Collective Action for a Water-Secure World

Water security is key to our collective future, yet many parts of the world are deeply water insecure.

What is C4W?

The climate crisis is exacerbating water risks, whether through droughts, floods, extreme and more variable rainfall, melting glaciers or rising sea levels. At the same time, demand for water to meet food, energy, livelihood and biodiversity needs is growing rapidly. However, efforts to address these intersecting challenges are fragmented across sectors, with different organizations focusing on pieces of the puzzle rather than the bigger picture. 

Collective Action for a Water-Secure World (C4W) has been established to drive this urgently needed collaboration and coordination through collective action of multiple partners. C4W raises funds to finance science-based solutions through collective action – both across sectors and with diverse stakeholders – to create a water-secure world. As a US-based registered non-profit organization, C4W convenes complementary and aligned organizations to harness their combined expertise and capacity to implement large-scale interventions to improve people’s water security.

The power of collective action

C4W does not implement water security programs directly, but establishes transformational partnerships across sectors to lead interventions. These sectors include agriculture, health, WASH, sustainable energy, biodiversity, environment and disaster prevention, and span governments, the private sector, farming communities, financial institutions, youth groups, entrepreneurs and research and innovation organizations. Overcoming water insecurity is complex – and climate change is making it harder and more urgent. Significant impact can only be achieved by organizations working together through collective action.

Our founding partner

C4W was founded with the support of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), an international researchfordevelopment organization solving water problems. IWMI has a unique track record of working with governments, farmers, water managers, development partners and businesses to create scalable, science-based solutions to the world’s water challenges. As a founding partner of C4W, IWMI provides initial funding, strategic and program implementation support as well as technical excellence and insights from 40 years of cutting-edge research, innovation and learning. C4W benefits from IWMI’s presence, portfolio of interventions and partner networks across Africa and Asia. Headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, IWMI is a CGIAR Research Center with offices in 15 countries and a global network of scientists operating in more than 55 countries. 

Putting C4W’s approach into action

C4W is already working with IWMI on its first collective action program, Changing Lives in East Africa (CLEA). By unleashing the development potential of farmer-led irrigation, CLEA aims to improve water security for 500,000 small-scale farmers on the front lines of the climate crisis. CLEA will be led by IWMI and will benefit from IWMI’s decades of expertise testing and scaling water innovations for agriculture and water storage. Between 2024 and 2028, the program will establish multi-stakeholder partnerships to expand farmer-led irrigation development in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

A demand-driven initiative

C4W’s work is informed by the Transformative Futures for Water Security (TFWS) initiative. A year-long South–South dialogue held in the run-up to the UN 2023 Water Conference, TFWS saw over 1,000 participants from 400 institutions jointly identify eight missions for water security. These missions – reflecting the most urgent water security pressures facing people right now – will guide our work. The first program that C4W will fund addresses the TFWS’s first mission: ‘Build farmers’ resilience to climate change and water risks’. This will be a collective action program with multiple partners, coordinated and led by IWMI.

Our Board of Governors

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Letitia A. Obeng

Letitia A. Obeng holds a PhD in public health and water resources engineering from Imperial College London. She spent 25 years at the World Bank, working as a technical specialist, manager and director on water supply, sanitation, water resources management and other sustainable development areas such as agriculture and rural development, social development, environment, environmental health, waste management, urban development and growing capacity. She also served in corporate roles including as Director, Office of the President. Obeng chaired the Global Water Partnership for five years, is the current Chair of the Water Integrity Network, and has served with Water Aid America, the Daugherty Water for Food Institute and IWMI.

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Sarina Prabasi

Sarina Prabasi is a Nepalese–American charity executive specializing in international development. She served as Chief Executive Officer of WaterAid America from May 2014 to September 2019. She was previously Deputy Chief of Programs at Orbis International and had been a Country Representative at WaterAid Ethiopia. Prabasi’s first book, The Coffee House Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times, was published in 2019. 


Peter Lochery

Peter Lochery is an environmental engineer with more than 50 years’ experience in the water sector. He has worked in the private sector in the UK, the Middle East and East Asia, and with the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program in West Africa and South Asia. During his time in West Africa he was seconded to government for six years. In 1995, he joined CARE and led its global development programming in water security, sanitation and hygiene. While at CARE, he was involved with several start-ups focused on advocacy, systemic change and partnership. He was the Chair of the Millennium Water Alliance until recently and now sits on the board of Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor. He was awarded the University of Oklahoma International Water Prize in 2015.