Building a Community of Practice for West Africa

Setting the stage

Water sector stakeholders in West Africa are increasingly realizing the importance of water integrity for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG6 – clean water and sanitation – and SDG16 – peace, justice, and strong institutions. To facilitate dialogue and help build a Community of Practice (CoP) for these stakeholders in the region, a workshop was organized by WIN last month in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Objectives of the first CoP meeting in Ouagadougou

The workshop, hosted by the Global Water Partnership, brought together actors from countries spanning West Africa including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger. Sub-regional organizations such as the Volta Basin Authority and the West African Regional Water Partnership were also represented.

Stimulating reflections on how to increase the use of WIN’s integrity tools in the region was basis for the workshop, with a focus on how to incorporate them into ongoing or new water projects and programmes in the sub-region. Raising funds for additional programmes with an integrity component was a core theme, and the group also strategized on how to further ensure support from public institutions for water integrity initiatives.

Funding national water integrity initiatives in West Africa

The CoP worked on solutions to overcome bottlenecks for implementation of activities promoting water integrity and explored financing options for national initiatives. Participants recognized that integrity initiatives at national level can no longer solely depend on international development aid, and instead must find opportunities at regional, national, and local levels. With a focus on solutions, participants identified several key approaches:

      • Seize opportunities that exist within the respective government water sector programmes in each country. National programmes such as those in Burkina Faso (Water Governance Programme, PNAEP, IWRM, Resource Mobilization Programme, etc.), Benin (Governance Programme, PAGIB Programme, Accountability Programme, etc.), Côte d’Ivoire (High Authority on Good Governance), Niger (PROSEHA) may offer opportunities to include a water integrity component.
      • Develop partnerships and connect to ongoing programmes in the sub-region with donors and partners including AfDB, World Bank, AFD, Danida, GIZ, and encourage water integrity components to be included into their action plan at the time of programming.
      • Ensure that water integrity issues are given special attention in the programmes of NGOs in the WASH sector at the national level (WaterAid, Plan International, IRC, WSSCC, Eau Vive, etc.) to.
      • Mobilize WIN’s expertise and contacts to help further support the national coalitions
      • Ensure national coalitions give visibility to their water integrity promotion initiatives. For example, present on the theme during national fora and other major events organized for the water sector, disseminate WIN tools and water integrity training manual. This may help raise awareness of water integrity issues and attract institutions, to mobilize funds.

The workshop concluded with a presentation of country-specific action plans and road maps, which members of the CoP should focus on in the months to come. Progress made by the members of the CoP shall be assessed during the African Water Week in 2018.

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