The IWSD was born out of the Training Centre for Water and Sanitation (TCWS) a project of the UNDP-World Bank Programme hosted at the University of Zimbabwe. The TCWS was set up in 1989 with a strong emphasis on capacity building and promotion of low cost technologies for rural water supplies and sanitation as part of the International Training Network (ITN) for Water and Waste Management.
Other sister organisations were also set up as regional hubs in Ghana (TREND), Kenya (NETWAS), Burkina Faso (CREPA). The success of the project and the demand for services led to the formation of Institute of Water and Sanitation Development whose focus is not only on water and sanitation but also on water resources management in the both the rural and urban context. Other new centers have also emerged in Mozambique (CFPAS), and South Africa (NCWSTI).
The institute delivers its objectives through four focus areas of activity namely:
Consulting and Advisory Services