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Assess and bring in required technical skills to ensure project success


Assess and bring in required technical skills to ensure project success

Assess and bring in required technical skills to ensure project success

Posted on August 22, 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


Depending on the project context, a water stewardship project may require specific technical skills beyond the skills already held by project partners. This is especially likely if the project falls outside the traditional realm of typical water resources management familiar to existing project partners. Example projects that surpass the arena of typical water management include projects with a software development or building infrastructure component. At the outset of the project, partners should assess what additional technical skills are required. Often, existing partners can be trained in the necessary skills. If not, partners can engage external consultants to bring in additional skills.


By ensuring that the required technical skills and “know-how” are available within a project partnership, whether within the partners themselves or through external consultants, the project is more likely to implement technically sound, effective interventions. Without sufficient experience in the relevant interventions, project implementation is more likely to be inefficient or ineffective.


  • Conduct a skills gap analysis of the partnership to see if the requisite technical skills are available or if external help is required.
  • If technical skills are only required for a short period of time, consider including technology providers as paid contractors managed by a local project manager rather than as partners. This strategy avoids wasting limited resources to manage many partners.
  • Where necessary for longer-term maintenance of project work, ensure that the required technical skills are developed through capacity building of partners or local enterprises. External training facilitators may be needed for this. By ensuring local technical capacity is present, local ownership of the project is increased.


The Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN) in South Africa  contracted technical consultants, who then worked with partners to reduce water losses through the implementation of the Water Administration System (WAS). This system allows irrigation schemes to better manage water releases, resulting in water savings, improved financial performance, and productivity of the scheme. To date, WAS has achieved water savings of over 100 million m3 across 32 irrigation schemes. Although the partners within SWPN did not have the technical expertise to implement WAS themselves, the project was able to drastically improve water saving in the catchment by recognising the need to bring in technical experts.

Projects that have validated this Lesson

Aprovechamiento con recirculación de fluidos, en sistemas de Economía Circular, para problación Migrante, con tratamientos de aguas residuales y separación de aceites y contaminantes a través de filtros activos mediante nudos de conexión en tramos del Rio Táchira, Río Pamplonita … 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.