Our previous experiences with traditional, top-down, remotely-led funding showed that they often fail to provide lasting and transformational change. Often, solutions dictated from afar are not what is actually needed or appropriate in a given geographical, social, or economic context. To create sustainable solutions, local leaders have to want change, they need to be involved in the creation of the solutions, and they need to lead the implementations.
We want to do better, not only for our own impact, but also to build alternatives to funding “big top-down-led efforts.” In +1, we invest in proximate leaders and communities who have the local expertise and ability to create long lasting change. We hope that others will find the +1 model intriguing, efficient, and be willing to join our and other efforts to be more effective funders.
In 2021, the Roddenberry Foundation joined with Shockwave , the Sall Family Foundation , and the Vitol Foundation to create the +1:WASH fund for the development of Water Access, Sanitation, and Hygiene. We based our work on Roddenberry’s existing +1 Global Fund model to identify high-impact, locally-led organizations working in frontline communities.
The +1 model relies on trust-based networks to identify under-the-radar social entrepreneurs and innovators. Through a nomination-based framework, we are finding organizations that are not in other Western funders’ pipelines, reducing burdensome grantmaking processes, and supporting new cohorts of effective community-led WASH organizations.
To learn more about about how +1 works, check out this overview .
The +1:WASH fund consists of five consecutive rounds of funding and training.
In each round, we ask high impact social entrepreneurs and grassroots leaders within trusted networks to nominate those peers who they consider to be doing innovate, impactful work. These nominators allowed us to bypass the traditional grant application process, leading to a much lower workload for nominated organizations.
We asked our nominators:
- “Who are exceptional leaders and organizations in your network who are unsung heroes?”
- “Who provides wrap-around services that make your own organization more effective?”
- “Who can benefit from catalytic support and should be elevated to other funders?”
- “Who is doing innovative and unique locally-led work in WASH?”
Using their nominations, combined with the advice of subject matter experts, we selected the final awardees.
The most innovative feature of +1 is we then asked the awardees from the current round to become nominators for the next round of support. This allows us to dig even deeper into the ecosystem.
The awardees received both financial support, as well as an invitation to a capacity strengthening program. Nominators of awardees also received an honorarium–we believe we should pay for peoples’ time and expertise.
“The flexibility of the grant was great—we used it to support new possibilities that are emerging in our work and to fill gaps. The funds allowed us to experiment, because not everything goes as planned.” —Awardee
We invest in awardees with an eye towards capacity building, both individually and as a cohort. We partnered with the Mighty Ally Institute which helps nonprofits and social enterprises improve their brand communications. Together we provided a two month training to Awardees, consisting of a brand assessment, workshops, 1:1 coaching, and peer exchange sessions. The training focuses on theory of change, positioning strategy, messaging and storytelling, and marketing—all of which are key components of facilitating social change and attracting resources to it.
“The training program with Mighty Ally Institute has been wonderful, especially the 1:1 coaching. Our eyes were opened to the many changes we can make, which we are still discussing among ourselves. … Sometimes, you feel alone and unsure, but the Mighty Ally training helped us realize that there are others working towards the same goal.” —Awardee
You can find the organizations we’ve supported, who nominated them, and what they do in our +1:WASH awardee directory .
We’ve completed two rounds to date, and the third round is currently underway.
First Round Awardees
The inaugural cohort represented a range of countries, business models, and approaches. In our first round, we awarded grants to the following fourteen organizations:
- CARPE/EcoSattva address solid waste management, water habitat restoration, and tree planting using a systems approach.
- Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) works with government and civil society stakeholders, CONIWAS aims to influence the WASH sector and advocate for societal change with a unified voice.
- Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh (DRASA) Health Trust promotes adequate sanitation and hygiene, reduces and prevents the spread of infectious diseases, and strengthens Nigeria’s health security and emergency preparedness.
- Edsam Social Network provides training and capacity building to local communities to improve sanitation and fight diseases.
- Foundation For Mother and Child Health (FMCH) works in the urban slums of Mumbai to improve the health and nutrition outcomes of children under-five and pregnant and lactating women. WASH interventions are a key component.
- Ghana WASH Journalists Network is a coalition of media professionals who report on the state of WASH services and infrastructure to leverage responses from government, service providers, NGOs, and community leaders.
- Kandhamal Zilla Sabuja Vaidya Sangathan (KZSVS) develops rural infrastructure, optimizes water usage, improves agriculture practices and outcomes, and improves access to healthcare.
- Katosi Women Development Trust organizes women groups in fishing communities to spearhead community development initiatives, including access to clean water and adequate sanitation and hygiene.
- Kenya Water for Health Organization (KWAHO) develops water sanitation infrastructure in schools and communities, promotes hygiene, builds community and institutional capacities, influences WASH policies, and enhances the advocacy capacities of local communities, using a human-right based approach.
