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Headshot - Laure Tankpinou

Laure Tankpinou

Project Director, Cowater International

ECED-Sahel was a five-year, collaborative program targeting livelihood improvements by integrating water resource management into local community practices in Burkina Faso.


In the Sahel Region of Burkina Faso, only 56 percent of the population has access to clean water. Limited water is available for economic activities such as pastoralism and agriculture, fuelling poverty and insecurity. Armed conflict and climate stress are further reducing the viability of dryland livelihoods and increasing the number of internally displaced people.

Water and Sustainable Economic Growth in the Sahel (ECED-Sahel) was a five-year, $17.4 million program undertaken as a collaboration between Global Affairs Canada, Cowater International, Canadian gold mining company IAMGOLD Corporation, One Drop Foundation, and Burkinabe central and local authorities. ECED-Sahel targeted livelihood improvements at different levels by integrating water resource management into local community practices. It improved water treatment and provision for human consumption and agricultural use and strengthened the adoption by beneficiary communities of water, sanitation, and hygiene practices using a social arts approach.

The project’s key achievement was the design, procurement, and construction of a treatment plant to supply drinking water to more than 60,000 people in the region. 

ECED-Sahel operated in a challenging security environment from 2015 to 2020. Despite these difficulties, it helped over 75,000 people benefit from improved access to water resources and sanitation.

The project’s key achievement was the design, procurement, and construction of a treatment plant to supply drinking water to more than 60,000 people in the region. In addition to this, 26 water user associations, local institutions, and communities benefited from capacity building and institutional support on how to manage water resources and systems based on inclusive, good governance principles.

Cowater International was responsible for the overall management and delivery of the project in Burkina Faso — in particular, coordinating, supervising, and overseeing the procurement and implementation of engineering services. These included prefeasibility, feasibility, and design, as well as the construction of the water infrastructure itself.

Throughout the project, the principles of government engagement with local and national authorities, gradual handover of responsibilities, and an adaptive risk management framework were key for longer-term sustainability.

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