The Global Water Initiative in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Senegal implemented the principles of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) at the community level. This meant engaging local stakeholders in the management of their own water resources, particularly by bringing together diverse voices and interests around a logical intervention point, such as a river basin, sub-basin, or even an individual water point.
GWI helped stakeholders develop participatory local water resource management plans for individual check dams (or “dugouts”), and for sub-basins covering several municipalities, as well as designing transboundary basin management agreements. We supported the shift in decentralising governance of natural resources from the state towards communal responsibility, through Community Action Plans (CAPs). These CAPs incorporated 5 focal themes: multiple usages of water, governance, infrastructure, conflict management, and sanitation.
In several countries we also involved local stakeholders in decentralised IWRM by means of municipal water days. These initiatives aimed to bridge the gap between local people and the officials in charge of managing rural water resources, fostering mutual understanding and collaboration. We found municipal water days to be a useful tool for improving the management of rural water resources in West Africa and potentially beyond, while also increasing the accountability of elected officers to their electorate for effective service delivery.
The resources listed below report on our experiences of involving local stakeholders in decentralised IWRM.