Call to water services providers to support young professionals' careers

Young professionals

© 0000 Photo: World Bank / Taylor Mickal • Photo: World Bank / Taylor Mickal

Project starts: 2023
Project finished: 2023
Collaborators & Partners: Aquafed
Funder: Netherlands government through the Valuing Water Initiative

Project Description

We need to better recruit and retain young people in the water and sanitation sector

Aquafed and RWSN have carried out research to inform a project that will design Guidance for utility and service provision managers to help them create opportunities in the sector that attracts the most talented young people. The aim for the Guidance is to provide new and innovative ideas for service providers on how to manage their young workforce– ideas that are practical and easy to implement. The project is funded by the Netherlands Government as part of its Valuing Water Initiative Youth Journey.

Managers of public and private water and sanitation utilities, public water authorities and service operators in urban and rural areas in low and middle-income countries, as well as young people in the water and sanitation sector, have been asked to provide their insights into how to improve the recruitment and retention of young people in the water and sanitation sector, through a series of consultations and surveys in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

We have found a generation of young, bright, talented people with immense hunger to drive change, but they are being systemically let down. A lack of equal opportunities to enter the sector and little or no capacity to nurture young people, seriously undermines the future sustainability of water and sanitation services. At all levels, the sector is genuinely making efforts to support young people, but the research shows the talking and platitudes have to stop, and that it is time for action.

The research shows:

1. Water supply and sanitation services are at risk because providers are failing to attract and leverage the potential of young people.
2. Water supply and sanitation providers need to remove barriers to young professionals’ employment.
3. The WSS sector is not providing enough training and development opportunities for young people.
4. WSS service providers are not attracting the best young talent, and must do much more to appeal to young professionals

But there are also great examples of good practice and we have highlighted these in our briefing note.

If you would like to find out more about the Guidance, please contact and

Photo credit: World Bank / Taylor Mickal

More Information

» How to guide the careers of young people in the water and sanitation sector - briefing note

» Survey report on the recruitment and retention of young people in the WSS sector

» Survey report targeting Water Supply and Sanitation employers on their perspectives in relation to employing young people

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