The Accord Principles of Excellence in WASH express a commitment to implementing WASH services in a way that is distinctly informed by the Principles of Excellence in Integral Mission


Download the PDF to learn how the Principles were developed and are commonly applied.

1. We aim for long-term WASH services that deliver lasting benefits to all

Understanding the intrinsic value of each man, woman, and child as a being created in God’s image, we work to serve all people—regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or creed. Whole systems of individual, spiritual, structural, and relational barriers can keep communities trapped in poverty and disease. We seek to help communities address these barriers as they confront challenges in water, sanitation, and hygiene. Rather than focusing on one-off activities, we strive for WASH as lasting services—planning for quantity, quality, accessibility, and reliability. In order for WASH services to deliver lasting benefits, we must use techniques and technologies that are culturally relevant, transferable, and demonstrate care for the environment.

2. We nurture local ownership

WASH services should build on the good gifts that God has already placed within each community, and be driven by community demand. We will ensure that community members and local service providers are active in the planning and management of WASH services, and in defining “success.” Formal community leaders have a central role, particularly in the long-term management of WASH services, but we must also take special care to include end users at all levels—particularly the very poor and socially marginalized. We should cultivate mutual accountability and transparency across all users as they develop plans for the ongoing management of WASH services.

3. We coordinate with partners

The long-term success of WASH services requires that we accept and honor the distinct roles of community members, implementing agencies, government agencies, donors, local churches, and others—collaboratively evaluating and articulating the commitments and expectations of all partners. We should support local partners and service providers in creating an environment that enables each community to operate and maintain their WASH services long-term (e.g. sources of replacement parts, curriculum, maintenance capability, supplier network, etc.), working in harmony with national policies and priorities. We seek to build the capacity of all stakeholders as we enter as guests, co-labor as partners, and continue as friends.

Believing that local churches are central to the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual development of communities, we seek to engage congregations through meaningful roles in the delivery of WASH services. Where there is no church, we will work to represent the global church in a faithful manner in bringing salt and light in the community.

4. We cultivate local financial sustainability

WASH services cost money to set up, but they also require ongoing funds for operation and maintenance, management support, and eventual replacement of water and sanitation infrastructure. In order to demonstrate good stewardship of God’s resources and enable lasting impact, we commit to supporting financial plans that account for full life-cycle costs of community WASH services. Recurring costs can often be fully covered through realistic, affordable, and self-sustaining contributions from local users, but we also recognize that implementing agencies, institutions, or government agencies may bear a legitimate share of certain costs. In all cases, we cultivate an environment of transparency and accountability that ensures financial resources are utilized for their intended purposes.

5. We are thoughtful in our response to disasters

War, famine, natural disasters, and disease are devastating consequences of living in a fallen world. When disasters occur, we aim to expediently prevent disease and death by serving vulnerable people in their urgent needs for water, sanitation, and hygiene in ways that uphold human dignity and bring glory to God. With integrity and an eye toward long-term development, we commit to planning for the transition of WASH services from relief to recovery. We take a comprehensive and integrated approach to disasters and vulnerability, addressing disaster risk reduction, response, and advocacy. We work in harmony with other organizations, coordinating bodies, host nation agencies, and in line with sector standards and approaches (e.g., HAP & Sphere standards and UN Clusters).

6. We are committed to constant learning and improvement

Without careful surveillance and continual improvement, our efforts will not result in lasting WASH service delivery and might even cause more harm than good. In light of this, we commit to supporting local communities, churches, and other authorities in measuring all that matters by establishing clear and achievable plans for monitoring services and systems for their intended life-cycles—which are often 10 years or more. In addition to measuring the outputs and outcomes of our own work, we systematically and regularly assess the ongoing impact of WASH services. We share what we learn in order to improve our approaches and to build accountability with one another, end users, and funders.