Women


In late 2013, the Nile Basin Development Challenge developed eight key messages. Taken together, these messages form a new paradigm that can help further transform policies and programs and better enable poor smallholder farmers to improve their food security, livelihoods and incomes while conserving the natural resource base.

The first key message from the Nile Basin Development Challenge is to ’empower local communities and develop their leadership capacities to achieve long-term benefits and sustainable outcomes.’ Participatory design and planning on rainwater management interventions ensures key issues are addressed, the right pilot interventions are taking place and provides long term solutions with the commitment of everyone.

See the overall digital story ‘An integrated watershed rainwater management paradigm for Ethiopia: Key messages from the NBDC‘.

Download the brief covering the full set of key messages.

Read the full technical report “A new integrated watershed rainwater management paradigm for Ethiopia: Key messages from the Nile Basin Development Challenge, 2009–2013


This digital story was produced to communicate the key messages resulting from the Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC). The Nile BDC aimed to improve the livelihoods of farmers in the Ethiopian highlands through land and water management and was funded by the Challenge Program for Water and Food. The eight key messages constitute a ‘new integrated watershed rainwater management paradigm’ and are based on the outputs and outcomes of trans-disciplinary scientific research for development.

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Community members from Limbichoch village discuss enclosure of grazing land with ILRI researcher. Photo: ILRI

Gender is a word that usually provokes a response, often either of eye-rolling or ardent interest. All too often, addressing gender, through gathering gender-disaggregating data or making sure to include women in all project activities, becomes an exercise in box ticking.

In this blog post for the Water, Land and Ecosystems research program, NBDC researchers Katherine Snyder and Beth Cullen reflect on some experiences from Ethiopia. They argue that “achieving genuine gender equity is essentially a political act as it calls for a re-distribution of power and so may face resistance from entrenched social and political interests.”

Read the full blog post

Maksenit (Amhara) community members playing an adapted version of the ‘Happy Strategies’ Game Capturing GIS data in Debre Tabor (Credits: Catherine Pfeifer / ILRI)

Maksenit (Amhara) community members playing an adapted version of the ‘Happy Strategies’ Game (photo credit: ILRI/Catherine Pfeifer)

One of the sub-projects of the Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC) – ‘Targeting and scaling out of rainwater management systems’ – aims to map which rainwater management strategies work where, targeting specific strategies and scaling them.

We understand rainwater management strategies, to be a combination of rainwater management practices that increases water infiltration in the up-slope of a landscape, increases soil and water conservation in the mid-slope and increases water productivity in the low slope. Rainwater management practices are very broad and include, beyond rainwater harvesting, a whole range of practices affecting crops, livestock and trees.

The maps generated by the project are based on biophysical suitability criteria and socio-economic constraints identified in literature and through stakeholder consultation. Having generated the maps of likely areas where a strategy might be adopted successfully, the project team is ground-truthing the analysis by assessing adoption rates of rainwater management strategies in different locations.

A multi-scale approach is required to carry out this assessment.

Working closely with national partners, at farm scale, the team interviewed 600 farmers in 7 different watersheds of the Ethiopian Blue Nile – the current NBDC watersheds, namely Diga, Fogera and Jeldu as well as four new sites selected with NBDC partners:

  • In the Oromia region, Gorosole watershed (near Ambo) and Leku watershed (near Shambu);
  • In the Amhara region, Maksenit watershed (near Gondar) and Zefie watershed (near Debre Tabor).

The sampling of the farmers covers high-, mid -and low slopes in each landscape and represents female-headed households proportionally.

At landscape scale, the team ran focus group discussions in the four new watersheds and asked key community informants to imagine the best possible rainwater management strategy for their watershed, using an adapted form of the happy strategies game to understand which practice fits where and how it may need to be combined.

Capturing GIS data in Debre Tabor (photo credit: ILRI/Catherine Pfeifer)

Factors limiting adoption – which are beyond farmers’ influence – are identified in the process. They result in a set of interventions needed to enable the adoption of the strategy.

The 600 farm household surveys have been collected and are all geo-referenced at farmstead  – all in close collaboration with partners. Data entry will begin soon and the team plans a ‘writeshop’ to run the first analysis of the data with partners – to develop partners’ capacity to work with statistics and write analysis reports.

Find more detailed descriptions of the watersheds and how data has been collected on the blog of one of the NBDC researchers involved in the project.

The Nile basin development challenge (NBDC) of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) is integrating gender into its respective projects.

Within each NBDC project gender, is integrated in two key areas: Social gatherings, meetings and workshops, and research implementation which include modelling, surveys, technology, monitoring and evaluation and reporting. The use of gender disaggregated data will be highly encouraged for all surveys conducted to show the differences in roles played by men and women in rain water management strategies.

Gender focal point persons have agreed to work on this agenda for each of the Nile projects. They will ensure and advise within their respective Nile projects that gender is integrated into reporting and implementing social gatherings meetings and workshops and research implementation.

Gender is integrated into the NBDC in order to:

  • generate a basin wide understanding of the extent to which gender has been internalized and acted upon by Nile BDC team members;
  • assess the extent to which gender has been integrated into the delivery of gender-sensitive research, research results, and development;
  • identify and share information on mechanisms, practices and attitudes that have made a positive contribution to mainstreaming gender in an organization and;
  • identify room for improvement and suggest possible strategies to better implement the action plan for the integration of gender.

A gender audit checklist developed by the Volta and Andes basins is being adapted by the Nile basin members.

More information on our wiki page

By Pamela Pali.