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 This site is no longer being updated, but allows access to GWI outputs until 1 October 2020 when it will also close.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

The GWI West Africa consortium represented an unprecedented opportunity to share ideas and methods for tackling the complex challenges of sustainable access to clean water and sanitation and integrated water resource management at sub-basin level. We strategically set out to involve local, national and regional water constituencies in learning and strengthening collaborative partnerships, sharing what has worked well and learning from our mistakes.

Learning: Monitoring outcomes, changing practice

We focus on outcomes

Our methodology for monitoring and evaluation adopted an outcome-based (or results-based) approach. This allowed us to assess our effectiveness in achieving success with people, processes and collaborating institutions.

We gathered a diverse set of data to measure our progress, including baseline data at the beginning of the initiative. We published annual reports against a set of 11 outcomes, which in turn measured progress against our 3 strategic objectives.

“Outcomes are changes in behaviour, relationships, or actions of target groups in medium term, which demonstrate the uptake, adoption and use of project outputs”.

Definition adopted at GWI West Africa M&E meeting in 2008.

We are committed to learning

A successful water programme requires high levels of innovation and excellence in a wide range of skills, including promoting behaviour change, understanding geology, sustainable agriculture, and engineering. Partners invested in improving programme quality through learning activities. We have reaped the benefits of technical knowledge being shared widely, and you will find this documented in the many technical guides downloadable in this section.

We are a team

All consortium partners have made great efforts to collaborate through regular and transparent communications, creating shared operational procedures and practices, and jointly field-testing technical innovations. In this section are several examples of collaborative outputs.

We respond to changing circumstances

The world, and the environment in which we work, have changed since the Global Water Initiative was formed in 2008. When we first defined our strategic objectives and planned our long-term monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process, we were intending to invest a total of $50 million over the course of a decade. But 5 years into our work, our strategic priorities and funding structure shifted, and consequently we adapted our approach to monitoring our impact. What would have been the mid-way point of our programmes now marks the completion of this first phase of work. We have therefore employed our structured M&E methodology to evaluate these first 5 years, whilst developing a flexible approach to continue to monitor the progress of phase 2 of the Global Water Initiative in West Africa.