SWOT analysis


A SWOT analysis involves examining and exploring the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) to the implementation of a National Water Safety Plan. This type of analysis identifies aspects of the plan that have a high likelihood of being successful, as well as potential barriers and obstacles to plan implementation. Strengths and weaknesses will be internal components of the plan, whilst opportunities and threats are caused by external factors that are usually beyond control of plan implementers. Some examples are listed below. 


  • The plan has been developed by a diverse, experienced team of stakeholders who have in-depth knowledge of the local drowning situation.
  • Formal support has been received for implementation of the plan from a range of meaningful stakeholders.


  • Funding is limited and may not be enough to cover all anticipated costs associated with plan implementation.
  • Risk factors associated with drowning are not well understood within certain population subgroups.


  • A country with a comparable drowning-burden profile has recently developed their own National Water Safety Plan and wish to provide support. 
  • A large multilateral organisation has recently announced grant funding which drowning prevention interventions selected as components of the plan are eligible for.


  • The implementation of the plan coincides with local government elections.
  • Community members are suspicious of drowning prevention interventions implemented as a result of the plan and refuse to be involved.

After completing an initial SWOT analysis for the water safety plan, it may be useful to review and expand upon it. You may want to consider circulating the analysis to relevant stakeholders to ensure all potential opportunities and threats are accounted for. 


  • A simple and cost-effective planning tool.
  • Outlines where further measures or research is needed.
  • Provides an opportunity to address weaknesses and threats before they become a reality.
  • May help refine details of a water safety plan.
  • An easy and cost-effective way to start engaging with stakeholders.
  • Identifying and seizing identified opportunities can enhance a water safety plan.


  • Stakeholders may become uneasy if many weaknesses and threats identified for the water safety plan that are unable to be addressed.
  • A SWOT analysis is only as detailed as the information included and therefore, may require external input.
  • The tool is simple and cannot be relied upon to mitigate all weaknesses and threats.
  • The SWOT analysis may need to be repeated if major changes to the local context occur. 


It is best to perform a SWOT analysis after initial design of a National Water Safety Plan and stakeholder mapping have taken place, but before a risk assessment is completed. This ensures that enough detail surrounding the plan has been established to fill each SWOT criteria, but prevents significant investment into activities the SWOT analysis shows not to be feasible.