Improving Rural and Peri-Urban Water Supply and Sanitation through Partnerships

Tetra Tech

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has been at the forefront of the West African Water Initiative (WAWI), contributing close to $24 million to support the project from 2002-2008. The initiative was a public-private partnership involving 14 strategic partners, and it generated more than $56 million in funds for three countries in West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Niger.

Project objectives

  • Provide access to safe water
  • Reduce the incidence of water-related diseases including trachoma, guinea worm, and diarrheal
  • Promote sustainable water management
  • Support sustainable and viable partnerships among all of the implementing actors and the local communities


  • Increased access to safe water — more than 100 existing water systems were repaired, more than 1,500 wells were drilled/rehabilitated in Ghana, Mali, and Niger, and more than 20 small water supply systems were constructed in Mali and Ghana
  • Improved sanitation and hygiene facilities — 25,000 latrines were constructed in the three target countries
  • Selective achievements in disease reduction in all three countries
  • Progress in working towards sustainable water management — water and sanitation committees have been established in all rural communities, members have been trained in management of facilities, and funds for operation and maintenance are being raised


  • Obtaining accurate and relevant data to determine the impact of health and hygiene interventions on behavior
  • Creating long-term partnerships with local governments is crucial for sustainability, yet also difficult in practice
  • Need for better coordination of field activities among partners, along with clearly defined responsibilities
  • Need for more equal and balanced funding among participating partners to improve project implementation and create a stronger partnership

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