 years, but the developing world lags significantly, in large part because the human capacity to implement the simple solutions is lacking.

The Cranfield study analysed 104 organizations working to build the capacity of other organizations in water, sanitation and hygiene globally. They found that only one third of the organisations could provide information about monitoring and evaluating the results of their work.
Low-cost Sanitation Training in Nepal

They also found that “CAWST’s approach to building capacity by doing mentoring, partnership, training and consulting is similar to only a few other organisations and the focus of CAWST on water, sanitation and hygiene organisations only is unusual.” The project authors found that “the CAWST Water Expertise and Training (WET) Centre partnerships are a unique feature of CAWSTs work. The WET Centre partnerships are where local organisations enter into a partnership with CAWST to become local centers of expertise and are able to replicate CAWST’ training and education services on a local level. Some other organisations have capacity building centres as part of their work, but they do not function as independent capacity-building organisations. The combination of all these aspects is what makes CAWST distinct.

CAWST has built the capacity of implementing organizations who have reached 6 million people with better water and/or sanitation

CAWST has previously been recognized as a Canadian innovation. In 2010, it was awarded the Special Prize by SUEZ ENIRONNEMENT for its innovative model. In 2011, it was named a Top 10 Change Maker in Canada by Tides Canada, and received a non-profit Innovation award by the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations.

CAWST appreciates Cranfield’s recognition of the value of CAWST’s services and approach, and will evaluate how it can improve its services in the areas identified by Cranfield as potential gaps in service,” says Dr Tommy Ngai, CAWST’s Director of Research Learning. Chief among these, is the evaluation of the impact of the training resources which are downloaded from the CAWST website.

Cranfield graduates the highest number of engineering and technology postgraduates in the UK; more than any other UK University. Its Water Program produces highly skilled water professionals who practice globally. CAWST and Cranfield plan to continue to work together on research related to water and sanitation implementation for the poor in developing countries.

For more information on this study contact Dr Alison Parker ( or Dr Anil Graves ( at Cranfield University or Dr Tommy Ngai ( at CAWST.

To support CAWST's work, visit 
CAWST is registered in Canada as a nonprofit organisation. Charitable Registration #863751616RR0001