Watershed Ghana

In Ghana, the Watershed project has been implemented in Western Region, Ghana.

The main goal of the Watershed project in Ghana was to deliver improvements in the governance and management of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as well as water resources management (WRM) services. Among other things, its focus was to strengthen the capacity of national civil society to lobby and advocate (L&A) government and other WASH duty-bearers - towards measurable improvements in the quality and sustainability of WASH services.To meet the SDG initiatives (SDG 3 & 6), the key objectives of Watershed in Ghana were to:

  • Strengthen CSO/Community Groups’ skills to advocate for improved (local) government funding to WASH/WRM.
  • Strengthen appropriate government agencies for improved responsiveness to WASH & WRM issues and commitments.
  • Build knowledge and skills of CSOs/NGOs to engage in WASH/IWRM Advocacy.
  • Strengthen CSO capacities to track financial flows and budgets (i.e. allocation and use) for IWRM & WASH targets.

More precisely, key objectives for WASH Provision were to:

  • Strengthen skills for Sanitation L&A such as sanitation finance, access, etc.
  • Strengthen skills for National-level lobby and advocacy on WASH Financing.
  • Support the set-up and functionality of community advocacy groups.
  • Support the set-up and functionality of dialogue platforms for right-holders and duty-bearers so they can claim rights and demand accountability on WASH commitments.

In the discussions about the geographical location of intervention, it was emphasized that the decision should be based on considerations both from the WASH as well as from the IWRM perspective. Also the experience of the team member organisations in specific locations was taken into account. It was decided that the Ghana Watershed programme will focus both on the national as well as the district level in order to build capacities at national as well as the local level. For the selection of districts a set of criteria was developed by Wetlands (see the inception report). The Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Assembly, Western Region was finally selected as the project's intervention area at the district level.

The Theory of Change (ToC) has been developed by the Ghana Watershed team members in the ToC workshop together with key stakeholders from government agencies, NGOs and others. After the workshop, the ToC was refined by the Ghana Watershed team members. The ToC focuses on strengthening the capacities of both government agencies as well as CSOs. As suggested by the ToC facilitator Anita van der Laan, we mostly focused on outcomes. While working on the government and CSO strategies separately, we noted that these pathways are very much interlinked, so we connected these pathways where feasible. This can be seen in the diagram as well. While working on the ToC, we also realised we already included some activities. To guide the reader, we gave the different elements of the ToC different colours. The colour coding is as follows:

  • Green = Watershed strategies
  • Yellow = Outcomes related to the government
  • Blue = Outcomes related to the CSOs
  • Grey = Outcomes related to the private sector
  • Pink = Activities
  • Purple = Impact

After the workshop we had a very complex and extensive ToC with all the inputs from the stakeholders (see picture below). With the team we organized and narrowed down this complex ToC to a more workable ToC with various smaller pathways. This will help the team to select outcomes.

Revised ToC 


Watershed Ghana Theory of Change narratives

Strategy 1:  CSO engage with Government for improved planning, financing, and coordination for sustainable WASH and IWRM integration

Intervention Outcome Outcome Outcome Outcome Assumptions
Establish media platforms to provide space for discussions with government officials Government officials participate in media platforms to produce WASH and IWRM information Citizens feed into government planning on WASH and IWRM Government includes citizen recommendations into planning and coordination Government implements plans for sustainable WASH and IWRM Government will be open for CSO contributions and participation



Government (Ministries and agencies) are capacitated and resourced to deliver on objectives and targets


District and national level government are transparent about the funds they spend and the results they achieve by making information available to CSOs and citizens

Facilitate meetings with national and district level government to set up/ revamp platforms for dialogue between CSOs and Government Platforms for dialogue established / revamped by government to engage CSOs Platforms on WASH and IWRM coordinate and monitor the fulfilment of commitments CSOs engage government (National/District) for improvement of WASH and sustainable IWRM


Government improves coordination between sector agencies, DPs, private sector, CSOs and citizens


Generate evidence on IWRM/WASH financing to engage national and district government CSOs disseminate/use evidence (budget tracking and finance studies) to influence government and citizens



CSOs and citizens lobby district and national level government to prioritize WASH/IWRM and allocate more funds to improve WASH and ensure sustainable WRM Government allocates more funds based on existing commitment on WASH/IWRM







Strategy 2:  Strengthen Capacity of civil society organisations for evidence-based lobby and advocacy

Interventions Outcomes Outcomes Outcomes   Assumptions
Watershed partners assess and build the capacity of CSOs in lobbying and advocacy approaches




