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W+ Standard Verification

SAN is delighted to be the independent verification body for the W+ Standard

W+ Standard is a unique certification label developed by WOCAN that endorses projects creating increased social and economic benefits for women participating in economic development and environment projects

SAN – the Social Audit Network (SAN)  -  is the home of Social Accounting and Audit (SAA).  Based in UK and working internationally, SAN is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes and practices the principles of SAA, facilitates the exchange of information and experience between practitioners of social accounting and audit.


Over the last 20 years, SAN has built its expertise providing information, training and organisational support to implement social accounting and undertake social audits. 


SAN’s W+ Standard independent verification activities have enabled organisations to gain their W+ Standard, accredit their positive impact and generate additional income through the sale of their W+ credits.

We have worked with W+ Plus, WOCAN and consulted with project developers to ensure that the verification process is robust and compliant with SAN’s underpinning principles, whilst being appropriate and accessible for community development projects.

Visit W Plus Verification Services – SAN provider of independent verification services for the W+ Standard for further information. W+ Standard Verification Guidance can be downloaded here.

Approach to Verification

SAN’s unique W+ Standard verification services are underpinned by its 8 principles, initially set out and described by John Pearce Alan Kay, SAN’s founders, community development and social enterprise pioneers, and more recently updated in 2016:

Clarifying the true change and purpose that an organisation is working towards  Focus

Tracking changes so that comparisons can be made over time and between organisations  Improvement

Embedding the social impact process and making it central to what the organisation does  Regular

Considering more than one view in assessing social value created by an organisation  Multi-perspective

Demonstrating that data and information used is important and significant  Materiality

Checking that the interpretation of the change that happens is as true as possible  Verification

Involving stakeholders in assessing change that happens  Engagement

Being open and disclosing what an organisation has achieved or not  Transparent

The SAN Directors leading the W+ Standard verification work are Liz Allen and Lisa McMullan.  Both have over 20 years’ experience of social accounting and audit, as practitioners within their own organisations and supporting others to recognise their social value and impact. They have supported a wide range of community-based organisations in the UK and internationally, and have undertaken W+ Standard verification for projects in Indonesia, Morocco, Nepal and Vietnam.

The W+ Standard verification work draws upon their understanding and know-how of establishing robust social accounting systems, preparing social accounts, facilitating learning and promoting social accounting & audit practices, as well as their experience as SAN accredited social auditors.   


SAN has an international team supporting W+ Standard verification services with colleagues working across Grenada, Guyana, St Vincent, the Grenadines, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, UK and USA.


Verification for Transparency and Rigor

SAN’s independent verification provides transparency and rigor for organisations and project implementers that have applied W+ Standard to their activities.  It provides a measure of a project’s results for women’s empowerment and reports on contributions to SDG 5.  


Verification introduces a new source of funding that can be reinvested to expand activities that directly lead to women’s empowerment as well driving better outcomes through design and implementation guidance for gender-responsive activities.

For W+ Standard certification, organisations / project developers are required to have their project results independently verified by an accredited Verifier. This independent verification is critical to ensuring the integrity of the projects registered with the W+ Programme.

The verification process involves a review of all project design documentation, site visits and consultation with key stakeholders including the women participating in project activities.  


The cost of verification is dependent on the level, nature and extent of project activities in terms of number of W+ domains applied, number of participants involved and stakeholders to be engaged and will be agreed between SAN and the project implementer before the provision of verification services.  


For information and planning purposes, and as a guide only, verification costs are typically £10,500 GBP. 

Verification for W+ Standard certification is valid for 3 years.

For further information or to arrange for your project to be independently verified for the W+ Standard please contact

What is the W+ Standard?

The W+ Standard is a unique certification label developed by WOCAN that endorses projects that create increased social and economic benefits for women participating in economic development or environment projects, including those that provide renewable energy technologies, time and labour-saving devices, forest and agriculture activities, and employment opportunities. 


The W+ is thus an innovative framework to quantify and monetize the social capital created by women, to recognize and reward their contributions to sustainable environments and communities. 


The W+ measures women’s empowerment in six domains: Time, Income & Assets, Health, Leadership, Education & Knowledge and Food Security. It produces quantified women-benefit units that contribute towards post 2015 Sustainability Goals (SDGs), Climate Financing or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) targets. 


The W+ Standard is flexible and can be applied to economic or environmental projects, existing or new. It is relevant to projects that strive to make a difference to women’s lives in terms of one or more of the W+ Standard’s 6 domains: time, income & assets, health, leadership, education & knowledge and food security. If you are a project developer interested in applying W+ Standard visit for more information. 


Gaining W+ Standard Certification requires the involvement of an approved W+ Standard verifier once you have defined and are delivering project outcomes. These will be monitored, reviewed and verified by an approved W+ Standard auditor. Organizations/projects that have obtained satisfactory results will be issued W+ Certificates for a specific number of units which can then be sold to corporations, investors and individual buyers. The W+ Standard will also provide a new revenue stream to women and their groups through benefit sharing mechanisms required by the Standard. 


For further information or to arrange for your project to be independently verified for the W+ Standard please contact


W+ Standard Verifier Team

SAN has created a network of professionals who understand field methods for surveying, stakeholder engagement, multi-cultural and gender issues who wish to become approved W+ Standard Verifiers. Our international team supporting W+ Standard verification services has work from Grenada, Guyana, St Vincent, the Grenadines, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, UK and USA.


Join our W+ Standard Verifier Team

SAN is the sole verification provider for the W+ Standard and has developed a programme to support colleagues to become approved W+ Standard Verifiers. Our approach is competency based, in that we invite applications that demonstrate knowledge and experience in 4 key areas:

  1. Making the case for W+ Standard Verification, demonstrating your understanding the value of undertaking W+ Standard Verification and the role of the W+ Standard Verifier in the process.

  2. Understanding the W+ Standard Verification process, demonstrating your understanding of how the process works in practice.

  3. Gender Concepts, demonstrating your understanding of the unique gender focus of the W+ Standard.

  4. Evaluation, reflection and action planning, demonstrating your personal practices and values as an independent verifier / auditor, and your intent to maintain the knowledge to be a W+ Standard Verifier.

If you are interested in joining our verification team check out SAN's Eventbrite page for forthcoming training opportunities & events here.

If you'd like more information about the W+ Standard Verifier journey please contact us at 

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