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GWI in West Africa - Capitalising on the lessons of 10 years of interventions in the governance of large water infrastructure schemes: a review of experience

Madiodio Niasse

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The Global Water Initiative in West Africa (GWI) programme, supported by the Howard G. Buffet Foundation and implemented by IIED and IUCN, has been active between 2007 and 2017. The objective of the programme was to strengthen the governance of large water management infrastructures (dams and irrigation schemes), while giving special attention to the local people who feel the impact of these projects most directly: the communities affected by the building of the infrastructure, and the existing family smallholders in the irrigation schemes.

This report follows on from the independent external review carried out of GWI in 2016 which analysed the results of the programme in terms of its influence on policy. It looks at the lessons learned from ten years of GWI’s work through a selection of the ten main successes achieved by the programme. They are analysed in terms of: the relevance and added value of these advances in the light of the questions and challenges in the sector; the nature of the action carried out and solutions applied; the results achieved; the scale of the results, the sustainability of these solutions and how easy they are to replicate; and the lessons of each achievement.

This review of GWI’s ten years of activity is designed to provide stakeholders in the water and land management sectors, in West Africa and globally, with a succinct reference document to help in decision-making, especially in the drawing up development projects and programmes as well as policies on the governance of water and land, including large water infrastructure.

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Niasse M. (2017) GWI in West Africa - Capitalising on the lessons of 10 years of interventions in the governance of large water infrastructure schemes: a review of experience. GWI West Africa.
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Agriculture in large-scale rice irrigation schemes needs to be made to work for both the state, in terms of economic returns and national food security, and for the smallholders whose livelihoods depend on it. When it comes to the development of new dams and large-scale irrigation, more information is needed about their economic viability and how the water, land, and economic benefits can be shared equitably to support local development.

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GWI West Africa: project background

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