At the Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD), we recognize that the natural world’s resources are limited and undergoing rapid depletion and transformation. We know that current practices of use and management are inadequate to deal with the rapid changes and challenges we’re facing.

Our approach involves thinking across disciplines, boundaries and systems. We have a record of designing practical interventions to address the vulnerability of people and ecosystems and merge considerations from both environmental and social perspectives.

We specialize in participatory, research-based project implementation aimed at addressing issues of sustainability, inequity, and poverty by building natural-resource management competence and supporting sustainable water-based livelihoods.

Our work helps provide a foundation for robust development policy and practice in South Africa that can stand up to an increasingly complex world. AWARD is a non-profit organisation.

Some of the things that matter to us as an organisation are:

Sustainable futures

Integrated water resource management (IWRM) has gained prominence as a powerful water management concept. It is an idea that promotes the equitable and sustainable management of a catchment by all who live and share its waters. The complexities of realising IWRM within the context of South Africa makes for fascinating and important work.

Innovative research

We are developing new, multi-disciplinary ways of looking at natural resource management that deal with the realities facing communities in South Africa. We involve these communities in a process of social learning to develop a practice-based understanding of policy, the role of leadership and communication, governance, collective action and regulation and self-organisation.

Learning & sharing

Each river-sharing community faces a set of needs and challenges when trying to balance social development imperatives and resource sustainability. With researchers, partner organisations and communities, we develop and test new and appropriate ways of managing water to address water security issues,  sharing our learning and findings along the way.