International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance

Alliance internationale pour la gestion de l'eau de pluie (IRHA)

Alianza internacional para la gestión del agua de lluvia (IRHA)

Organization in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations - July 2010
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Code of Ethics

“The International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA) was created in 2002 in the wake of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. During this large gathering of policymakers, an ambitious, multi-year programme was announced, with the objective of reducing global poverty. As access to water is essential for the health and development of a population, as well as for their escape from poverty, it was a precondition in every decision taken.


“Rainwater – the only water resource which humans have forgotten – can contribute significantly to improving the living conditions of the poorest people, and therefore comes naturally into these debates. Representatives of the future non-governmental organisation, including those present during the deliberations, received the mandate to create a global platform for the promotion of managing rainwater as a resource. A few weeks later, the IRHA was born in Geneva.


“Thus, dating from the creation of the IRHA, the noble ideas that founded our organisation provide the basis of our Code of Ethics. It was then expanded, to become an unalterable part of our activities. It will always be so, as our work is inseparable from ethical conduct, both personally and professionally.”


Vessela Monta

Founding Member and Executive Director of the IRHA




• A non-profit commitment

• Main objective: to provide better access to water for humans and nature

• Search for sustainable and equitable solutions

• Gender equality

• Work ethically and transparently

• Partnership and collegiality

• Actions based on request

• Actions initiated in response to the needs of vulnerable populations

• Responsibility vis-à-vis the project beneficiaries

• Responsibility vis-à-vis the donors


The IRHA, an environmentally and socially responsible NGO


The International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA) was founded in Geneva in November 2002 under the legal form of a non-profit organisation, established under Article 60 and following of the Swiss Civil Code. The mandate received during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg engaged the new organisation to promote rainwater as a vital resource so that its management will contribute to the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals to reduce global poverty. Consequently, the IRHA is by definition an environmentally and socially responsible organisation.


To fulfil its mandate, the IRHA is committed to actions that are based on requests and which respond to the needs of the most vulnerable populations.


By putting into practice sustainable and equitable solutions, the IRHA ensures that its projects develop – and reinforce – local knowledge, and that they use local materials whenever possible.


Gender equality is the first condition that the IRHA integrates into both its work and the work of all its partners.


The IRHA’s work is based on the development of partnership and collegiality so that it will be appreciated by donors and partners.


Responsibility for the implementation and reporting of activities is the guiding line of the IRHA’s relationship with donors.


The moral and financial responsibility vis-à-vis donors and project beneficiaries, as well as transparency in all its actions, are always observed by the IRHA.


The environmental awareness of the IRHA team members is also reflected in the management of office equipment, the choice of transport, energy savings, and many others.


Relations with our partners


Created to become a global platform for rainwater harvesters, one of the IRHA’s general objectives is to create and strengthen a unified movement.


For this reason, is took the form of an alliance, bringing together members – including organisations, university and scientific institutions, representatives of authorities and individuals – who want to contribute towards increasing the practice of rainwater harvesting (RWH).


The IRHA also works to establish a strong global network that contributes to the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals. Since its creation, the IRHA has gathered together people sharing the same point of view, as well as organisations with a common interest in the development of rainwater harvesting.


We seek to support and ensure the future development of RWH by providing our members with a forum where they can promote their activities, learn new things and also collaborate with each other.


As an organisation which represents and unifies people and organisations involved in RWH, the IRHA promotes the common interest of all its members, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.


According to us, RWH is not only part of the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), but is also part of the strategy for poverty reduction. It is a powerful tool for adaptation to climate change in the water sector. Therefore, actions with communities and low social groups are prioritised.


The IRHA work is carried out through local partners, usually local NGOs. The keywords for them and for the IRHA are the same: partnership and collegiality.


The first requirement that we impress on our partners (and for us as well) is the clear observation of gender equality.


We require our partners to work ethically and transparently – as we do ourselves. We monitor their accounts closely and ask them for external audits in order to maintain this system of transparency so that it becomes a fundamental requirement.


Human resources


The management of human resources at the IRHA is subject to the same principles:


Gender equality is strictly respected.


Partnership and collegiality are practised, both within the IRHA structure, and with organisations and individuals outside its team.


The work of each employee belongs to the IRHA, and each employee has the right to access this work on the internal information network of the organisation.


Every employee looks for solutions that are sustainable, equitable, efficient, economically justifiable and adapted to the objectives of each project.


The behaviour of the IRHA members must be exemplary, particularly during professional trips in project implementation countries.


Protection of property of the IRHA


The economic, rational and equitable management of the IRHA Secretariat and the protection of its property is a condition included in its Code of Ethics.


Raising the reputation of the IRHA


As a non-profit organisation, recognised by the importance of its work in the public interest, and tax-exempt, the IRHA bears the responsibility to protect and raise its reputation. To this end, the respect of its Code of Ethics is a mandatory requirement, but not exclusive.


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