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 This site is no longer being updated, but allows access to GWI outputs until 1 October 2020 when it will also close.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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Working well as a consortium: trust, sharing, strategy

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. The documents listed below showcase our approach to consortium working.


Eight things that worked well for GWI 


  1. Being aware that building trust and confidence takes time, requires maximum transparency with real time communication and a deliberate effort to pause and reflect as progress is made. The agenda of regional consortium priorities was set by the GWI participants. 
  2. The regional strategic committee (formed of the senior staff of partners in the regional consortium) examined/approved options for strategic intervention under the programme, as well as the projects and the budgets proposed by the country consortia. This committee worked well and was the basis for the programme coordination. It took strategic (not operational) decisions.
  3. IIED coordinated the programme and chaired the regional committee but delivered only 2.5% of the field programme budget. This allowed a more impartial role than if IIED had a more significant vested interest.
  4. A small regional team ensured coherence across the five country programme, identifying common ground and being familiar with delivery challenges in all five countries.  
  5. Regional learning and planning events involving three or four staff per country allowed staff to learn and alter their approach and behaviour, adopting good ideas from other countries and incorporating them in their own workplans. While the regional committee established the strategy and principles at regional level, budgets were negotiated between the national partners, usually without any regional intervention. 
  6. Where administrative standards (e.g. per diems) differed between partners, an internal GWI code of practice was established. This also clarified issues of individual and collective responsibility and the role of the national coordinator on issues such as communications, donor recognition, official correspondence etc.
  7. The regional M&E process provided a clear regional framework for all partners to work to and report on.
  8. Constantly keeping the focus on what we are trying to achieve, and how, rather than on who receives what % of a budget or overheads. Allocating funds in a transparent process with clear rules and guidelines. 





Foundations for learning and influence, 6-month report

December 2012 activity report to HGBF

GWI Regional Strategy for West Africa

GWI influencing strategy (2008)