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wassan-Organisation Design

Functional Arrangements

Co Construction of WASSAN:

Given the achievements of past and future challenges in development sector, WASSAN team embarked a process of “co-construction” of WASSAN, with the mandate from Board of Trustees of WASSAN. The initial discussions were held during Dec 2011 and the year 2012 was largely spent on “diagnosis, reflections and thinking together” related actions. Shri GanganSethi facilitated this process. By Dec 2012, the team could arrive at broad contours of the institutional arrangements and design. The main purpose of this exercise was to consolidate earlier achievements and prepare WASSAN for future challenges. The new design helps the team to explore newer opportunities and develop into a credible and capable resource organization.    

Three Nodes and Strategic Leadership Team:

As part of co-construction of WASSAN institutional space, three nodes are identified – node for change; node for knowledge and node of HID (human & institution development). These three nodes are inter-dependent and support the process of evolving enabling strategies, systems, processes, and policies of the organization. Each node would have several sub-nodes, where the functions of WASSAN would be located. Each node would be led by a team of two members - Chief Operating Officer and Associate Chief Operating Officer. A team consisting of all the Chief Operating Officers and Associate Chief Operating Officers of all nodes is called –“Strategic Leadership Team” (SLT). This team is headed by Executive Secretary of the organization.

The strategic leadership team (SLT) provides leadership to the processes related to operationalizing the decisions taken during the co-construction process of WASSAN and take the agenda forward. Intense efforts were made during the initial phases of this process to stabilize the institutional processes, systems and protocols. The terms of reference of each node and functionaries are mentioned here. These are collectively developed and refined during the meetings held from 11th to 15th Dec 2012.


Node of Change- NoC:

Node of Change focuses on creating new and relevant models of development that supportthe process of creating new public policies and programs.


  • Creating evidences of change for improving quality of mainstream large scale programmes
  • Providing leadership role in the natural resource management and rain-fed agriculture sector by facilitating partnerships at all levels and convergence with relevant initiatives 
  • Improving quality of mainstream large scale programmes
  • Facilitating partnerships at all levels and convergence with relevant initiatives 

Role and Core Mandate

  • It animates, directs, elaborates, delivers large scale development programs through implementation; piloting and action research
  • “Tangible gains to poor and empowerment of the poor”
  • Creates new models with evidence of change
  • Therefore contributing to new knowledge

Nature and Projects under each Sub Node

The agenda under this node is organized into three sub-nodes.


Foot on Ground:
  • This sub-node offers an experimental ground for WASSAN and helps creating new models of development, through a variety of innovative pilots.
  • Under this sub node WASSAN team directly takes the responsibility of “implementing” innovative development projects through partnerships with government departments and community based organizations. These engagements focus on watershed management projects, WASH, livelihoods and a variety of natural resource management projects/ rain-fed agriculture systems.  
Project Delivery
  • This sub node provides support services to large-scale development projects in the arenas of watersheds, natural resource management and rain-fed agriculture.
  • Projects can be multi-locational
  • Project guidelines and roles of WASSAN are well-defined and pre-determined.
Cutting Edge
  • This sub node focuses on creating new models of development and architecture of publicinvestment projects. As part of this sub-node, WASSAN intends to demonstrate new ways of developing seed security, groundwater management and livestock production systems.
  • The efforts under this sub node focused on creating national level networks on a variety of themes such as “revitalizations of rain-fed agriculture”. 
  • These are larger programs implemented through partnerships with government departments and field organizations.These programs are generally designed and coordinated by WASSAN and there could be several other partners in such projects.  WASSAN may also take responsibilities of implementing these projects on a scale.


Node of KnowledgeNoK:

Node of Knowledge focuses on processing experiences and converting them into relevant knowledge products.


Creating enabling policy and programmatic environment for community centric development processes by
  • Building capacities of partners
  • Supporting the process of up-scaling and mainstreaming good practices
  • Networking for creating of new public policies and programs.

Roles and Core Mandate:

  • It providesknowledge management services and policy engagement that contributes to core mandate of WASSAN.
  • Knowledge management: Generation, pooling, up-dating, processing and dissemination of knowledgefor the state, market and civil society so as to provide viable alternatives and choices and building capacities
  • Policy Engagement: Establishing linkages with various stakeholders (within/outside WASSAN) and engagewith policy formulation processes.


Nature and Projects under each Sub Node

The agenda under this node is divided into four sub nodes.

