The Global Water Initiative (GWI) was an action-research and advocacy programme that ran from 2008-17. The project is now closed. This site is no longer being updated, but allows access to GWI outputs until 1 October 2020 when it will also close. After that date, information about the project and core GWI technical publications will continue to be available from the IIED website and Publications Library.

  • English
  • Français


Key facts

Project area: Four municipalities in Madaoua district (Madaoua, Galma, Azérori and Sabon Guida) and two municipalities in Bouza district (Bouza and Karofane), in the Tahoua region.

Basin: Lower Tarka Valley

Implementation: CARE and CRS, with the support of CREPA and Demi Eau.

Starting point

Our baseline study in the lower Tarka Valley showed that there was limited access to drinking water and to sanitation facilities, poor hygiene and sanitation behaviour, and a lack of coordination between those involved in water-resource management.

The water table was less than six metres below ground level in the Tarka area and farmers were irrigating their dry-season crops (mainly onions) using diesel-powered pumps. Groundwater was being overused and also contaminated by traditional latrines and agricultural products (fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides). Greater coordination of management efforts was required to ensure sustainable use of the resource.

Our aim was therefore to increase access to water and sanitation services, in a sustainable manner, for poor and vulnerable inhabitants in the project area.

Project achievements

  • Access to water: From 2010 to 2012, we observed a significant change with regard to the length of time inhabitants spent fetching water. In 2010, only 41% of the 400 households we surveyed claimed to spend less than 30 minutes on the task. By 2012, that figure had risen to 51%. This improvement was the result of repair work in 2010 (to two boreholes with manual pumps and six village wells) and construction in 2011 (of nine OFEDES village wells) in communities with severely limited access to water.
  • Sanitation: We promoted community-led total sanitation (CTLS) to foster the adoption of good hygiene and sanitation practices. After piloting this approach in 10 communities, we broadened our scope to encompass a total of 20 villages. Over 2,400 latrines were constructed without any subsidisation. Two communities were declared open-defecation-free zones and, by the end of September 2012, at least five communities had shown a marked improvement in hygiene levels and a drop in open defecation.

Some local leaders have decided to visit neighbouring villages to raise awareness of the importance of ending open defecation and adopting good hygiene and sanitation practices. We helped professional builders to establish an economic interest group with a view to promoting safe and sustainable latrines, built with low-cost pre-fabricated slabs, in the CLTS villages. Teachers have continued to raise students' awareness of hygiene, especially with regard to washing hands with soap and water, and parents have joined forces to build latrines in schools. Live radio broadcasts in local languages, with listener interaction, played a key role in achieving these outcomes. Interviews recorded during monitoring visits by departmental CLTS committees, and broadcast on the radio, have raised a lot of interest and questions about hygiene and sanitation among villages not covered by our project.

In the lower Tarka Valley, it was clear that our activities had raised significant awareness of these issues. For the first time, municipal councils were organising annual events for citizens and elected representatives to exchange views on water and sanitation issues face to face, with GWI support. Known as Municipal Water Days, they provide a platform for cases of poor governance to be discussed openly and objectively, and for the villages displaying the best water and sanitation management to be rewarded.

  • Integrated water-resource management in the Tarka Basin:
  • Administrative authorities have signed a written resolution pledging support for the integrated water-resource management (IWRM) process.
  • We engaged with 90 to 120 villages, via local water committees (four of which were established by GWI), about management of water and related resources.
  • Women played a significant role in the process of establishing local water committees (one male and one female delegate from each village).
  • Local-level conversation now incorporates the concept of IWRM.
  • IWRM conferences were held at the regional level (Tahoua), national level (Niamey) and in the administrative regions of Zinder and Diffa. Attended by stakeholders active in the area covered by DANIDA funding, these provided an opportunity to raise awareness about the concept of IWRM among a broad audience.
  • Local water committees have been officially recognized through decrees issued by departmental prefects. At forums, elected municipal representatives have stated that they now consider the committees to be key partners in water-resource management;
  • Stakeholders have gained a greater understanding of their role in water-resource management as a result of the Water Code and its implementing decrees being published in more accessible language. Both the quality and quantity of water resources are now being monitored, with support from community entities.

Find out more:

Browse and download project reports, technical tools and articles produced by the GWI Niger team.





Project Coordinator

Boureima ADAMOU


Souley GONDA

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning


Hygiene, Sanitation and Ecosan

Mahamadou BOUDA   



Social Mobilisation and Capacity-Building

Moustapha Lamine ABAGANA