Search Results for 'communication'


Communication and knowledge management (KM) are among the pillars of the ‘Research for Development’ (R4D) approach of the Nile Basin Development Challenge and the wider Challenge Program for Water and Food (CPWF), as the recently published NBDC institutional history stressed.

On 2 and 3 December 2013,  the CPWF organized a workshop on communication and knowledge management to review the results of CPWF in these areas.

The workshop involved twelve participants from the six basins involved in CPWF (Andes, Ganges, Limpopo, Mekong, Nile and Volta), mostly communication/KM specialists but also the basin leaders for the Andes and Limpopo basins and an external consultant. Over the two days, they presented their communication and KM work and teased out some stories that illustrated the successes and challenges of each Basin’s experience. Finally, the group collectively developed a series of a) specific innovations that they thought were excellent examples that might be applied elsewhere and b) lessons and principles that matter for CKM to be performing better in wider programs.

The NBDC case was presented by Ewen Le Borgne:

Following this workshop, Michael Victor, the communication and knowledge management coordinator for CPWF was interviewed by Ewen Le Borgne to reflect back on the objectives and results of CPWF and NBDC. 

Ewen Le Borgne (ELB): What did CPWF set out to do with communication and knowledge management?

Michael Victor (MV):

When I arrived as a ‘comms guy’ I wanted to show that communication is not just about stories, but in CGIAR there was a lot of segmentation and silos. Boru Douthwaite (then head of CPWF Innovation and Impact) was very visionary about the integration of KM, comms, information management, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), so we had this great idea about integrating all these domains, wondering how to work together with people working in these related domains. And we struggled with that. We had a breakthrough meeting in 2012 where we started to see that learning was in the middle. The tools used in M&E (e.g. Outcome Mapping, Social Network Analysis) are not exclusive to it, they can be used for a whole series of purposes. There was recognition that we were bringing different expertise around similar tools. What we set out to do was to develop this overall approach, recognizing that we were moving towards programmatic approach to KM. this meant that different aspects of KM (M&E, Comms and Info) were seen as a strategic function helping research get to outcomes, rather than as administrative or support functions.

Michael Victor, leading communication work in the Challenge Program for Water and Food (Photo credit: CPWF)

Michael Victor, leading communication work in the Challenge Program for Water and Food (Photo credit: CPWF)

(ELB): What worked and what didn’t, generally?

(MV):  By the end, what worked well was this blurred boundaries approach. Everyone recognizes the role of KM in R4D, it’s very clear. That worked really well. Our whole decentralized approach worked really well, having this range of KM approaches across different basins, and how it came together was very valuable.

What didn’t work very well was moving communication activities beyond products and making sure they are seen as part of a wider change process.  We also did not evaluate and monitor our KM activities that well. The ‘learning’ or research on these aspects were weak and therefore has been difficult to show the benefits of this approach.

Perhaps also the comms side came off too strong, while other people (e.g. some basin leaders) wanted to understand the KM process behind this work.

(ELB): Specifically about the NBDC?

(MV):  When I started, I wanted to build upon the initial basins that were already developing their systems. Peter Ballantyne had this great approach of using NBDC as an experiment. I realized he had a vision and had the tools to do it. So I piggybacked what Peter did e.g. with CGSpace, rolling out wikis. NBDC were the first basin to roll out with the Mekong (and Andes).

One of the great things for NBDC was testing out all these tools and seeing it as an experiment for when CRPs were to be rolled out more widely

From the Mekong we also took ideas related to branding and identify (where the basin logos came from).

No other basin was developing anything replicable. NBDC was trying things in their institutional context, linking with innovation platforms, embedding comms and KM in the basin etc.

(ELB): How do we capitalize on the NBDC and CPWF work on communication and knowledge management?

(MV):  What we did last week (i.e. with the kmc4CRP workshop): Working with CGIAR Research Programs and focusing on one-on-one, face-to-face interactions, making sure that we have the stories readily accessible. We should try to get – whenever we can – other people to use existing websites, wikis etc. disseminating strategically.

See the results from the CPWF Communication and KM workshop

Farmers from Fogera telling their stories using participatory videoThe Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC), funded by the CGIAR Challenge Program for Water and Food (CPWF), is currently working with innovation platforms to improve the resilience of rural livelihoods in the Ethiopian highlands through a landscape approach to rainwater management (RWM).

Rainwater management interventions in Ethiopia have historically been implemented in a top-down fashion and this has led to several challenges to effective implementation, often revolving around issues of participation.

