The Water
Awards 2020 

Building climate resilience by changing water decisions

#WaterChangeMakers In support of the UNFCCC's Resilience Frontiers Initiative
Submit before the 15 of June 2020
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What are the Water ChangeMaker Awards

Water ChangeMaker Awards: And the Winner Is…

Water ChangeMakers stories from around the globe

Discover The Water ChangeMaker Semi-Finalists 

 It's time to find out who are the Water ChangeMakers from across the globe! 


We launched the Water ChangeMaker Awards at an extraordinary time. The world is in a global health crisis and the economic future of many people is at risk. Both need the full attention of governments, businesses, and citizens around the world.

Many essentials must continue, and among these is taking smart decisions on how we use and safeguard our water and how we protect ourselves from water-related hazards, such as floods and droughts as the climate crisis continues.

We launched these Awards to make visible the teams and organizations who shape water decisions that build climate resilience.

The journeys towards such decisions will have involved changing mindsets from inertia to action; speaking truth to power; finding new ways of working; building new coalitions; changing laws or policies; mobilizing others to collaborate, and more. We will collect these journeys because, at times like these, learning from and celebrating those who have made things happen is more important than ever.


Who is a Water ChangeMaker?

Why you should participate

“It always seems impossible - until it's done.”
Nelson Mandela


Like a single raindrop, one ChangeMaker initiative can contribute to an ocean of immense power. When we bring together problems we can turn them into possibilities by learning and connecting with others from across the world.


Collaboration and shared learning are key to strengthening long-term change. Your initiative will be part of a global collection of innovative solutions, and you will have the opportunity to collaborate with other Water ChangeMakers, experts, and practitioners.


The Water ChangeMaker Awards celebrates the strength that comes from working together as a team.  Recognition can bring opportunities that would have not been accessible before and can inspire others.

How it works


How to submit?

Submit your ChangeMaker journey between 6 April 2020 and 14 June 2020.

Submissions can be made via the “submit your change journey” link. If you have any questions please use the competition guidelines as a reference. Should you have further questions or encounter any technical issues please contact

Who can submit?


  • What: ChangeMaker initiatives should be about decisions involving water that have contributed to building resilience to climate change.
  • Who: All organisations, entities, and individuals associated with the public, private, and non-profit sector are eligible to submit their ChangeMaker initiative. Submitters need to be involved in the initiative described or have the agreement of those involved in order to submit. If you have more than one experience to share, you may: Multiple submissions are welcome.
  • Where: Initiatives can be from anywhere in the world.
  • When: Initiatives must be either ongoing or concluded within the last five (5) years
  • Verification: When submitting your story, you must point to a contact in your country who can verify the existence of your organization or group. The verification may be informal but would need to involve the name and email address of the verifier.
  • Exclusion: Staff employed by GWPO or any of the GWP Regional Secretariats, or their direct relatives (partners, children, parents) are not eligible to submit a ChangeMakers experience, nor are members of GWP’s GLOBAL Steering Committee or GLOBAL Technical Committee.

Please note:

  • Many Languages work: Submissions are accepted in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.  We do work, however, in English and we will therefore use publicly available online translation tools to convert non-English submissions into English.
  • Get ahead of the final date: We recommend that submissions be uploaded ahead of the final date given that our system may experience instability when overloaded.
  • Quantify where you can:  Submitters are encouraged to quantify results and include data that demonstrates positive impacts in their submissions.
  • Verficiation: Submissions will undergo a verification process using the contact person provided.


There are many important dates for you to remember but most important ones are that submissions open on 6 April 2020 and close on 14 June 2020. You can see all the other important dates on the timeline below.


Open for submission

Submit your change journey via the submission form!


Close for submission

Do not miss the deadline!



Check who made it through the Eligibility Screening!


First Round Jury

Find out who made it into the Semi-Finals!


Second Round Jury

Find out whether you made it into the Finals!


Winners & Awards

Find out about the winners and the awards ceremony.  Will take place at COP26 in Glasgow (TBD)


The Jury process

The Water ChangeMaker Awards will involve a 2-stage jury process, deploying an international independent expert jury as well as leaders in water management and climate resilience. Teams making it to the “Finals” will be asked to share more in-depth information about their change journey.

The Evaluation Criteria

Climate Resilience built through Water Decisions

The extent to which the initiative has contributed to climate resilience – seen through one or more dimensions such as: changes to people’s lives, the physical environment, institutional structures and routines, financial flows, behaviours and livelihoods, perceptions and mental models. 

Magnitude & Longevity of Change

The extent to which the initiative has pushed the boundary beyond “business as usual” and broken down the inertia of processes or systems that have prevented decisions to be taken and action to move forward.  The adaptability of the team and initiative when faced with resistance and the strategies used to overcome them. And the extent to which the change created will continue or has continued beyond expectations.

Depth of Learning

The extent to which the initiative has been mindful in using learning to improve and to bring about the changes intended.  This may include various learning approaches, such as learning from a crisis or from failure; it may also be about good use of learning tools, programs, or techniques used to facilitate learning in group processes or to arrive at decisions.

Breadth of Collaboration

The extent to which the initiative has involved and mobilized others to achieve success, how it worked in collaboration with others, how shared goals were built with others.  Collaboration may be about including those that would help push forward the initiative’s goals and those that would benefit from the initiative, including stakeholders who would more often be excluded from such work.


The Awards

Once you meet the eligibility criteria you will benefit from opportunities to Connect, Collaborate, and Celebrate. Winning initiatives will be honored for their success in changing behaviors, organizations, or external contexts through innovative approaches focused on achieving positive climate resilient outcomes.

Connect: Water ChangeMaker Community

You will become part of a vibrant community of Water ChangeMakers.  Depending on how far you get, we will list you and your initiative on the website, connect you with others who tackle similar challenges (Semi-Finalists), and invite you to join the Alumni Group (Finalists) or the “Hall of Fame” (Winners).

Collaborate: On the Global Stage

You will be a creator of insights that drive better water decisions.  We will invite Semi-Finalists to collaborate on distilling lessons from their experiences.  Finalists’ experiences will be featured on the Global Water Partnership’s online  ToolBox – able to explore collaboration with other water champions from across the globe. Finalists will be invited to collaborate in shaping subsequent Water ChangeMaker Awards.

Celebrate: High-Level Award Ceremony

You will be an ambassador for your initiative. Each Finalist will be invited to the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland (TBD).  We will sponsor your trip where you will participate in the Awards Ceremony and where your work will be featured in media channels.  You will participate in events to celebrate and share your award-winning experience.


Beyond the Awards – Water ChangeMaker Stories

Celebrating our Finalists and Winners is the first step to join the Water ChangeMakers community. The experience is a journey of knowledge, communication, and collaboration with like-minded people. During this journey we will help you turn your initiative into a change story and take it to the global stage to inspire others. The Global Water Partnership’s Technical Committee will engage with Semi-Finalists, Finalists and Winners in publishing an analysis of the ChangeMaker Journeys – to be launched in March 2021. The Global Water Partnership’s online ToolBox will be the space where future collaboration will take place – with space for learning from each other, for seeking advice and coaching from around the world, and for motivating and inspiring each other.

Convened by

Together with Co-Owners

Knowledge partners

Funded by

The Water ChangeMaker Awards initiative is funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and other GWP Financing Partners.