WOPs work by harnessing the skills, knowledge and goodwill within a 'mentor' utility to build the capacity of another utility – the 'mentee' – that needs assistance or guidance.
Through mentorship, WOPs progressively strengthen and empower the mentee operator on management, financial and technical levels to implement operational and organizational changes that will lead to better and more sustainable services.
WOPs have a number of distinguishing features, most notably:
- WOPs focus on building the resident capacity of water operator staff, rather than ‘doing it for them.’
- WOPs are peer partnerships, meaning that the support comes from professional counterparts with hands-on experience within utilities
- Knowledge is not for sale in WOPs. WOPs are carried out on a solidarity basis and are not to be used for commercial purposes.
WOPs are to be carried out according to principles defined in GWOPA’s charter.