In this basin, we have established three platforms, Diga and Jeldu in Oromiya region and Fogera in Amhara region. The aim of the platforms is to bring a range of stakeholders together to identify technical and institutional challenges around RWM, enhance communication, coordination and knowledge sharing and develop joint action to bring about change.

Stakeholders include local government administration, members of the bureau of agriculture, national research institutes, a local NGO and community leaders. However, more needs to be done to ensure that community views are adequately represented.

In 2011, CPWF awarded a grant through its Innovation Fund to investigate and document the effectiveness of participatory video (PV) as a tool to bring local issues to the attention of planners and implementers of rainwater management interventions in Ethiopia.

The resulting participatory video made by community members from three kebeles in Fogera woreda was recently shown to members of the Fogera Innovation Platform (IP). The video, titled ‘A Rope to Tie a Lion’, captures community views on land and water management and focused on three issues: unrestricted grazing, water stress and government-led soil and water conservation work. See here for more information about the PV process we followed.

The film received a positive response from members of the innovation platform who seemed to gain some insight into community perspectives.

A national researcher stated ‘We have a lot to learn from community members. I have now come to realize that the farming community is capable of identifying problems and indicating solutions’.

A member of the woreda administration said ‘Today I have come to realize that farmers can play a role in solving their problems by participating actively. It is advisable to keep involving farmers in discussions, they should participate in all stages, from planning and preparation to implementation’.

Many of the IP members expressed surprise at farmers’ ability to handle video technology. One stakeholder said ‘I never imagined that they had the capacity to acquaint themselves with technology so fast. I am amazed to see farmers handle the cameras with such competence’. However, the novelty of seeing a video produced by farmers may have overshadowed the messages being expressed. The extent to which IP members really listened to the content is uncertain, but it has been a useful first step towards increasing community voice within the platform. Members of the Fogera NBDC Innovation Platform watch a participatory video made by community members

In discussions following the screening, IP members decided to pilot area enclosures and back-yard fodder development to address the issue of ‘unrestricted grazing’. Restricting the movement of livestock was prioritized because livestock are considered to contribute to land degradation and impact negatively on the soil and water conservation measures currently being implemented by the government. However, if restricting grazing is to be feasible, alternative sources of fodder must be provided.

A specific micro-watershed was selected by the platform with the aim of enclosing part of a communal grazing area to grow fodder that can be cut and carried to surrounding homesteads. Sufficient amounts of fodder cannot be produced from the selected area alone, therefore farmers will be provided with additional fodder plants which they can plant at their homesteads. The hope is that these interventions will enable farmers to gradually move towards keeping their livestock at home rather than allowing them to graze freely and so contribute to better land and water management. IP members also believe that better feeding and livestock management strategies will improve the livelihoods of community members.

However, as the video demonstrates, restricting grazing is a controversial issue that will be hard to tackle due to differences in perspectives between farmers and decision makers. Community members have expressed a number of concerns. For example, those without livestock will no longer be able to collect dung for fuel from communal grazing areas; if cattle are no longer gathered in communal areas, breeding will be difficult; keeping livestock at home without sufficient fodder will require additional time and labour to search for feed; and those with less land worry they will be unable to provide for their livestock’s fodder needs.

These are valid concerns which will need to be considered if the interventions are to be successful. During the PV exercise local development agents were informally consulted in order to gauge why they think community members are reluctant to limit livestock movements. Many seemed bewildered and cited farmer ‘lack of awareness’ as a reason, but did not convey any of the reasons captured during the PV process. It is not certain what attempts, if any, have been made by development agents to understand these issues from the farmers’ point of view.

Even though the PV process has enabled community members to voice their views to the platform, this does not guarantee that these views, and the diverse livelihood strategies and needs of community members, will be taken into account when developing and implementing the proposed interventions. Community members in the selected intervention area were not involved in the participatory video work so have not yet been sufficiently engaged and may not be aware of the innovation platform aims and activities. The platform members themselves will be responsible for working with them and although many talk convincingly about the need to include community members it is apparent that there is considerable variation in interpretations of what ‘participation’ means in reality.

While tools such as PV can help to establish lines of communication between farmers and decision makers and prompt a degree of reflection, which is particularly important in areas where farmers are often perceived as ‘backwards’ by higher level actors, this is not enough. There still needs to be attitudinal change on the part of higher level actors and a willingness to listen to farmers’ views; broader changes in the culture of decision making among higher level stakeholders, particularly more flexibility in the planning and implementation of policy at local level; and an openness by community members to engage, although this requires trust to be established. None of this is easy to accomplish.

