Water and the rural poor: interventions for improving livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa

This publication is the result of a joint effort by the FAO and the IFAD to address the linkage between water and rural poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. It takes stock of past experiences and demonstrates that there are many opportunities to invest in water in support of rural livelihoods. Its aim is to help decision-makers make informed choices on where and how to invest. It emphasizes the need for an approach where investments in infrastructure are matched with interventions in institutions, knowledge and finance in ways that yield optimal returns in terms of poverty reduction. It highlights the extreme heterogeneity of situations facing rural people across the region and the diversity of challenges and opportunities facing different categories of rural operators, stressing the need to adapt responses to these realities. It recognizes the multiple dimensions of the rural water challenge, and shows how people's livelihoods depend on reliable water sources for a wide variety of uses.