Posted on September 30, 2019 by Karina de Souza
|Authoring Organizations:||Pacific Institute|
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
|Last Updated||May 17, 2022|
Having multiple essential partners provides a stronger foundation for lasting action on shared water-related challenges to achieve your desired partnership outcomes. This “critical mass” of partners helps to represent different stakeholder requirements (depending on the water challenges identified) and share the burden of delivery and maintenance of any projects.
When a water sustainability partnership is established with too few partners, the partnership may fail to represent the needs and opinions of the stakeholders most affected by the specific water challenge to be addressed. As a result, the partners may design a project that does not adequately address the needs of all water stakeholders.
On the other hand, a partnership with too many non-essential partners may become distracted from the ultimate goal, leading to disillusionment and the weakening of working relationships between stakeholders.
The Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) in Zambia has 25 partners, all with different levels of engagement. This structure resulted from a shift in focus from preventing groundwater pollution of urban water supplies to a more holistic goal of broader water security for the city, addressing a number of water challenges using a multi-stakeholder approach of complementary local and international organizations.
The partnership’s strength lies in its holistic approach. Multiple public institutions are involved to address water security in connection to related challenges like water supply and sanitation, groundwater pollution and urban flood risk management, rather than simply water pollution. This interconnected perspective on water-related issues will produce a more sustainable outcome.
However, LuWSI required a lot of resources to coordinate so many partners, even though some were ‘sleeping’ partners who were engaged in the beginning but whose input was not required longer-term. The large, inclusive nature of the partnership also caused an overlap to emerge between the partnership output and the delivery of the public sector water services mandate. To address this issue, the secretariat for the LuWSI partnership now currently sits with the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council in Lusaka (NWASCO). NWASCO supports LuWSI to oversee coordination of the partnership while the resulting projects are embedded within public sector institutions with the mandate for the various projects.
To strengthen multi-stakeholder collaboration to safeguard Lusaka's water resources while enhancing the sustainable and timely access to water and sanitation for all." Cooperation is crucial if the complex issue of water security is to be addressed sustainably. Water security is … Learn More
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This lesson learned reflects the beliefs and experiences of the author, not necessarily the Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, or UN Global Compact.