In this particular situation, continuous engagement is required to build on the PV work and achieve more meaningful change. The video will be screened to the targeted community members to try and build trust and understanding of the innovation platform process. The next steps will bridge gaps between IP members and community members through practical engagement. This will include providing training and capacity building to platform members to further foster participatory approaches and encourage reflection on both the process and outcomes so far in order to consolidate learning.

Watch the community’s video here:

Rainwater management in the Ethiopian highlands: The Nile Basin Development Challenge

Water scarcity and land degradation strongly affect the livelihoods of millions of households in Sub-Saharan Africa. Water for agriculture – used to grow the food and feed that people and animals need – consumes 70 to 90% of the all water used in the region.

Over 14 million people live in the Blue Nile area. Two-thirds of this densely-populated area is highland, receiving high levels of rainfall. Rainfall, runoff and sediment are erratic; dry spells significantly reduce crop yields and sometimes lead to total crop failure.

High population pressure and use of marginal land are causing land and ecosystem degradation in many parts of the Blue Nile, with significant loss of water quality downstream. The high sediment loads result in large costs for irrigation canal cleaning and reservoir dredging. Degradation also results in a downward spiral of poverty and food insecurity for millions of people in Ethiopia and the downstream countries.

To meet the needs of growing populations, we need to reverse land degradation and improve water productivity. We need to produce more food with less water.

The challenge …

One promising strategy is to adopt improved water management systems and practices. These can help to increase land and labor productivity, produce more food at a lower cost, generate employment and, in general, foster equitable economic growth. Rainwater management interventions, such as improving soil water holding capacity, enhancing crop and livestock water productivity, improving efficiency of small scale irrigation, efficient use of ground water wells, diversion, or water harvesting, can significantly contribute to poverty reduction. While different livestock feeding strategies and interventions can also minimize water depletion and improve positive impact on livelihoods, environmental health and resilience.

The Nile Basin Development Challenge (Nile BDC) is funded by the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) to improve the resilience of rural livelihoods in the Ethiopian highlands through a landscape (watershed) approach to rainwater management.

Blue Nile falls, Nile Basin Development Challenges (NBDC) site.

The NBDC research challenge comprises five linked projects:

Learning about rainwater management systems. This project reviews past and ongoing activities, compiles an inventory of actors, and identifies best practices for dissemination and use.

Integrating technologies, policies and institutions. This project will develop integrated rainwater management strategies – to slow down land degradation and reduce downstream siltation.

Targeting and scaling out of rainwater management systems. This project will better target or ‘match’ promising technologies with particular environments, thus overcoming the limited success and impact of many past agricultural development efforts.

Assessing and anticipating the consequences of innovation in rainwater management systems. This project will quantify the consequences of improved rainwater management, measuring downstream, cross-scale consequences of successful innovation in the Ethiopian highlands.

Catalyzing platforms for learning, communication and coordination. This project provides a multi-stakeholder platform for all the projects in support of improved communication, innovation and adaptive management.

Our ambitions …

If this development Challenge is successfully met, best practices for rainwater management will be developed and implemented at landscape scales across agro-ecosystems in the Ethiopian Highlands. These will minimize unproductive water losses, soil erosion and nutrient mining across landscapes. Appropriate rainwater harvesting technologies will be deployed, maintained and monitored. Small-scale irrigation techniques would allow farmers to efficiently irrigate their crops and forages. The management system will enable farmers to exploit rainwater for multiple uses, including livestock and fisheries. And overall landscape water productivity will improve. There will be policy adjustments which yield greater focus on rainwater management in the Blue Nile Basin. The system will integrate the needs and decisions of local (formal and communal) institutions, which will in turn work to implement and maintain it. The success of the projects, and the lessons learned will prompt its uptake by government and development agencies leading to the widespread implementation of the system across the Nile River Basin.

Nile BDC will provide planning and management tools for efficient use of water resources that would benefit policy makers, farmers, water managers, irrigation planners and development and extension authorities. It will facilitate cross-basin learning and generate new knowledge for Ethiopia, the basin and the global research community at large

Multi-stakeholder platform …

To ensure that the five projects are well-connected with each other and with other stakeholders, a coordination project will foster learning in support of improved practices and adaptive management across the Nile BDC projects and with other related initiatives.

