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Match short-term activities with longer-term vision


Match short-term activities with longer-term vision

Match short-term activities with longer-term vision

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: Prepare
Last Updated May 22, 2024


The long-term vision of a partnership may get forgotten in the day-to-day delivery of individual projects. To deliver lasting impact on the ground, focus on the partnership’s overarching goals and ensure that each activity (whether it is a baseline study or capacity development training) contributes to the achievement of the overall vision.


Align short-term outputs with the partnership’s longer-term vision to increase efficiency and ensure impact, ultimately improving the sustainability of the catchment. If each step of project implementation serves the final goal, the project will achieve its overall vision.


When starting a partnership, ensure that the long-term vision and objectives for the partnership are collaboratively created through workshops and clearly articulated to participants and stakeholders. Establishing a vision helps stakeholders evaluate different activities within the partnership and contribute to the long-term vision. Consider outcomes such as behaviour change or new livelihoods as well as outputs such as a clean water supply.

In addition to an overarching vision, some partners may need to see how the outputs of the partnership benefit them individually. For instance, when engaging the private sector, emphasize how the stewardship programme contributes to company risk management and their return from  investment. Individual partner motivation may also  contribute to the broader vision that benefits the wider community as well as the partners involved.


The uMhlathuze Water Stewardship Partnership (UWASP) in South Africa was established in 2016. The partners include local businesses, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), the Catchment Management Agency of Pongolo-uMzimkulu, the National Business Initiative, the World Wildlife Fund, the Strategic Water Partners Network, and the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP). The partnership seeks to ensure water availability for residential and industrial use while securing sustainable livelihoods and protecting the environmental integrity of key ecosystems. One of the many activities within the partnership has been to improve the operations and management of the main dam providing water to businesses in the area as well as the municipality. A retired engineer who previously managed the hydrodam has been contracted on a short-term basis to provide mentorship, training, and capacity development to the new dam control officer and catchment engineer. This short-term action serves the longer-term vision of improved catchment management and therefore ensures resilience.

Projects that have validated this Lesson

The uMhlathuze Water Stewardship Partnership (UWASP) is a river basin collaboration of business, government and civil society partners established to address water security challenges in the uMhlathuze region of South Africa. UWASP aims to play a transformative role in the … 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.