CSOs, CBOs and community groups have a basic understanding and knowledge in data management CSOs are better able to collect relevant and timely data from government agencies CSOs have the required skills to analyse data CSOs use available evidence in for effective L&A activities Well capacitated and resourced CSOs will effectively influence WASH and IWRM prioritisation, service delivery and demand for accountability and transparency from duty bearers


Government (Ministries and agencies) conducts periodic monitoring and make water quality data/information accessible

CSOs empower community groups to make clear demands for improvement in WASH and IWRM services at the local level Empowered citizens voice for improved sustainable WASH and IWRM services delivered by duty bearers Empowered citizens and CSO partners demand accountability from duty bearers CSOs hold WASH and IWRM state institutions accountable based on their mandate
Build capacity of Partner CSOs in budget analysis, tracking and reporting CSOs know how to track budget vs results and produce shadow reports, and hold duty bearers/DAs accountable CSOs constantly tracks investment commitments addressing WASH issues CSO partners engage the MSWR and the Parliamentary Select Committee over the budget allocation and disbursement for the WASH sector WASH and WRM funding are increased to meet set targets.
Strengthen capacity of CSOs to increase understanding on integration of WASH and WRM Increased and common understanding on (I)WRM – WASH integration among participating CSO members Increased capacity on (I)WRM – WASH integration among Partner CSOs CSOs can advocate for (I)WRM integration at both national and district levels  



The Watershed Ghana team consisted of four partners that are the followings:

  1. IRC led partners in the Watershed Ghana project. It is the knowledge development partner responsible for providing content and capacity development support on implementation elements related to sustainable WASH services, particularly WASH budgets and public finances.
  2. Simavi played a successful role in the implementation of Watershed project in Ghana. The organisation strives for a world in which all women and girls are socially and economically empowered to pursue their rights to live a healthy life free from discrimination, coercion and violence.
  3. Wetlands International fully participated as key partnerin the Watershed Ghana project. It is responsible for implementation, providing scientific and technical support for use and conservation of wetlands.
  4. Akvo Foundation led monitoring, evaluation and learning activities for the project. Akvo introduced technology solutions in the project to capture project data and information sharing. It is also responsible for supporting landscape partners in their efforts towards process documentation and to generate reliable evidence for advocacy.


Key stakeholders involved in the Watershed project in Ghana were:

  • Water Resources Commission (WRC) in Ghana
  • Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing (MWRWH),
  • Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD),
  • Ghana Water Company Ltd. (GWCL),
  • Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA)
  • Members of the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS),
  • Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)
  • Journalists Network, and several other NGOs,
  • Civil Society Organisations (CSOs),
  • Private private
  • Donor

Like in many african countries, Ghana's population was facing several problems in the WASH and WRM areas. The Watershed project Ghana was implemented based on the strategic observations in the WASH and WARM areas. The following observations were stated as the followings:

  • Failure to fulfil WASH Commitments: The Government of Ghana (GoG) has made series of commitments such as Ghana Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Compact, eThekwini, Sustainability Compact, and more recently, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are expressed in national policies. The level of fulfilment is hardly tracked, especially by CSOs.
  • Weak CSO Capacity for L&A: The presence of CSO coalitions and networks such as CONIWAS and the Ghana WASH Journalists Network (WASH JN), have presented a major opportunity for WASH L&A. However, their current level of engagement in lobby and advocacy is weak.
  • Dismal Sanitation Coverage: There is a huge access gap in sanitation with current coverage (2015) being 15%. Intensive CSO L&A is critical in this subsector largely targeting stakeholders at both national and subnational levels covering key messages such as innovative financing, compliance with standards, and implication of poor sanitation on health, among others.
  • Weak Community WASH Management Structures: The water, sanitation and management teams (WSMTs) set up and trained at the community levels were ineffective or non-functional.
  • Poor regulation of Multiple Use: There were competing demands for water which are presently not very well managed and are leading to water conflicts. For the Watershed programme multiple-level advocacy is required such as local and national level dialogues.
  • Absence of Sustained Community Engagement with Local Governments: Communities lacked capacity to engage with the local duty-bearers.

In the above context, the Watershed Ghana project provided an agenda to positively change the map in WASH and WARM to better help all the stakeholders in implementing L&A activities and the political will of the government policies and programmes.

The Watershed programme promotes “ evidence based advocacy” for improved WASH services and IWRM. All data collected within the programme are directed towards building evidence that supports lobby and advocacy initiatives in the projects. Data collection in Watershed Ghana was a continuous process where both Secondary and Primary data was collected, collated, analysed and disseminated to further the project advocacy objectives.

Please find below the latest project updates from team members of the Watershed Ghana consortium.