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Lessons learnt by Concern Worldwide over 16 years of WASH programmes in North Korea

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conference contribution
posted on 12.02.2018, 15:11 by Siobhan McGrath
The aim of this paper is to document Concern Worldwide’s extensive experience over sixteen years of WASH programing in this unique context. North Korea is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a chronic deficit in development indicators, which are visible through aging infrastructure and limited resources for water, health, food and fuel. The strengths of the context include the opportunity to work closely with local authorities, and the significant contribution of beneficiaries through their labour. The challenges faced include a lack of direct access to beneficiaries and a national focus on hardware heavy projects. While programmes to date have been largely focused on hardware, there is now an opportunity to increase impact through a more holistic approach to programming. Recommendations focus on prioritising activities based on health impact, ensuring sustainability through operations, maintenance and financing, and innovation in sanitation.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

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WEDC Conference


MCGRATH, S., 2016. Lessons learnt by Concern Worldwide over 16 years of WASH programmes in North Korea. IN: Shaw, R.J. (ed). Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all: Proceedings of the 39th WEDC International Conference, Kumasi, Ghana, 11-15 July 2016, Briefing paper 2416, 6pp.


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