About us

BPD (Building Partnerships for Development in Water and Sanitation) is a non-profit charity that improves the provision of water and sanitation services in unserved and poorly served communities by ensuring that partnerships are effective and appropriately ambitious.


Vision | missionwhat we dowhy partnerships?
approach | impact | reputation | what people say



To see unserved and poorly served communities sustainably accessing safe water and sanitation service delivery as a result of effective stakeholder relationships managing water and resource allocations.


BPD improves safe water and sanitation service delivery in unserved and poorly served communities by reinforcing partnership approaches among users, providers and policymakers and linking upstream use with downstream need. Through all its activities, BPD fosters and facilitates learning to increase sector effectiveness and cross-sector solutions.

What we do

BPD’s many years of experience researching and working with partnerships in the water sector have shown that they often fail to reach their potential, are difficult to maintain, or even break down. Since 1998, BPD has provided guidance in the design, maintenance and assessment of multi-stakeholder water and sanitation partnerships through three key interrelated activities:



More about BPD activities | why partnerships? | approach | impact | reputation | what people say

Why partnerships?

BPD’s own experience has shown that the challenges of water and sanitation delivery in developing countries are not always technical or financial, but more often revolve around complex institutional relationships between stakeholders. Genuine partnerships are therefore necessary in the water and sanitation sectors. This is because:   

  • No single organisation has control over all the economic, environmental, technical and social factors that affect demand for and supply of water and sanitation services
  • Organisations may lack sufficient skills, resources and/ or authority and benefit from pooling these and sharing risk
  • Sustainably scaling up services requires a range of stakeholders, including from outside the sector
  • A complex web of relationships and interests can lead to overlap, incoherence and a lack of accountability


Partnerships provide a means of reaching out to poor communities and ensuring environmental sustainability, particularly when individual service providers are not incentivised to do this alone. 


Our approach

BPD is the only non-profit organisation solely specialising in improving relationships between partners in the water and sanitation sectors. We are known for developing neutral and objective cutting edge thinking and offering innovative ‘out of the box’ solutions to partnership and institutional issues. BPD has been described as an ‘ideas factory’, ‘dynamic thought leader’ and ‘trend spotter’.


In addition to working with more than 50 partnerships to date, BPD has supported hundreds of individuals and organisations to work more effectively through our capacity building work. This is weaved through each of our three core activities and extends widely as participants are encouraged to share their learning with others. Our open access document library stocks over 150 widely referenced publications.


As a small team, BPD has the flexibility to be creative and responsive to sector needs. With our low proportion of overheads to programme costs, BPD provides excellent value for money.


BPD promotes approaches to water and sanitation service delivery that are economically, environmentally, socially and technically viable. By encouraging more robust planning and more open
communications, we help partnerships create more sustainable service delivery models.

Core activities | publications | training  


Our impact  

BPD challenges the sector at all levels through our work with governments, large institutional donors and water users, service providers, NGOs, leading research institutes, professional and advocacy organisations. By shifting the way the sector thinks about partnerships, BPD encourages the incorporation of good governance, accountability and transparency into better policy and practice aimed at more effectively meeting the needs of unserved and poorly served households.


A solid reputation

BPD’s knowledgeable and respected team has many years’ experience working on water and sanitation partnerships. Due to the wide range of practitioners and policymakers with whom the team interacts, BPD brings an in-depth insight into the sector with a valuable understanding of both the technical (‘hardware’) and social (‘software’) issues. Our Board of Directors also directly contributes a wealth of experience and influence. After more than a decade working with key sector actors, BPD is known and trusted internationally in the water and sanitation sector. Our wide-ranging and in-depth experience enables us to speak with authority.

Staff | Board of Directors | example projects | previous donors and clients