Reversing the Flow - RtF |

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Reversing the Flow - RtF

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Reversing the Flow (RtF) supports communities in vulnerable situations by strengthening their water security. RtF aims at making communities stronger with water and climate adaptation actions. The idea is that communities will organise and lead these actions themselves. Local partners will create hubs to support the communities.

Update: Knowledge component Reversing the Flow

Reversing the Flow (RtF) is a new programme that puts communities in the lead. Communities need to be in the lead to become more resilient to climate change. The RtF knowledge component will facilitate learning across community-led initiatives and between collective experiences and stakeholders. It will also help vulnerable groups find ways to influence policy and governance. Another important element of the knowledge component is monitoring at various programme levels.

RtF is a learning programme, and certain aspects still need to be developed. This means that we will constantly adjust and change the programme. This is also the case for the knowledge component. RtF intends to launch a tender to contract a consortium to implement the knowledge component. But, some factors of the programme are unknown. This makes it hard to define the specific long-term assignment for the knowledge component. The RtF team is currently exploring various options for the knowledge process.

As soon as we have more information, we will post an update.

Aim and strategy

RtF's strategy has 3 pillars: The programme offers:

  1. Funding
    RtF funds organisations (hubs) that support communities with water security initiatives.
  2. Knowledge exchange and training courses
    RtF facilitates knowledge exchange and training courses:
    1. across informal communities within a watershed or landscape;
    2. between communities and local governments, utility companies, civil societies, and development partners or Community Based Organisations (CBOs);
    3. between watersheds or landscapes at the programme level.
  3. Engaging dialogues
    RtF facilitates and engages in policy dialogues at various levels: multilateral, national and local. This way, interventions result in sustainable and inclusive development for the communities involved.

Target groups

RtF supports the resilient livelihoods of communities in vulnerable situations in the target countries.

Target countries

Reversing the Flow will carry out its programme in 4 to 6 countries. The programme will start in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Sudan. The potential target countries are:

  • Bangladesh
  • Burkina Faso
  • Ethiopia
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Nigeria
  • Sudan
  • Uganda.

Who can apply for funding?

We will select hubs interested in supporting local initiatives and meet the criteria.


Hubs are local partners that support communities. The funding goes to local communities that come up with and carry out their initiatives through the hubs.

Hubs have to meet the following standards:

  • be independent, self-steering mature civil society organisations or multi-stakeholder platforms;
  • operate at a landscape or watershed scale;
  • have a record of accomplishment in working with grassroots organisation networks in resilience, water management, climate change and nature-based solutions;
  • follow the agreed management standards and obligations.

Hubs fulfil more than one role in RtF as they:

  • help their network of grassroots organisations develop a portfolio of interventions following RtF's aims;
  • coordinate and monitor the implementation of the interventions;
  • operate as small grant providers to the grassroots organisations;
  • hold grassroots organisations accountable for the use of the funding;
  • help networking and exchange of knowledge between grassroots organisations within a landscape;
  • help grassroots organisations participate in policy dialogue with local authorities and private sector initiatives at the landscape and watershed level;
  • discuss the learning agenda with the knowledge partners;
  • subcontract and supervise technical assistance providers;
  • report to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency on the progress.

RtF may choose to work with more than one hub per landscape. For example, one organisation with a proven track record in the implementation process and another can facilitate policy dialogue. RtF will also have the flexibility to select more than one landscape per country. This method may provide economies of scale and reduce overhead costs.

Grassroots organisations

Grassroots are people united in society, a movement or an organisation. They communicate with their local stakeholders to resolve livelihood, water security or climate adaptation challenges. Also, grassroots organisations help communities with their needs, implementation plans and budgets.

In RtF, grassroots organisations will build networks, interact with peers, and:

  • work together with the hub in their landscape;
  • manage the funding allocated by the hub;
  • follow agreed management standards and obligations;
  • coordinate and monitor community-level implementation; and
  • account for funds received.

Knowledge partners

Knowledge partners cannot apply for funding. Yet, they are an important factor in the successful outcome of RtF initiatives. The knowledge partners will:

  • help the implementing partners define meaningful learning objectives;
  • seek alignment with existing learning structures in the respective countries;
  • develop links with the hubs and help set up connections between hubs across landscapes.

More information on RtF

Are you interested in Reversing the Flow? Do you meet the criteria for a hub? Contact us for more information on funding. You may also contact the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in your country.


RtF contributes to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 5: Gender equality
  • SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
  • SDG 13: Climate action
  • SDG 15: Life on land.

Gender is an essential criterion for the selection of communities. RtF aims to break through existing power structures by empowering women, youth and disadvantaged ethnic groups. It will focus on new initiatives where local communities, especially women, are in the lead.

Looking for inspiration?

Have a look at other programmes in our IATI database.

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