Home Page > Toolkit on integrating the HRWS in development practice

What is the Toolkit?


Kingshuk Chakravarty, with courtesy of Photoshare

The WaterLex Toolkit is a practical guide to the Realisation of the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation through development practice. It provides a methodology and associated tools to assist bilateral and multilateral cooperation agencies and NGOs, in the development of strategies and projects integrating human rights standards and principles.

The objectives of the Toolkit:


  • Clarifying the meaning and implications of the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation
  • Providing a methodology and tools to integrate a human rights-based approach in water and sanitation projects
  • Supporting development partners to align with States’ efforts to progressively realise the human rights to water and sanitation
  • Contributing to align aid, ensure efficiency and support efforts for the realisation of the human rights to water and sanitation

The Toolkit helps to understand the meaning of the human rights to water and sanitation and clarifies the role and responsibilities of States and development actors for its realisation. It also illustrates how to work with a human rights-based approach. It is a common framework, based on the human rights commitments of the State, that facilitates development practitioners to align with the States’ efforts. It thus promotes coherence, complementarity and cooperation to strengthen these national efforts.

The methodology of the Toolkit complements existing manuals on human rights-based programming by focusing specifically on the implementation of the human rights to water and sanitation.


Who is the Toolkit for?


The Toolkit addresses primarily WASH practitioners, including development cooperation agencies and NGOs. It is also useful for all actors working in the water and sanitation sector, including national and local government institutions.


What is the Toolkit’s approach?


  1. A Methodology for a Human Rights-Based Approach

During recent decades, many tools have been developed to strengthen project management, meet the needs of communities, achieve sustainable outputs and anticipate adverse outcomes. Project Cycle Management is the most commonly used by development partners.

The image of a « project cycle » assists practitioners in understanding how to organize their work so that it is based on real needs, is well planned, monitored and evaluated, and allows involved parties to learn from every project to improve their future work. The cycle represents a continuous process in which each stage provides the foundation for the next.

Similarly, a human rights-based approach has been developed by United Nations Agencies, and increasingly also by civil society organisations. It must ensure that development actors aim at fulfilling human rights obligations. A human rights-based approach is participatory, integrated and people-oriented and facilitates the identification of who is responsible for what in the realisation of human rights.

The Toolkit combines these two areas of expertise in order to ensure the implementation of development interventions where it is most needed. The process of carrying out the project itself should be in line with human rights principles, including non-discrimination, gender equality, active, free and meaningful participation, transparency and accountability. The process should contribute to strengthening the capacities of relevant stakeholders.

  1. A Selection of Tools and Resources

The Project Cycle Management consist of 5 steps: 1-Situation Analysis, 2-Planning, 3-Developing the budget, 4-Implementation and 5-Monitoring and Evaluation.
For each of these steps the Toolkit provides:

  • Key steps and questions to guide the practitioner in developing a country development strategy or a project, which fully integrates human rights as goals as well as guiding principles in the implementation process;
  • Data and information sources to assess the existing situation, legal and institutional frameworks, financing mechanisms and country-specific targets in water and sanitation;
  • Process support tools to provide examples of existing tools and how they can be useful to incorporate human rights into water and sanitation projects; and
  • Good practices that illustrate concrete cases of implementation of a human rights-based approach by a governmental donor agency and NGOs.

Learn more about the Human Right to Water and Sanitation Please find more information about the human right to water and sanitation and its integration in development practices here.

Interested in the Toolkit? Please contact us!