Five main activities are envisaged:

Impact pathways: facilitate interaction of all Nile BDC projects, developing a network map and impact pathways that align all research activities and outputs to deliver outcomes and impacts, and deliver good coordination, quality research and adaptive management.

Networks and platforms:  engage networks of actors and stakeholders, fostering improved rainwater management, catalyzing institutional change, facilitating joint learning, and influencing behavior.

Communication: Capturing, processing and communicating key lessons from wider BDC actors and projects, facilitating information flows and linkages among sector actors, creating regular forums where investors and development actors interact and debate with policy makers at regional and federal levels.

Capacity building: Mentoring project teams and wider actors to strengthen their capacities, putting in place quality controls, and improving skills in project design and management.

Gender mainstreaming: Use (and facilitate projects to use) socially-optimal facilitation approaches to curtail elite capture of project activities and impacts by more powerful groups. Generate project outputs that are useful, appropriate and accessible for women.

The Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC) and the wider Challenge Program for Water and Food tried out several communication tools and approaches to make its research more useful and more likely to be used.

Among these tools and approaches, digital stories or photofilms) have proven to be great ways to place stories and human lives at the core of our work and thereby to capture and communicate the research we have conducted in more effective ways. Digital stories  help bring a lively and authentic feel to the stories shared. They can be used at field level for real life stories, as well as at higher levels to summarize conceptual work in a simpler way.

See an example of these digital stories below: a story weaving together the eight key messages of the Nile Basin Development Challenge and introducing a new paradigm for rainwater and land management in Ethiopia:

 

 

The latest NBDC technical report is an introductory guide to help people use photos, videos and audio files to develop such digital stories. The guide was produced for internal use by the Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC) but has wider usefulness.

The guide explains how to make a digital story. From interviewing and photographing to editing the pictures and audio-recordings and finally merging image and sound.

Download the guide

Discover 14 digital stories developed under the NBDC:

Discover these and all other NBDC videos

More on digital stories and photofilms at ILRI</em)

The Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC) was a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional participatory “research for development” (R4D) partnership that aimed to improve the resilience of rural livelihoods in the Ethiopian highlands through a landscape approach to rainwater management (RWM).

The NBDC used multiple means to learn lessons from its experience – this ‘Institutional History’ consolidates and communicates some of those lessons. It draws on the large collection of documents, informal and formal reports, minutes of meetings, etc. available through the NBDC wiki and website as well as interviews with 26 partners and stakeholders.

The lessons are embedded in the following areas

  1. Theory of change
  2. Research for development paradigm
  3. Partnerships
  4. Stakeholder engagement
  5. Innovation and innovations
  6. Knowledge integration
  7. Knowledge management and communication
  8. Program design and implementation
  9. Gender and participatory program design

Download the report

Today in Addis Ababa the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) hosted a learning share fair on agricultural water management. It was designed to celebrate 10 years IWMI engagement in Ethiopia and East Africa and to link with World Food Day and a series of meetings of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

Approximately 100 people from Ethiopia and beyond congregated in the plenary tent on the Addis Ababa campus. First on the agenda: a retrospective on IWMI in East Africa.

IWMI retrospective

Doug Merrey, first IWMI Director for Africa explained how the East Africa office in Ethiopia grew out of discussions in early 2000, a December 2002 national workshop bringing together all agricultural water management actors in the country, and resulted in an IWMI agreement with the Ministry of Water in 2003.

Key elements in the establishment and subsequent operations of the office included a strong IWMI partnership with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) as well as evolving partnerships with the Ministry of Water initially, then with the agriculture ministry, research organizations, NGOs, universities and other organizations.

After this brief historical retrospective, Simon Langan, Head of the IWMI East Africa office also reported on IWMI achievement in the past 10 years.

First, he identified 20 significant projects in the past 10 years as the basis on which IWMI built its achievements in the region. He particualrly highlighted:

  • The Nile Basin Development Challenge – a strong partnership with national partners to address land and water issues at a landscape scale;
  • IMAWESA – an IFAD-funded water management best practice network across east Africa
  • Agwater management solutions – a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project that assessed different interventions and their uptake
  • LIVES – a new Canada-supported program with ILRI with a systems focus on the crop-livestock-irrigation interface

Second, he highlights the publications – reports, papers and books – produced by the office as a contribution to the evidence base for agricultural water management practice and decision making. The tally includes 8 books, 83 journal articles, 104 proceedings and many policy briefs, investment briefs and research reports.

Third, he pointed out some capacity building dimensions of the work of the office: More than 80 MSc students, 11 PhD students, several interns and 6 postdoctoral fellows supported through various projects.

