Social inclusion

The Community of Practice on Social Inclusion aims towards understanding how to better do project and program design to pay attention to social inclusion. 
The understanding of social inclusion is here:

  • How to include the normally excluded
  • How projects connect with local expertise, communities, policy, context etc. For example, attention to social inclusion is needed to make sure that capacity building or technical solutions or ideas are being plugged in with sufficient consideration of the local context, governance and communities.

The Community of Practice on Social Inclusion aims to do a joint exploration to understand how we can design programs and projects better for social inclusion? This can in turn guide Water adaptation Programs and Projects in general and in GCA.

The CoP will do this by organising an online workshop, including expertise and partners from around the world.

The long term aim is to produce a guidance – with design principles relevant for water climate adaptation outlined in a brief. For example, ten principles, illustrated by practical examples.

Social inclusion has been forwarded by many international actors as a good practice. Attention to project and program design with regards to social inclusion has many benefits:

  •  Empowering disadvantaged persons
  •  Creating long-lasting success for programmatic and project efforts and investments.
  •   Involving people can provide the strategic innovative capacity a project needs.

Programs and projects funded by donors and banks have therefore a great interest in having a proper approach to social inclusion.
However, there is a lot of knowledge available, and many good practices and cases, a lot of talking about social inclusion, but still, there is much more to be wished for in terms of implementation on the ground.  Despite intentions to address social inclusion, it is well known that many projects are designed in such a way that:

  • Stakeholders are excluded or not involved in a good way.
  • Not enough time is invested in developing local ownership and trust
  • Communication and perception challenges mean that interventions are not designed to enable change and participation. For example, there is a perception that poor cannot pay, but they often pay more for drinking water than people in high income areas.
  •  Participation is not incentivized as people need to spend time on earning a livelihood.
  •  External actors rarely allocate adequate resources for social inclusion aspects due to tight budgets or lack of knowledge.
  •  External actors, such as donors and NGOs, seen as intermediates, may not have the capacities to understand communities fully and may not act in their interest.

Given challenges such as these, it is highly relevant to better guide programmatic and project work for better social inclusion. It is also important to understand why there is a gap between knowledge and action. How can we work to bridge the gap?

The CoP on Social inclusion and GCA have common interests to make sure that social inclusion is applied in Programmes. The interest is also to further learning by forwarding insights that are relevant for a broader audience – who work on programming in general. As such consolidation and communication at a global platform is very relevant. The GCA global programmes could even provide an avenue for testing some of the ideas to develop them further.



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Social inclusion

Workshop (tbc) in February 2022

Some suggested objectives for a workshop:

  • Present an overview of how we understand social inclusion to date. Start with recapping existing discussions in the CoP and SIWI, and how we frame and understand Social inclusion to date. Share insights gained. We illustrate that by connecting to practical experience.
  • Framing the workshop in the spirit of sharing lessons learnt, need for learning from empirical on the ground experience, how projects really look like, pitfalls, and what we can learn from them. We should avoid having a high-level view on principles and what should be done but start with the empirical experience hands on in the field.
  • The existing conversation we then expand by bringing in new actors from the GCA platform and get other people onboard sharing social inclusive practice – insights from Locally-Led Action in GCA. How is social inclusion addressed in our programmes? What can be improved?
  • Understanding more concretely what benefits are there for program and project productivity? Can we put numbers and quantify this to convince people who are more skeptical?
  • Discussion on: Does the current understanding needs to be expanded? Defining an agenda on social inclusion – questions to work further – what our topics would be? What requires further attention? What is needed to enable social inclusive practice? What is it that we need to work on? What would be on the agenda to make social inclusion happen?

Target audience: Donors, water and adaptation professionals, project and program staff active in donor supported projects.

Planned outcomes for the workshop:

  • Have an agenda to continue working on for the future
  • GCA/WAC is interested in furthering the learning approach – and notion that we need to share failures to learn and improve. Failing forward.  
  •  Testing the principles on projects ongoing. Making social inclusion practical in our efforts. Having an ongoing dialogue on how it is going.
  • Identify target audiences (Donors etc) and follow up with them to give feedback on the guidance, take it onboard.
  •  Develop bottom up locally informed e-learning.


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