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 This site is no longer being updated, but allows access to GWI outputs until 1 October 2020 when it will also close.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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Books and Articles/Livres et articles

Irrigation, food security and poverty – Lessons from three large dams in West Africa


In recent years, the governments of the Sahel have committed to combat poverty and food insecurity through a significant increase in the development of irrigable areas. For GWI West Africa, this has presented a timely opportunity to analyse, alongside the relevant ECOWAS guidelines, the socio-economic results achieved on irrigated schemes associated with large dams in the West Africa region.

Operations manual in the form of "guidelines" for expropriation in the public interest and compensation of land and natural resources in the Republic of Guinea


In the Republic of Guinea, the Land and Property Code does not provide all the details on the practical modalities of expropriation in the public interest and compensation of land and natural resources. This situation explains why tenure-based projects such as large dams, mines or roads deal with this issue on a case-by-case basis without always taking into account the rights of affected populations.

A guide to securing land tenure in irrigation schemes in Niger


According to the census conducted by the Directorate of Development and Economic Analysis of the National Office for Irrigation Schemes (ONAHA), there are 85 irrigation schemes in Niger today, covering approximately 16,000 hectares and employing more than 40,000 farmers. Under the "Kandadji" programme for ecosystem regeneration and development in the Niger Valley, an additional 45,000 hectares are expected to be developed by 2030.

Towards a shared vision: Advisory services that work for smallholders and government in West Africa’s large irrigation schemes


Large government-managed irrigation schemes in West Africa are expected to meet the ambitious rice production targets of governments and ensure the livelihoods of small scale rice producers. Functioning institutions are a prerequisite for achieving these sometimes conflicting objectives.

Toolkit for local financing of operating costs and maintenance of water points


A major challenge for rural water supply in Africa is ensuring the operation of water points in a sustainable manner. With a view to helping local governments and communities to ensure sustainable access to water and sanitation, between 2008 and 2012 GWI West Africa developed  a series of practical guides to enable beneficiaries and key stakeholders to make informed decisions in relation to the choice of technology and water supply systems that best meets their community's needs.

Sharing the water, sharing the benefits: Lessons from six large dams in West Africa


Over 150 large dams have been built in West Africa over the last 50 years. Many more are in the planning stages to meet the region’s demands for energy, water and food and their reservoirs will displace many thousands of local people. Success in resettling affected people and in rebuilding their livelihoods has been mixed in the region.

Specialisation or diversification? Divergent perspectives on rice farming in three large dam-irrigated areas in the Sahel


This report is based on the main lessons and recommendations from three case studies analysing the strategies, aspirations and constraints of the various types of farmers living around the dams of Bagré (Burkina Faso), Sélingué (Mali) and Niandouba/Confluent (Senegal). The research, initiated by the Global Water Initiative (GWI) and funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, aims to contribute to ongoing national and regional discussions on the policies and programmes needed to improve rice cultivation in dam-irrigated perimeters and to support farmers’ livelihoods.

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.

Report on organising Municipal Water Days in Burkina Faso


Municipal Water Days are an opportunity for fruitful 2-way communication between local people and their elected officials. This document describes in detail the successes and challenges of organising municipal water days in the Komondjari province of Burkina Faso. GWI piloted an Inter-municipal Water Day, as well as holding a Cleanliness Day where a group of women and young people cleaned the village thoroughly and gave hand-washing demonstrations.