Watershed Definitions

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Advocacy for Development We define advocacy for development as a wide range of activities conducted to influence decision makers at different levels, with the overall aim of combatting the structural causes of poverty and injustice. This definition follows the widely held belief that CSO advocacy is a tool to fight the causes of poverty or injustice and influence structural change, aiming to change social, political and policy structures and to challenge power structures. This concept of advocacy goes beyond influencing policy and aims for sustainable changes in public and political contexts. This work includes awareness raising, legal actions and public education, as well as building networks, relationships and capacity. (Advocacy for Development, Margit van Wessel et. al., 2016)
Allies share or buy into, to some extent, in the ultimate goal of the programme (sustainability of WASH services) and are potential partners in the programme.
Climate resilience can be generally defined as the capacity for a socio-ecological system to: (1) absorb stresses and maintain function in the face of external stresses imposed upon it by climate change and (2) adapt, reorganize, and evolve into more desirable configurations that improve the sustainability of the system, leaving it better prepared for future climate change impacts. (Folke, 2006)
Ecosystem management is an approach to maintaining or restoring the composition, structure, function, and delivery of services of natural and modified ecosystems for the goal of achieving sustainability. It is based on an adaptive, collaboratively developed vision of desired future conditions that integrates ecological, socioeconomic, and institutional perspectives, applied within a geographic framework, and defined primarily by natural ecological boundaries. (Millennium Assessment, 2005)
Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. Provisioning services are the products obtained from ecosystems like water, food and fibres. Regulating services are the benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem processes like carbon sequestration and climate and the purification of water and air and pest and disease control. Cultural services are the nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences. Supporting ecosystem services are those services that are necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services and include services such as nutrient recycling, primary production, soil formation and forming habitats for biodiversity. (Millennium Assessment, 2005)
Impact is a change at the level of beneficiaries, end-users, communities. For example: Sustainable WASH services for all in districts x, y and z.
IWRM is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems. (Global Water Partnership)
IWRM terminology Like any other sector, water resources managers use jargon. All of the following definitions are used in the Watershed Programme Document: IWRM, Water security, Water scarcity, Water governance, Ecosystems, Climate resilience. For people not trained in water resources management, such definitions may be new, overlapping and result in misunderstanding.

In this glossary, a number of key definitions are given. Often, more than just one definition exists. The purpose of this section is meant as a primer and help us speak a single language. It is possible that other definitions may fit your work better, so you should not feel restricted to use only the following definitions. What most of the definitions have in common is that they focus on both natural and social systems, that they try manage linkages between systems and that they integrate over scales (both geographical as well as hierarchical scales).

Natural resource management refers to the management of natural resources such as land, water, soil, plants and animals, with a particular focus on how management affects the quality of life for both present and future generations (stewardship). Natural resource management deals with managing the way in which people and natural landscapes interact. It brings together land use planning, water management, biodiversity conservation, and the future sustainability of industries like agriculture, mining, tourism, fisheries and forestry. It recognises that people and their livelihoods rely on the health and productivity of our landscapes, and their actions as stewards of the land play a critical role in maintaining this health and productivity.
Outcome is a change in the behaviour, relationships, actions, activities, policies or practices of an individual, group, community, organisation or institution.1 The formulation describes which specific local stakeholder is doing what differently.

For example:

  • The CSO G4C is representing the interests of women and men citizens of district x
  • The Ministry of Water Resources is inviting CSO representatives to express their concerns
Output is the direct result of a programme activity by the country Watershed team. Normally it describes a capacity development activity we have done ourselves, not something local organisations have done.

For example:

  • Theory of Change workshop with local stakeholders facilitated
  • Connection with global WASH L&A network established
Stakeholders and partners
A stakeholder with whom we maintain an ongoing working relationship in which risks and benefits are shared, everyone contributes value (not just financial), and there is co-creation. In the Watershed Programme IRC, Akvo, Simavi and Wetlands International are partners as well as the organisations that we will engage with in a contractual relation. In addition, we may work well together with partners with whom we do not have a (financial) formal relationship.
Stakeholders are actors who have an interest, expertise or concern in WASH and IWRM. They can be government, non- government, private sector, media, traditional leadership, donors, others - at community, sub-national, national, regional and international level.
Strategy is a programme intervention, under which a number of activities are implemented. A strategy is formulated in quite general terms, what falls under the strategy is still flexible. For example: Capacity building of CSO’s for evidence-based L&A.
Targets are those stakeholders that we would like to influence to do something differently; to change their policies and practices. Some can become partners.
Theory of Change A theory of change explains why and how we think certain actions will produce desired change in a given context.

In their simplest form, Theories of change are expressed in the following form:

If we do X (action), then we will produce Y (change/shift towards peace, justice, security) Or We believe that by doing X (action) successfully, we will produce Y (movement towards a desired goal) It is often helpful and clarifying to extend the statement a bit further by adding at least some of the rationale or logic in a because phrase. This then produces the formula: If we do X..., then Y..., because Z...

Making a theory of change explicit allows us to reveal our assumptions about how change will happen, how and why our chosen strategy or programme will achieve its outcomes and desired impacts, and why it will function better than others in this context. Revealing these assumptions also helps identify gaps and unmet needs, including additional necessary activities or actors that should be engaged. We may also detect activities that are extraneous, weak or that fail to contribute to achieving the overall goal.

Source: Practical Approaches to Theories of Change in Conflict, Security & Justice Programmes, Part I: What they are, different types, how to develop and use them, Peter Woodrow with Nick Oatley, March 2013

WASH Services refers to the continued, sustainable provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services that meet national norms and standards. Moving the sector from a focus on providing only WASH infrastructure to providing WASH services is a key component of our advocacy work.
Water governance is the set of rules, practices, and processes through which decisions for the management of water resources and services are taken and implemented, and decision-makers are held accountable. (OECD, 2015)
Water Scarcity is defined as the point at which the aggregate impact of all users impinges on the supply or quality of water under prevailing institutional arrangements to the extent that the demand by all sectors, including the environment, cannot be satisfied fully. Water scarcity is a relative concept and can occur at any level of supply or demand. Scarcity may be a social construct or the consequence of altered supply patterns - stemming from climate change for example. An area is experiencing water stress when annual water supplies drop below 1,700 m3 per person. When annual water supplies drop below 1,000 m3 per person, the population faces water scarcity, and below 500 m3 absolute scarcity. (UN-Water)
Water Security is the availability of an acceptable quantity and quality of water for health, livelihoods, ecosystems and production, coupled with an acceptable level of water-related risks to people, environments and economies. (Grey and Sadoff 2007)


  1. Further on in the programme, when we monitor the actual outcomes, the outcomes can be positive or negative, intended or unintended but the connection between the initiative and the outcomes should be verifiable. This means we are highly interested to know:
    • Who did what, when and where differently?
    • How significant is this change?
    • What contribution was made by Watershed to the change?