AGUASAN Workshop Series

AGUASAN is an interdisciplinary Swiss community of practice (CoP) bringing together a wide range of specialists to promote wider and deeper understanding of key issues in water and sanitation in international cooperation. Since 1984, the CoP provides an exemplary, vibrant and most pertinent multi-stakeholder platform and think-tank serving the water sector and constitutes an essential link in the thematic networking and knowledge management strategy of SDC. Besides quarterly knowledge exchange meetings, members of AGUASAN, under the lead of Skat, organize annual international AGUASAN workshops. At these know-ledge generation events, field staff, desk officers, researchers, consultants, other sector specialists and development practitioners from all over the world come together for five days to reflect collectively on a cutting edge theme and develop innovative strategies, approaches and conceptual tools of practical use.



Switzerland and selected countries abroad

Project Period:

1984-2015 and 2021-2025

Services Provided:

Capacity Building and Training

Name of Client(s)

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Name of Partner Organisation(s):

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

Name of Staff involved and functions performed:

Project Manager: Roger Schmid
Project Officers: Frank Wiederkehr, Sandra Fürst, Manuel Henseler, Elodie Feijoo, Maria Gallmann, and David Sheldon.

Description of the Project:

AGUASAN workshops foster a mutual learning experience and utilise the broad and multi-faceted know-ledge gathered by the participants. They provide a unique forum to explore, discuss and deepen new issues and trends based on high quality thematic inputs and selected topical case studies. Through this, they forge and facilitate the implementation of the Swiss response in water supply and sanitation issues in international cooperation. The year 2022 saw the 36th consecutive workshop in what has become a widely renowned and respected series of innovative events generating highly relevant sector knowledge.

AGUASAN workshops undergo an annual cycle of preparation, organisation, realisation and assessment conducted by the steering committee. Every year the team works with a facilitator to choose a “hot” topic and to carefully prepare and structure the event. Due to the purpose of the event, the preparations just defines the “playground” for the design of the workshop as a function of the topic, but not solutions or outcomes. This flexibility lays a lot of trust in the hands of the steering committee, which has to react to the process during the event and to steer it accordingly. Skat heads the steering committee and bears the overall responsibility of organising and conducting the workshop series. In order to do this, Skat:

  • Facilitates the workshop conceptualisation, development, performance and evaluation by leading the steering committee during the preparation, implementation and after-action phases;
  • Coaches the resource persons as well as the case study preparations and presentations involved;
  • Organises the workshop venue and excursion, whilst assuring all logistics;
  • Supports the workshop secretariat in-between and during the workshops;
  • Performs the reporting of the event and produces workshop proceedings as well as wider publications according to the guidance provided by the steering committee;
  • Sub-contracts, manages and evaluates the workshop moderator as well as the resource persons.

Recent topics of AGUASAN workshops include Caring and Integrated Management practices, Private Sector Participation, the Household-Centred Approach, the issues around the implications and actions needed to put human rights to water and sanitation into practice, the implementation of the SDG water goal as well as circular economy. The 36th workshop (June 2022), taking place for the first time outside of Switzerland – in Jordan, focussed on finding actionable solutions to water management challenges in the light of fragile contexts and climate change in the Middle East region.

Over its nearly four decades of existence, AGUASAN Workshops have had a high significance in the community for tackling challenges going beyond technical aspects to embrace wider sustainability issues (including social, institutional, economic, environmental, and knowledge aspects). The driving forces behind the events are carefully selected themes and the genuine workshop format allowing for direct interactions and joint developments: both made available by a committed steering committee and a qualified implementing organisation. Like this, participants learn from each other, make use of synergies, capitalise on their combined knowledge resources to jointly generate and validate new approaches and practical tools, and raise awareness of the diversity of aspects related to water and sanitation.

AGUASAN documents

AGUASAN Publications
Water Challanges beyond WASH pdf-eng-2014
Financial Sustainability of WASH Servicespdf-eng-2012
Better solutions through new ways of thinkingpdf-eng-2001
Urban Sanitation in developing countries- three conceptual toolspdf-eng-1995
Water and Sanitation Knowledge Systempdf-eng-1992
AGUASAN: Learnings from a remarkable Community of Practicepdf-eng
Voices about AGUASAN (2016)pdf-eng
Contributions of knowledge networks and CoPs to the water and sanitation sector in developing countries (2009)pdf-eng
AguaSan Workshop Reports
No.AGUASAN Workshop Reports 1984-2015
Overview Aguasan Workshop Topics 1984-2015pdf-eng
31Workshop Report 2015: Disaster Risk Reduction in WASH – Towards Resilience and Adaptive Management in the Water Sectorpdf-eng
30Workshop Report 2014: Water Challenges Beyond WASH – Bridging the Water, Food and Energy Sector Divides:pdf-eng
29Workshop Report 2013: Meeting the Challenge of WASH in Health Facilities:pdf-eng
28Workshop Report 2012: Financial Sustainability of WASH Services:pdf-eng
27Workshop Report 2011: Water and Sanitation are Human Rights – So What?pdf-eng
26Workshop Report 2010: From “Haute Cuisine” to “Good Fast Food”:pdf-eng
25Workshop Report 2009: The WatSan Contiguum:pdf-eng
24Workshop Report 2008: Community Management Enough to Sustain the MDG Efforts?pdf-eng
23Workshop Report 2007: Opportunities and Challenges for the Water and Sanitation Sector in a Decentralised Contextpdf-eng
22Workshop Report 2006: More Benefits for Households from Water and Sanitation through Intersectoral Synergies:pdf-eng
21Workshop Report 2005: Caring and Integrated Management for Sustained Water and Sanitation Servicespdf-eng
20Workshop Report 2004: Sustainable Services Without External Support – Still a Challenge!pdf-eng
19Workshop Report 2003: This Shit Drama – are there Ways Out?pdf-eng
18Workshop Report 2002: Profits for All – Service for Allpdf-eng
17Workshop Report 2001: From Sector Reform to Sector Revolution:pdf-eng
16Workshop Report 2000: HCA – the Household-Centred Approach:pdf-eng
15Workshop Report 1999: Private Sector – Just a (new) Hope?pdf-eng
14Workshop Report 1998: Technology and Balanced Development:pdf-eng
13Workshop Report 1997: Less Water for More People:pdf-eng
12Workshop Report 1996: Transfer of Ownership in Water Supply and Sanitation Systemspdf-eng
11Workshop Report 1995: Urban Sanitationpdf-eng
10Workshop Report 1994: Sustainable Water and Sanitation Projects through Fair Negotiations:pdf-de
9Workshop Report 1993: Water is Not a Free Resource (anymore) – Who Pays?pdf-de
8Workshop Report 1992: Water and Sanitation Knowledge System:pdf-de
7Workshop Report 1991: Communication in Development Cooperation:pdf-de
6Workshop Report 1990: Sustainability of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Projectspdf-de
5Workshop Report 1989: Monitoring and Evaluation in Drinking Water and Sanitation Projects.pdf-de
4Workshop Report 1988: Operation and Maintenance: Activities and goals relevant for maintaining of village supply systems and latrinespdf-de
3Workshop Report 1987: Sanitation and Healthpdf-de
2Workshop Report 1986: Participation and Animationpdf-de
0Workshop Report 1984: Appropriate Technologies in Water Supply and Sanitationpdf-de