Fostering learning and collaboration among BMGF WSH partners in India

2015 - 2018 • Dasra


Engaging BMGF’s WSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) partners to form a community of practice around urban sanitation in India, to help reap the benefits of collective action.


Dasra functions as the central secretariat for BMGF’s WSH India portfolio, aiming to achieve ongoing collaboration among grantees. This is done under three key pillars:

1. Creating a Community of Practice
2. Building capacity among grantee organizations
3. Amplifying work done by grantees to multiple stakeholders

Some of our key activities under each pillar include:

Creating a Community of Practice

We work to foster collaboration between BMGF WSH partners in India, thus driving outcomes within and across identified thematic areas. We strive to foster collaboration across several platforms:

• Taskforces: 4 taskforces organized by theme (technology, gender, finance, BCC) bring together practitioners to collaborate around the year on specific products, advocacy, guidelines and the like
• Annual Partners Meet: Dasra organizes the annual meet to bring together BMGF partners to learn, share and collaborate with each other
• Chorus: An online web platform that enables partners to access a online repository of knowledge and connect with each other – visit to learn more
• NFSSM Alliance: Dasra co-facilitates the Alliance, which comprises over 25 members. The Alliance’s work ranges from policy creation and reform to developing toolkits for cities to implement FSSM
• India Sanitation Coalition: Dasra plays a proactive role on the steering committee

Capacity Building

We build organizational capabilities so that WSH grantees become sustainable and scalable. This is done by training leaders of partner organizations at several programs, either directly run by Harvard Business School (HBS) or designed in partnership with HBS.

• DSI Leadership Program: A program run by Dasra for leaders of various NGOs, focusing on building leadership capacity
• Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management: An executive program by HBS focusing on dealing with change in the non-profit sector
• Strategic Nonprofit Management (India): A program jointly developed by HBS, Dasra and Ashoka University
• DSI Accelerator Program: A program targeted towards the leadership of growing organizations, and the second-line of established ones, with a focus on fundraising, communication strategies, impact assessment and strategic planning

Amplifying Work Done

We facilitate the dissemination of knowledge to other stakeholders so that the impact of WSH grantees’ work is amplified in order to gain support on: (a) improvements in public policy, guidelines and implementation (b) generating awareness about their work (c) advocacy (d) funding (e) partnerships. Key activities include:

• Developing knowledge products highlighting work done by partners (videos, case studies, reports). Our videos can be viewed here.
• Developing products on Alliances
• Human interest stories
• Spotlights (interactive infographic features)
• Events: Dasra co-convenes several key events in the sector

Countries of activity

Location of main activity



This investment aims to enable BMGF’s WSH partners to form a community of practice around urban sanitation in India, focusing on priority areas such as non-sewered sanitation and Fecal Sludge Management. This community of strong, sustainable social organizations will partner with key stakeholders to amplify the effect of its work and improve sanitation outcomes at a large-scale in India.

The key objectives, as described above, include:

1. Creating a Community of Practice:
2. Building Capacity
3. Amplifying Work Done

Further information

We are approaching the end of our initial grant period, and will kick off the second phase towards the end of 2018, aiming to build on past successes as well as begin new initiatives.


A Future Reimagined

Contact information

Abhay Rao
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Sanaya Sinha
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Filter tags

Asia & Pacific Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Capacity development Faecal sludge treatment processes Local NGO Politicians and local decision makers Practitioners Specific to one or several countries Urban (entire city)

Attached files

Short project description (May 2017)

Format: pdf file
Size: 0.5 MB



Dasra recognizes an urgent need for inspired and uncompromising competence to touch and transform the lives of 800 million Indians. Through knowledge creation, capacity building, collaboration and fundraising, we nurture powerful partnerships with funders and social enterprises to bring social change. Since 1999, Dasra has engaged with over 3,000 corporates, foundations and philanthropists and improved the life chances of over 10 million people. One of Dasra's major areas of focus is sanitation and we're creating partnerships to build a sustainable sanitation ecosystem in India.

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