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 This site is no longer being updated, but allows access to GWI outputs until 1 October 2020 when it will also close.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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Securing the land rights of people affected by dams in West Africa

For a dam to contribute successfully to the sustainable development of society, local people must also benefit. And since the livelihoods of people in rural societies depend on land, proper land tenure is key to ensuring dams bring benefits for all. 

A new animation, produced by GWI West Africa, unpicks the challenges around getting fair compensation for affected people, and sets out the various stages to ensuring that expropriated farmers can securely invest and develop their new land after the dam's construction.

For governments, this may mean drawing up new policies and governance tools to use when building dams and irrigation schemes.

According to Jamie Skinner, director of GWI West Africa, this five-minute video is a useful way of breaking down the complex issue of land rights in relation to dams.

"Across West Africa, constructing large dams remains a thorny issue, causing huge numbers of people to lose their livelihoods", he said. "This animation explains the challenges in ensuring people are fairly compensated for loss of land and sets out, in a clear and accessible way, how new policies and governance tools can help secure the rights of those affected."

"It provides a quick and easy entry point for governments and other stakeholders – including donors, consultants and the communities themselves – to understand how the rights of displaced people can be protected, thereby ensuring dams benefit the many and not just the few."


This video can be streamed (top of the page) or downloaded (link below), and is also available in French.