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TitleThe water and poverty initiative : what we can learn and what we must do
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsSoussan, J, Frans, D
Secondary TitleWater for all series / ADB
Volumeno. 3
Pagination27p. : 9 boxes
Date Published2004-01-01
PublisherAsian Development Bank
Place PublishedManila, Philippines
ISBN Number9715615171
Keywordsaccess to water, best practices, capacity building, community development, demand responsive approaches, disasters, environmental management, government organizations, institutional aspects, low-income communities, non-governmental organizations, participatory methods, partnerships, policies, poverty, recommendations, sdipol, water resources management

This book presents cases drawn from “best practice” case study papers produced for the Water and Poverty Initiative, a partnership of leading international organizations intended to create a greater awareness for advocacy and the development of strategies to achieve the potential of water as a key element in poverty reduction. Each case study seeks to demonstrate its own examples of practical ways of improving the role of water in poverty reduction. None are comprehensive or complete, all mix success with elements that could be improved, and all demonstrate clearly that water management alone is not enough. Half of the case studies are experimental while others are at varying more advanced stages of development. Most cases are well established in the sense that they have been operational for several years and have thus stood the test of time. However, a few cases have been initiated only relatively recently and highlight how agencies that have been generally conservative in the past are taking on broader, more participatory, poverty-focused, and holistic approaches to water resource development. In some cases, one or more government agencies are the key actors from outside the local community, while in others, a nongovernment organization took the lead while joint government-NGO action was reported in a few cases, as was international donor initiative and private sector leadership. Most cases involved poor men and women, while some focused on either only women or only men. Many cases deal with improved access to quality water, or pro-poor economic growth and livelihood improvement. Other cases focus on management of the environment, pro-poor water governance, and community capacity building and empowerment. Numerous case studies confirm that in schemes that do not specifically aim at reaching the poor, the relatively more prosperous sections of the community reap most of the benefits from water resources. Several of these case studies indicate that government agencies can deliver expected outputs and are even able to reach the poor efficiently and effectively. The single most obvious idea confirmed in most case study papers is that poverty reduction is possible only if the poor have secure access to safe and sufficient water for domestic and productive purposes. The overview presented here clearly demonstrates that there are many practical and cost-effective ways of making a difference. Improving different aspects of water management can and does have a direct and material impact on poverty.

NotesReference to thematic papers and case studies: p. 25, 26, 27


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