Thematic Resource Centers
  • This sub node focuses on selected themes such as groundwater; fisheries and entitlements (land, employment, livelihoods).  These thematic resource centers provide knowledge inputs to partners (including government agencies) and demonstrate innovative approaches on the ground. The functions of this sub-node are common to both Node of Change and Node of Knowledge. 
  • Strengthens theme specific policy advocacy and capacities of public and community systems
  • Facilitates the process of evolving large scale programs (design, policy, program and finances) for realizing the potential of identified theme.
  • Offers coordination; planning and review support to steer program/ projects on each of these themes
  • Co-ordinates with field level action within other sub-nodes of WASSAN and within partners under these themes to create evidences for policy advocacy
  • Builds knowledge and orientation of concerned actors in the sector by taking up specific studies/ advocacy events.


Designing and Strengthening Support Systems:
  • This sub node focuses on large scale development programs such as IWMP, NREGS, RKVY, etc by designing and strengthening support systems for them
  • Provides planning, monitoring, learning and evaluation support services and strengthening systems.
  • Establish state/ district level secretariats and project management units for providing regular support to state and district level teams. 


Knowledge Management and Media Engagement:
  • This sub node focuses on processing and production of knowledge products from WASSAN’s own experiences and its partner’s experiences (capturing the knowledge/ experiences and convert the knowledge into communication products)
  • Designs and operationalizes appropriate communication strategies for
    • Creating/ reinforcing positive image of community based development processes (facilitated by CSOs) in media and society.
    • For perspective building and practical action by communities and facilitators.
  • Support other organizations in developing media and web management related efforts.
Training and Capacity Development:
  • This sub node provides capacity building support services such as training, exposure visits and workshops.
  • Strengthens institutional arrangements, policy support and delivery systems for a variety of capacity building services of large scale development projects such as IWMP, MGNREGS, etc. 
  • Collaborates with a variety of like-minded partners and establish consortia of resource organizations/ persons.
  • Strengthens participatory training methodologies; resource material/ persons/ modules.
  • Enhances the quality of the mainstream programmes by providing relevant capacity building services.


Action Research, Policy Advocacy and Networking:
  • The agenda of this sub node is common to all node/ sub nodes of WASSAN. This sub node concentrates on networking, action research and policy advocacy. This sub-node benefits from the experiences of the organizations/ other partners in this effort.    
  • Facilitates the process of evolving evidence based policies and programs for strengthening participatory natural resource management projects in the country.
  • Participates in various committees/ working groups/ workshops/ studies for sharing thoughts and contributing to the policy change processes.
  • Undertakes independent/collaborative research, studies.
  • Organizes of annual network meetings.


Node of Human & Institution Development:

NoHID focuses on establishing effective and efficient institutional processes and systems within WASSAN.


Creating and facilitating an enabling environment for the programmes, projects and people of WASSAN vis., resources, systems, policies and procedures.   

Roles and Core Mandate:

  • Create an enabling, effective and efficient operating system (Human, Financial and Time Management)
  • Oversee overall administration of organization- finances; accounts; general administration and legal compliances.
  • Setting priorities for actions for intra-team functions.


Human Resources & Organization Development (HR & OD)

  • Review, develop and operationalize various policies such as Human Resource Development Policy; Gender Integration Policy; Wage Policy; Financial Manual, etc.
  • Developing and implementing capacity building plans for the staff.
  • Ensuring enabling environment in the organization and promote effective and efficient use of resources (human, financial, infrastructure and time).
  • Assessing the human resource needs and deployment of teams to different projects and initiatives (Recruitments; ToRs; Renewals; Induction, etc).
  • Developing and operationalizing performance assessment system.



  • Take care of day to day administration.
  • Coordinating with field centres on Administration related functions.
  • Ensuring the implementation of protocols and procedures.
  • Providing infrastructure and logistical support.
  • Maintenance and management of assets, etc.

Finance and Accounts

  • Developing and implementing the account norms and procedures as per laws of the land.
  • Developing node wise and project wise accounting systems.
  • Ensure all legal systems and protocols related to financial aspects are adhered to.


Project Management & Management Information System (PM&MIS)

  • Facilitate the project planning (project management cycle -outputs, time lines, quality), review, monitoring and learning systems for all nodes / sub nodes of WASSAN.
  • Develop comprehensive MIS for supporting project management; legal compliances and decision making
  • Support teams in annual plans – program; financial; HR plans.
  • Ensure proper information sharing across teams/ projects.
  • Providing feedback (project implementation, project health, issues, concerns, conflicts).