- Maji Safi kwa Afya Bora Ifakara (MSABI) is a business incubator for sustainable, local WASH enterprises that are capable of delivering affordable, high-quality products and solutions through a market-based approach.
- Neighbors Initiatives Alliances facilitates community empowerment among pastoral communities in Kenya through capacity strengthening, knowledge transfer, and influencing and brokering connections. NIA supports pipeline extension to water service providers, provides menstruation products, and helps communities and schools secure washing stations and soap.
- Pad-Up Creations Ltd. is a global producer of certified, washable, and reusable sanitary pads, serving girls and women in rural and low-income communities.
- Tanzania Association of Environmental Engineers (TAEE) an association of environmental engineers and representatives from business and the construction industry who facilitate community-based projects that secure water supply, sanitation, waste management, hygiene education, and climate change resilience and adaptation.
- Umande Trust facilitates community organizing within informal settlements to demand fairness, accountability, and competent WASH services.
Second Round Awardees
In our second round, we narrowed our geographic focus to Africa and awarded grants to the following fifteen organizations—six of which were nominated by awardees and nominators from the previous round.
- Alliance for WASH Advocacy (A4WA) is a coalition of NGOs and networks who work to promote WASH access and address sector challenges through consensus building, advocacy, and active participation in policy agenda setting and implementation.
- Esango Youth Group works in rural communities to protect and manage water resources, provide education and skills development to youth and women, and provide sustainable livelihoods.
- Institute of Water and Sanitation Development (IWSD) supports WASH stakeholders providing vocational and professional training, innovative solutions, and research to support decision-making and policy.
- Integrated Action for Community Development (INTAGRAD) implements programs focused on: sanitation micro-credit; water, sanitation, and hygiene service delivery; good governance; and food security and climate change adaptation.
- Kline Business International helps low income households acquire more hygienic toilets at less cost by either improving existing latrines or building new ones.
- Maji Safi Group (MSG) provides comprehensive WASH education, programming, and service delivery to rural, underserved individuals and families. MSG works across four focus areas: menstrual hygiene health, WASH in healthcare facilities, WASH education through information communication technologies, and WASH hubs.
- Network for Water and Sanitation Uganda (NETWAS-U) collaborates with partners throughout Uganda to deliver WASH services and influence local governments and organizations.
- Pit Vidura offers safe, affordable, and legal pit latrine emptying services to households in dense urban settlements.
- Susamati researches, produces, markets, and distributes sustainable sanitation solutions for low-income communities. Susamati also implements education campaigns, trains resellers on entrepreneurship and education, and maps sanitation conditions to facilitate the sanitation strategies.
- Tiyende Sanicon provides a one-stop shop for non-sewered sanitation covering the entire sanitation service delivery chain.
- Turikumwe uses an integrated approach of engaging community members, governments, and business owners to enable communities’ access to sustainable WASH services. Key programs include Water Promotion and Governance, Integrated Water Resources Management, and the Young Water Fellowship.
- WASH Alliance Kenya works with member organizations to advocate and lobby for policies that involve communities, provide safe and sufficient water, improve access to safe sanitation and hygiene, support schools in developing sustainable WASH infrastructure, facilitate WASH financing, and enhance access to menstrual health management.
- Water and Sanitation Promotion Company (WaSAP) provides WASH services in rural and peri-urban communities in Sierra Leone, including the construction of wells, latrines, hand washing facilities, and other WASH infrastructure.
- WaterKit has built a smart card technology, the WaterKit Credit Card, to collect monthly water subscription fees for local water users. Their mobile app allows water users to report water breakdowns and order water repair services, and community volunteers are trained to perform water quality testing and monitoring.
- Women in Water and Natural Resources Conservation (WWANC) trains hundreds of grassroots women as WASH champions. They also construct rainwater harvesting tanks in community facilities, build sanitation blocks in rural public schools, and promote access to safe water in health facilities for antenatal/postnatal care.
These organizations represent a wide range of approaches, including advocacy, capacity strengthening, holistic community development, and even a digital platform.
The Future of +1:WASH and +1 Global
At the conclusion of the second round, we have supported 29 organizations across 12 countries, sourced through 20 nominators, who in turn were recommended to us by 9 trusted partners.
Moving forward, we are working on implementing the remaining three rounds, refining the model round-to-round, connecting +1 awardees to enable exchange and collaboration, and promoting them to other funders who can provide additional resources. We intend to support nearly 75 organizations, financially and non-financially, by the end of the five rounds.
We invite you to learn more about these organizations and the +1 approach to funding. Currently there are +1 fund active in Food Security, in addition to WASH, and we’re looking to do more. If you have any questions or would like to go deeper, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Shockwave or Roddenberry.