DESAFIO – Democratisation of Water and Sanitation Governance by Means of Socio-Technical Innovation


The European Commission’s Research and Innovation section for the Social Sciences and Humanities published an interview with DESAFIO’s Co-ordinator about the project’s contribution to current debates about the Zika virus epidemic. Read the interview here



Special Post-project Seminar – Recife, Brazil,
19 August 2015

Excerpts from the Seminar’s Opening Session:

This seminar helps to make history in Brazil, the history of popular struggles in Brazil, because it is related to the major challenges facing the [democratization] of Brazilian society right now.

Luciano Roberto Rosas de Siqueira, Vice Mayor of Recife


The issues [to sort out in Brazil] require solutions that can be applied locally, however these issues require a project of development for the country, a project for a policy of urban development, the building of sustainable cities […]. You can count on the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, with our researchers, our analysts, our assistants, to discuss this and move forward in consolidating good practices [as the experiences to be discussed in today’s seminar]. What we demand and insist on is a national funding policy [for essential public services], a policy with targets, a policy of democratic social control, that counteracts [the current politics of privatization of water and sanitation services], as this is not the country that we want. Congratulations to the organizers, you can count on the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation in this strategy.

Paulo Rubem Santiago Ferreira, President, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife


This seminar is very timely. I participated in DESAFIO’s First International Conference at the Federal University of Pernambuco […]. We are here with other directors of the Urbanitários Workers’ Union to participate in this seminar […], which comes at a very good moment. Brazil is undergoing effervescent times and we have to engage with this effervescence to clearly identify what is wrong with this country. Congratulations to the organizers and to all those who came to participate in this seminar.

Jaime José, Urbanitários Workers’ Union, Recife


FASE joined this project from the start because we understood the importance of the contributions that such a project could make in strengthening the struggle for water and sanitation services and to enhance democratic social control […]. We hope that the results of the project help us to move forward in the process of mobilization and democratic social control to make water and sanitation policy more systematic, effective, less dependent on the vagaries of who is in government.

Adelmo Araújo, Federation of Organizations for Social and Educational Assistance (FASE), Member of DESAFIO’s Local Case Study Advisory Committee, Recife


We can say that DESAFIO was not a project about water and sanitation, because this specific topic is like a window to observe something more interesting to us, which is the process of democratization of society. Water and sanitation, or basic sanitation services, are just one among many other topics related to the democratization of society. We are not talking here just about democratizing electoral politics, but about the material, concrete, real democratization of society. In fact, in the seminar we will talk about water and sanitation, however we do this because our interest is focused on how to democratize the politics of public services, including the politics of basic sanitation.

José Esteban Castro, Newcastle University, DESAFIO’s Co-ordinator

Visit the Seminar’s web page for the Programme, photo gallery, and full videos of the sessions.


The EU has published a brief synopsis of DESAFIO’s key recommendations in a selection of the most relevant projects on development funded under the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7): Open the Door: Social Science Research for Development and a Sustainable Future


Horizon 2020, the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with almost €80 billion of funding, published a report about DESAFIO’s progress in a story about successful EU-funded projects in their official website. Read it here.


DESAFIO’s photostream