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Global Water Initiative – West Africa

The Global Water Initiative (GWI) was an action-research and advocacy programme that ran from 2008-2017. It sought to improve global food security by enabling farmers to better access, manage and use water resources for sustainable agricultural production.

GWI was funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and operated in three regions: Central America, East Africa and West Africa. The West Africa programme of GWI was implemented by IIED together with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The first phase of GWI (2008-12) focused on catchment level integrated water resource management (IWRM) and access to clean water services, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Our work also included research and advocacy on benefit-sharing from large dams that continued into phase two.

In the second phase (2012-17), 'Water for agriculture' looked at how 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. More information is needed about the economic viability of developing new dams and large-scale irrigation, and how the water, land, and economic benefits can be shared equitably to support local development. GWI addressed these issues through evidence-based participatory research and policy proposals with partners.

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GWI and IUCN logos

GWI West Africa projects, articles, blogs and news stories