Meet GWP’s New Executive Secretary – Inspired and Ready to Serve

Monika Weber-Fahr took up her new position as Executive Secretary of Global Water Partnership on 7 May. “As the newest kid on the block I’m feeling very humbled. I’m inspired by what the network is and what it has done in the past 20+ years, and what it can do going forward in a world where water is such a huge priority”, she says.

Weber-Fahr describes herself as a development professional. Her work experience spans over 20 years, mainly on sustainability topics in the private sector – in the area of learning and knowledge, but also on topics such as energy, evaluation, and organisational performance enhancements.

“I have a strong sense for getting things done – I love results management – and I’m quite keen to see that we as a network are also able to demonstrate to our partners and funders what we achieve. I really like the focus that this brings to our own work; that we are considerate, responsible – that we not only say we work to change, but that we are willing to stand up and say, “yes, we invite everybody to look and see, this is what we’ve done”, in the hope that others join us and commit, copy, and do more of what we do already.”

She says that 'Executive Secretary' is an odd title, “but it’s a title that inspires me and my work going forward. 'Secretary' is about serving, about providing support, and that is how I see my role as Executive Secretary of the Global Water Partnership: to serve the partnership in being able to live up to where it wants to go.”

Three Priorities

Weber-Fahr has three priorities as she takes up her new role.

1)      To listen. “I want to try to understand what everybody thinks about this very big question, which is, are we ready to make every drop count? For everyone, everywhere, forever. And what does it take for us to make every drop count? I need to listen, learn, and understand the deeper motivations, circumstances, and the external environments in which we operate so that I can help develop a strategy going forward.”

2)      Strategy work. “We are now in the nice position where our current strategy runs out next year and where we will embark – this month, May – on a new, year-long path to investigate, explore and understand better what our strategy for the next decade should be. How will the time between 2020 and 2030 take us towards being one of the most effective organisations there is in driving the SDG conversation, and specifically SDG 6 to be delivered? The strategy will be worked on by the entire network. We will reach out to every partner organisation. We will reach out to the Country Water Partnerships and the regional teams. It is a joined effort – the strategy that comes out within a year should be something that everyone knows about and has contributed to.”

3)      Outreach. “I will reach out very actively to our Sponsoring Partners and our Financing Partners. As we go into the strategy work and a series of difficult global conversations, we need to make sure we have a stable funding base and that we have a set of committed partners. We may need to revisit our financing model, we may need to revisit our business model. But we cannot do this without our Partners. So, reaching out them, hearing what they think and what they want to see with us is an important part of my coming month. I will listen not only with my ears, but also with my heart, my spirit, my work”.