Fourth, he highlighted the importance of partnerships – across CGIAR centres, with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Nile Basin Inititiative, the  Global Water Initiative and with universities.

All in all – “A lot to be proud of and to build upon.” He emphasized that the share fair is designed  to be an opportunity to strengthen these partnerships , to share, and to learn …

Communal river of learning

Following the brief summary of IWMI achievements in the region, participants were asked to contribute their institutional and personal achievements along a timeline. Some of the achievements posted were:

  • Livestock-water productivity concept
  • Active network of agricultural water management partners
  • Participatory communication and role-playing
  • Empirical evidence of agricultural water management impacts on poverty
  • Water evaluation and planning tool
  • Community based participatory watershed planning guidelines
  • Review of policy institutions on land and water
  • Tools for improving irrigation performance
  • Substantial evolution of Ethiopian sustainable land management policies
  • Developed PhD program in civil and water resources engineering
  • Multidisciplinary assessment on water productivity
  • Development agents training and experience sharing on land-water linkages
  • Launch of regional charter on investment in water for agriculture
  • Stakeholders engaged in participatory natural resource management planning and implementation in 3 NBDC watersheds
  • Concepts and principles of innovation platforms have been applied in practical rainwater management efforts
  • Established Ethiopian Institute of Water Resources at Addis Ababa University

Share fair actors

Who attended the meeting? the list includes RIPPLE, ILRI, CRS, Care east Africa, OXFAM America, HUNDEE (Oromo Grassroots Development Institute), Ethiopian Institute of Water Resources, Ministry of Water Development, IFAD, CPWF, IFPRI, MetaMeta, ICRISAT, SEI, Global Water Initiative, Ministry of Agriculture, ENTRO, FAO, ODI …

The share fair was designed and facilitated by Ms. Nadia Manning-Thomas for IWMI

Nile Basin Development Challenge experience in Ethiopia shows that natural resource management (NRM) requires multi-sector integration and the strong involvement of farmers to identify problems and implement solutions. However, research shows there is a ‘disconnect’ between farmers and decision makers in their perceptions of NRM problems and ideas for solutions.

Participatory tools – such as ‘WAT-A-GAME‘ that can be used to encourage better communication and joint understanding among different actors are essential for successful planning processes. NBDC researchers, in collaboration with the AfroMaison project and local partners, have been experimenting with the WAT-A-GAME tool in Fogera, Ethiopia. 

Learning event

Mulugeta Lemenih facilitates the WAT-A-GAME learning event (Photo credit: ILRI / Apollo Habtamu)

Mulugeta Lemenih facilitates the WAT-A-GAME learning event (Photo credit: ILRI / Apollo Habtamu)

In February 2013 a ‘learning event’ was organized to present the tool and experiences from Fogera woreda to an expert group of regional and national partners. The participants included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ethiopian Insitutue of Agricultural Research, OXFAM- African Climate Change Resilience Alliance, Forum for Environment Ethiopia, Ethio Wetlands and Natural Resources Association, Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre, Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Ethiopian Rainwater Harvesting Association, World Vision Ethiopia, Hundee-Oromo Grassroots Development Initiative, Fogera Woreda Livestock Agency and SOS Sahel Ethiopia.  The aim of the event was to discuss the tool and its potential use in supporting landscape scale strategy development for integrated NRM at a larger scale. Participants played the game using two similar game boards designed for the Fogera landscape. Seven volunteer participants from each group represented the farmers living in the highland, mid-land and wetland areas and also a landless farmer.

After the learning event, participants raised many questions:

  • Was the tool new?
  • Does ‘landscape’ mean the same as ‘watershed’?
  • Were users surveyed before and after they played the game?
  • What time framework is involved in playing the game?
  • Participants gave constructive feedback on the game itself and how to make it useful for other organizations and experts working in the area of NRM.

All agreed on the need to simplify the tool and called for further research to investigate ways in which the tool could be used to complement current government approaches towards watershed management. They also suggested that community level representatives should be grouped by gender and that land management strategies should be developed separately to ensure that women’s views are recognized.

More generally, playing the game stimulated a discussion around different approaches towards integrated planning of NRM used in Ethiopia. It seems that most of the approaches in the past lacked genuine community participation and they failed to create a sense of ownership. At the learning event it was agreed that the WAG tool could usefully complement ongoing watershed management planning and implementation.

