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Ensure in-depth and impactful consultation with key decision-making partners


Ensure in-depth and impactful consultation with key decision-making partners

Ensure in-depth and impactful consultation with key decision-making partners

Posted on August 13, 2019 by Karina de Souza

Authoring Organizations: Pacific Institute
Consulting Organizations: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Universal: No
Applicable Phases: Assess
Last Updated May 22, 2024


In-depth and considered consultation with key stakeholders will lead to a better partnership and meaningful solutions to local water challenges. Focused consultations with stakeholders and prospective partners can help identify the main local water challenges that impact them and validate supporting information already gathered to help with collective decision-making in a partnership. These consultations can also provide opportunities for stakeholders to articulate whether they need guidance, support, or capacity-building to make their contribution to the partnership.


Without adequate stakeholder engagement, interventions to address water challenges may not be accepted or adopted by prospective partners. Additionally, stakeholders may fail to maintain project work longer-term if they do not feel invested in the outcomes of the partnership.


  • Base the partnership and project on an existing problem that affects local stakeholders so that they are motivated to participate.
  • Broad stakeholder engagement should aim to understand and resolve conflicting stakeholder needs through discussion to establish the primary needs to be addressed by the partnership.
  • Design the solution according to the primary needs of stakeholders, such as sustained livelihoods or affordable interventions (low cost or in-kind contributions should be considered).
  • Ensure local stakeholders’ challenges are considered or incorporated into solutions to ensure ownership. Take sufficient time at the start of the partnership to make sure that all stakeholders are on the same page. Don’t rush into project activities and leave stakeholders behind. Better to have another iteration of the problem and proposed solution than a solution that doesn’t work for the majority.


The Pangani River Basin straddles Kenya and Tanzania with 95% of the catchment in the latter country. The Pangani Basin Water Board (PBWB), the Upper Kikuletwa Water User Association (WUA), the Tanzanian Horticulture Association (TAHA), Usa River Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (USAWASSA), the Meru District Council, Kiliflora Limited, and GIZ IWaSP Tanzania formed the SUWAMA partnership (Partnership for Sustainable Water Stewardship in Usa River) to address water challenges in the Usa river sub-catchment. To ensure coordinated action, the Pangani Basin Water Board works closely with important local stakeholders, including local government, community organisations, and businesses to address water-related challenges in the basin.

In the Usa River catchment, the Teema Spring, which feeds the community drinking water supply, was under threat from local pollution. The community who depended on the spring were invited to be closely involved in identifying water challenges as well as implementing solutions. The SUWAMA partnership identified source protection through local land management as a way to prevent water pollution from local community activities such as washing clothes near the spring or farming. This local solution made the challenge and solution more tangible to the community. Crucially, the community benefitting from the intervention contributed in a meaningful way to the solution. Local farmers and community members planted trees to prevent siltation from surrounding deforested areas and restored a local irrigation furrow. This community intervention created a local sense of ownership for the project because everyone felt invested.

Projects that have validated this Lesson

The Usa River in northern Tanzania is central to the livelihoods of the majority of the region’s companies, communities and individuals. From big business to small-scale farming, from wildlife reserves and lodges to village leaders and community groups, people in … Learn More

This lesson learned reflects the beliefs and experiences of the author, not necessarily the Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, or UN Global Compact.