Gianotti, R. & Worsham, K.

Year of Publishing



WASH Exit Interviews Findings on Professional Attrition in the International Sector


Every water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) professional knows that safe and sustainable WASH underlies all healthy communities, but universal coverage remains frustratingly out of reach. The sector demands – and deserves – a highly talented, dedicated, and nourished workforce. But there’s a problem – talented, dedicated, and experienced professionals choose to leave the international WASH sector. For an inherently small sector, this can be problematic.

Professional issues go beyond individual jobs. They reduce the sector’s ability to attract and keep much-needed talent, affect sectoral investment, and constrain its ability to lead equitable change. Our best chance at tackling WASH challenges is to have the best team working on them. So, how do we make people want to stay in the sector?

First, we need to document people’s stories and specific reasons for leaving. It’s hard to develop solutions for a poorly defined problem. We hypothesized that people leave the international WASH sector for two main reasons:
1. Frustration with a lack of professional support and career progress causes some people to seek employment elsewhere, whether in other international development disciplines or entirely different sectors.
2. As decolonization efforts spread, some professionals in the Global North reconsider their place in the WASH system and intentionally step aside.

Bibliographical Information:

Gianotti, R. & Worsham, K. (2024) WASH Exit Interviews. Findings on Professional Attrition in the International Sector , FLUSH

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WASH Exit Interviews
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