Changing the way we change the world

About Us

Why We’re Here

Improve International was founded in 2011 to find ways to improve the responses to the water and sanitation crises. We envision a world where all people have high quality water and sanitation services for life, and for generations. In this vision:

  • Water and sanitation customers have a voice in how interventions are designed, implemented or supported over time.
  • Water and sanitation organizations work with governments and each other and measure success by how many customers have water and sanitation services over time. They collect and share data on what works.
  • Donors see the value of investing in people, not just hardware, and in investing in systemic change over time, not just short-term projects.
  • Researchers spend less time justifying why people need safe water and good toilets (we already know this because many of us couldn’t imagine life without these things) and more time figuring out how to help them get and keep those services.

To achieve this vision requires us to change the way we are trying to change the world. International water and sanitation organizations and funders will need to think and work in new ways.

Our Mission

Improve International will shift the behavior of donors and international development organizations towards more sustainable strategies and practices by uncovering, curating, translating and sharing information to improve the responses to the water and sanitation crisis.

What We Do

Improve International plays a unique role in the sector. We don’t do water projects, we don’t fund water projects, we just try to make them last forever. With a focus on accountability, learning, and innovation, we help improve the work and coordination of international development organizations and donors focused on addressing the worldwide water and sanitation crisis.

  • We advise donors.
  • We provide research and strategic consulting to international development organizations.
  • We try to make evidence on what works (and what doesn’t) un-ignorable.

Our Manifesto

Let's change the way we change the world.

In The Media

Blunders, Bloopers, and Foul-ups: Sharing Failures in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs
By Dani Barrington, Rebecca Sindall, Esther Shaylor, and Susan Davis, Engineering for Change, August 1, 2018

Can Flexible Funding Lead to Better and Longer Lasting Results When it Comes to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Interventions?
By Susan Davis, WASHfunders, July 26, 2018

Opinion: Want to improve development outcomes? Anticipate the failures. Here’s how
By Susan Davis, Devex, February 12, 2018

Untreated Sewage: A Growing Crisis and Its Solutions
By Rob Goodier and Craig Fairbaugh, Engineering for Change, August 31, 2016

Selling Toilets
By Marc Gunther, Nonprofit Chronicles, July 28, 2016

Seeking Sanitation Success – Improve International
Humanitarian News, May 6, 2016

Seeking Sanitation Success – Improve International
Sanitation Updates, May 2, 2016

The clean water and sanitation crisis: How we can do better
By John Hewko, Devex, March 22, 2016

5 Insights from MERL Tech
By Katherine Haugh, ICT Works, January 18, 2016

Big data? No. Just a little data about water for the poor. Finally.
By Marc Gunther, Nonprofit Chronicles, August 23, 2015

This year’s WEDC – WASH services beyond 2015: Improving access and sustainability
By Swift Consortium, July 2015

Future-proofing Water Systems in Developing Countries: A Q&A with Susan Davis, by Rob Goodier, Engineering for Change, February 26, 2015

“Improve International’s blog is a good resource for updates and comments on WASH sector developments. Following discussions at World Water Week in Stockholm, they created a simple summary table on their blog to show the common elements across some of the different frameworks…” Stephen Jones, Webwatch, Waterlines Vol. 33, No. 1. January 2014

“In the absence of global sector monitoring that tracks slippage and actual levels of service delivered there is a useful repository on references for non-functionality available at the Improve International website.” Catarina Fonseca, Crossfire, Waterlines Volume 32, Number 4, October 2013
The tricky business of what is considered “evidence” in WASH
IRC E-Source WASH News and Features, May 24, 2013

2013 WASH Sustainable Forum Report
By Global Water Challenge, March 2013

Millennium Water Alliance in Latin America
By Laura Roverts, Akvo blog, February 19, 2013

Mapping the Way: Experiences with Water Mapping Technologies in Nicaragua
By Emma Bones, SustainableWASH blog, February 14, 2013

Toilets, Water and Measuring Program Effectiveness
By Quinetha Frasier, People of Purpose: Making Money and Change, February 4, 2013

Changing the way we change the world (audio)
Interview By Quinetha Fraiser, Community Giving, February 2013

WASHME: Making WASH Orgs Sustainable
Foundation Center Atlanta, Philanthropy Front and Center, December 13, 2012

El Porvenir 2011 Annual Report y Más: Improve International
By Michael Campana, AquaDoc Blog, August 8, 2012

External Perspectives on Accountability in the Developed and Developing World
Blog on panel chaired at Philadelphia Global Water Initiative (PGWI) Conference on Performance Indicators, April 3, 2012

First WASH Accountability Forum to Be Held in Honduras Next Month
OOSKA News, November 10, 2011

Alumna Aims to Improve Water and Sanitation for Developing Countries
David Terraso, Georgia Tech College of Sciences Newsletter, September 2011

Form 990s

Form990 2017

See summaries and links to earlier years here.