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Provide partner capacity-building to create partnership sustainability


Provide partner capacity-building to create partnership sustainability

Provide partner capacity-building to create partnership sustainability

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: Act
Last Updated May 21, 2024


Developing partner capacity through education ensures partnerships are formed on an equal and sustainable footing. Training is a way to build partners’ capacity and understanding so that all partners can engage equally to address the water challenges that most affect them. For example, training partners and stakeholders on water issues in their catchment can motivate them to protect local water sources and sustain the partnership. Education may also embolden partners to provide valuable information to the partnership once they understand how the information might be useful.


When partners understand how water challenges and project interventions directly affect them and their communities, they will be more invested in project outcomes. And when partners understand how the intervention relates to their local water catchment and water supply, they will be better able to identify challenges and suggest appropriate responses. Providing education to a group of partners will expose them to new information and perspectives. This education may help partners request much needed support, which may not previously have been considered.


  • To gauge what is needed to develop partner understanding within the partnership, start with fewer partners and ensure their interest and commitment to the process.
  • Start with education on the water challenge the partnership wishes to address and how this challenge affects each partner. Beginning with the local effects of the water challenge creates a sense of common ownership.


In the Partnership for Sustainable Water Management (SUWAMA) in Tanzania’s Usa River catchment, GIZ International Water Stewardship Program educated the other partners and stakeholders regarding the broader water resource challenges in the catchment. Once stakeholders understood the worsening challenges of increasing water scarcity and poor water quality, they became more motivated to join the Water Users Association (WUA) in the Upper Kikuletwa catchment.

Increased capacity led to a deeper understanding of the interconnections between the large farming operations and the smaller scale farmers within the catchment. Through the GIZ educational program, local businesses trained smallholder farmers on-site. Sharing the business’ best practices for sustainable farming allowed them to contribute to local communities and helped to build trust between business and the community. This trust was hugely beneficial to the success of the SUWAMA partnership which included both businesses and community members.   

Because GIZ provided water education at the start of the partnership, other communities previously not included in the partnership heard about the benefits of the partnership and requested support. This additional interest allowed the partners to expand their activities by creating an inventory of water users (to improve water governance and management) and improving existing water infrastructure.

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.