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 second key message from the Nile Basin Development Challenge is to ‘Integrate and share scientific and local knowledge and encourage innovation through learning by doing’. It emphasizes the need to embrace local knowledge as a trusted source of information and expertise. The alliance of scientific analysis and community validation (for instance in farmer field days) helps pay attention to bio-physical and socio-economic aspects and bring about much more robust rainwater management solutions.

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.


In degraded areas in East Africa, termites pose a major threat to agricultural crops, forestry seedlings, rangelands and wooden structures. In the past, several attempts were made to reduce damage caused by termites, including extensive termite mound poisoning campaigns. But as termite species also have beneficial effects in sustaining functionality and provision of ecosystem services, attempts to control termite species should therefore be conducted with care.

Termites are usually symptom of human induced degradation of land and biomass resources. Land rehabilitation is necessary for securing increasingly threatened feed and water resources for livestock.

Cognizant of this finding, a Research Into Use (RIU) project was designed to identify appropriate combinations of technical and institutional options for Integrated Termite Management (ITM) through a process of shared learning and innovation. The project is being implemented in Nakasongola, Uganda, and in Diga, Ethiopia.

In addition to a literature review on the relation between termites and land degradation, the project also envisaged a baseline study to collect relevant information on the problem in the focal sites and potential termite and land management options that can help to rehabilitate land productivity.

This report refers to the study in Ethiopia. The second section gives an overview of the research design and the action sites in Diga, Ethiopia. The third section presents and discusses the major findings of the study and their implications. The last section summarizes the major conclusions of the study and provides recommendation for future action

Read the report

Read the technical report No. 9 “Integrated termite management for improved  rainwater management: A synthesis of African experiences

There’s a widespread belief that termites are a major threat to rural livelihoods and agricultural production in Est Africa. Is this true? How do termites affect agricultural water and land productivity? What practical options exist to reduce the apparent economic and human costs associated with perceived destructive behaviour of termites?

The CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) studied these issues as part of a Nile River basin wide collaborative research program extending from 2003 to 2012. Initial success in rehabilitating degraded rangelands led to the establishment of a new CPWF Research into Use (RIU) project ‘Uptake of integrated termite management for rehabilitation of degraded rangeland in East Africa’. The RIU project started in 2012, extends into 2014, and collaborates closely with Nile Basin Development Challenge.

This brief explains the history of these initiatives and objectives of the project.

Read the brief 

Read the technical report No. 9 “Integrated termite management for improved  rainwater management: A synthesis of African experiences