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 This site is no longer being updated, but allows access to GWI outputs until 1 October 2020 when it will also close.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.

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Mid term independent evaluation of GWI (2011)


GWI asked experts in IWRM from the 2IE Engineering Institute to visit all four project sites and to evaluate the approach and experience on IWRM that GWI was promoting with local partners. This report analyses the field projects against a set of standard IWRM indicators and identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the GWI programme. This report was an opportunity to confront the GWI approach with the regional IWRM policies promoted by 2IE and to provide a local learning opportunity for all involved, confronting theory with practice on the ground.


From demonstration latrines to Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)


In 2008 GWI began a sustainable sanitation project in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Senegal. We focused primarily on implementing ‘demonstration latrines’ in rural areas, where the culture of open defecation (OD) and non-hygienic disposal of children’s faeces was widespread. However, demonstration latrines (particularly the government promoted Ventilated Improved Pit latrine) proved ineffective in terms of cost, sustainability and replication.

Practical guide for building a simple pit latrine


GWI helped build appropriate, strong, low-cost latrines. This illustrated manual is aimed at community sanitation mobilisers and villagers already motivated to build their own latrines, and it is best used alongside CLTS. It sets out the guiding principles that should be taken in to account with latrine construction and maintenance, such as factors to consider when deciding where to site a latrine. As well as practical advice, the guide contains characters, dialogue and illustrations to bring the content to life.

Community monitoring during the construction of a gravity-fed, solar powered water supply: a training guideline


In order for a community to monitor the construction of a water supply, they must first understand the necessary principles of engineering. They will be required to consider the siting and construction of multiple facilities (the main water point, pipe network, water tower and solar panel generator). This practical training also equips participants to recognise good and poor quality materials, as well as interacting to share knowledge amongst trainees.


Contracting for water point construction: Provisional and final acceptance forms


Water users require a mechanism for holding contractors to account in the construction of water points. Using these GWI forms gives the water user committee the opportunity to make a detailed inventory and quality assessment of the work completed by the contractor, to help ensure that the eventual construction adheres to the original design.

Community monitoring of borehole construction: a training guideline


Communities have a right to be informed about decisions affecting their water supply. This GWI participatory training enables communities to oversee the construction phase of their water supply, explaining how to recognise good and bad quality workmanship and how to intervene if necessary. The straightforward sessions are clearly structured, and incorporate discussion modules as well as practical demonstrations.


Monitoring checklists: water points and latrines


GWI recommends regular monitoring of water points and latrines to ensure that all parts are maintained properly and that any potential problems are identified early on. We produced this guide to assist village and local government officials to regularly monitor facilities themselves. We make the link between monitoring and financing, as it is of course vital that enough funds are generated for ongoing maintenance of water points and latrines.


Assuring Quality: an approach to building long-lasting infrastructure in West Africa


Quality assurance is a vital part of the construction of water infrastructure. This practical document outlines GWI’s approach to building long-lasting water supplies in West Africa. Important steps include organising projects in a clear, formal and thorough way (see enclosed checklist), methodically checking the skills of contractors, the materials and the equipment used to make sure they are adequate, and ensuring transparency at all stages.