Participants also felt that the role playing element would help communities better understand their problems, from household to landscape levels, and give them an opportunity to identify potential solutions from their own perspectives. The game also presents an opportunity for decision makers to better understand the challenges facing communities in the implementation of NRM interventions.

Some participants showed interest in taking and adapting the tool to their own organizations and programs. However, a simple set of guidelines is needed to explain how to design the game board for a specific landscape and then to use the game effectively to reflect and address different actors’ views. This will help the scaling up of the tool by other organizations. In-depth training is also needed for organizations that are interested to use it in their project sites with necessary documents and materials.

See this presentation about using WAT-A-GAME for participatory NRM planning in Fogera – presented at the NBDC science meeting in July 2013:

Read the WAT-A-GAME brief

On 21 May, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) convened a sharefair to share lessons, identify promising solutions and ultimately improve the impact of investments in water in the Ethiopia country program.

Participants arrived at the following conclusions:

  1. Partnerships:
    • Projects should ensure better integration between research institutions/researchers, tertiary institutions, and development practitioners
    • Projects can give voice to end-users; through activities and exposing their audiences at the regional and global level to the end-users
  2. Scaling up and out:
    • Engage the right actors from the beginning so scaling is part of the full process
    • Trust and effective communications between stakeholders and partners helps ensure research is used beyond the project cycle
  3. Challenges:
    • Limited local institutional and university capacity
    • Technical challenges in up-scaling; in some cases, the smallholdings are too small
  4. Innovations:
    • Combining traditional, new technologies; integrating new into existing systems
    • Engaging young professional workers into networks/projects

The NBDC team also helped organise this special event.

Read the final report of the Water Grants Share Fair as well as other materials presented

The CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food just published a new report from the Nile Basin setting out ways to enhance rainwater management (RWM) development processes.

In Ethiopia, considerable potential exists to enhance food production and rural livelihoods through better rainwater management – interventions which enable smallholder farmers to increase agricultural production – focusing on livestock, trees, fish as well as crops – by making better use of available rainwater while sustaining the natural resource base (water and soils) in rainfed farming systems.

Ethiopia has invested extensively in RWM interventions, in particular soil and water conservation and afforestation, over the last 40 years, but often with disappointing impact, for multiple reasons. Given this limited success in natural resource conservation, a new approach is clearly needed, but what should it be?

This report highlighted various livelihood issues that need to be considered if RWM activities are to be successful; it concludes with six recommendations:

  1. Shift the focus of targets from outputs to outcomes;
  2. Enhance monitoring and evidence collection on RWM with a focus on impact and sustainability;
  3. Revitalize and capitalize on the development agent system;
  4. Strengthen local institutions’ roles in natural resource management;
  5. Move towards more meaningful participation;
  6. Open lines of communication to foster innovation capacity.

Download the report

2013 is the final year for the Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC). On 20 and 21 February 2013, the NBDC convened a meeting of the  National Land and Water Management Platform to review progress and directions for the coming phase.

Group photo: NBDC / Land and Water Management National Platform Meeting 4 (Credit: ILRI/Zerihun Sewunet)

Group photo: NBDC / Land and Water Management National Platform Meeting 4 (Credit: ILRI/Zerihun Sewunet)

The workshop reflected on past work – approaches developed, research findings, key messages – in order to prioritize future interventions. Over 60 participants from partner organizations and other governmental, research and non-governmental institutions participated to the two-day workshop.

After an introduction to the NBDC timeline, some key messages compiled by project staff were presented and discussed. A series of NBDC approaches, methods or areas of work were introduced later in the day: innovation platforms and recent insights, modeling, Wat-A-Game, Happy Strategies game, GIS, Goblet tool and suitability maps, participatory hydrological monitoring, digital stories and participatory video, and local planning processes.

The participants formed groups to discuss the relevance of the messages they heard and to identify priority activities to build upon NBDC work and embed it in organizational and individual practices. A special policy session also looked at possible contributions of the NBDC to priority development challnges in Ethiopia.

At the end of the workshop, the Nile basin leaders Simon Langan and Alan Duncan reflected on the feedback received and the directions that the NBDC will take. Key directions include: repackaging research in accessible ways for farmers, policy-makers and other organizations; focusing on capacity development; finding practical ways to bring farmers’ and scientists’ voices together in crafting common approaches and discourse; addressing the regional gaps between local level work and national level engagement; and joining forces with existing initiatives that can reinforce the messages of the NBDC such as the Sustainable Land Management program.

Read the notes of the meeting.

Discover pictures from the event.