From agknowledgeafrica ilriwikis

Learning Pathway on Agriculture and Water

Results of the session

Organizers/Focal Point(s)

Ewen Le Borgne and others

Some outputs

rss url="http://feeds.delicious.com/v2/rss/sharefair09/sfaddis+water?count=15" link="true" number="20"

Aims of the session

To identify some critical issues around knowledge development, sharing and use in the water sector(s) but also introduce tentative solutions that could be useful for other initiatives


This pathway comprises three sessions:

  • Tuesday 19th (11.00-12.30) - mapping.
  • Wednesday 20th (14.00-15.30) - sharing.
  • Wednesday 20th (16.00-17.30) - brokering.

We expect 30-40 people to participate to this pathway, perhaps more.

1. Agenda for the session

Water has social, economic, political and cultural values. As a result, more than many other development sub-sectors, it is a fairly complex sector that weaves relations with a wide variety of actors at different levels (from grassroots to global), from various types (private, public, civil society) and with various functions (policy-makers, users, implementers/operators, regulators, legislators, monitors, funders, awareness-raisers, educators etc.). Subsequently, the generation and promotion of innovations and the wider arrangements to increase cooperation across water-related institutions is a complex issue.

The water pathway (the river?) will focus particularly on a) generating and scaling up innovation and b) increasing cooperation and coordination in the WASH sector. This focus comprises e.g. multi-stakeholder processes at play in the WASH and IWRM sector. This double focus should help us look at grassroots issues as well as research and policy issues.

However this stream may also look into other interesting, successful initiatives (or initiatives that are rich in experiences such as great failures) around the processes of creating, sharing, communicating or using knowledge in the water sector.

How will it work in practice in the learning pathway?

  • The first session (mapping) will help us map the main issues related to a) generating / scaling up innovation, b) increasing sector cooperation/coordination and c) other issues around knowledge development, sharing and use in the water sector (whether water for agriculture, water and sanitation, IWRM etc.).
  • The second session (sharing) is a session where our talents, i.e. you, will briefly present (verbally) your initiative and identify the key success areas and challenges, the main questions that you are struggling with at the moment.
  • The final session (brokering) will aim at exploring ripples (similar reflections and overlaps on the main issues, challenges, solutions), streams (simple sharing of information and knowledge from one place to the other more regular contact established around certain water issues) and if we can deltas of cooperation (with concrete follow up and perhaps even joint work) around the water theme(s).

2. Facilitators:

Ewen Le Borgne - any other volunteer there?

3. Knowledge Sharing technique used (if any):

  • Session 1: mapping

(5 min) Intro of the session with our objectives and how to go about it - and we'd like to blog, tweet, take photographs, videos etc. about this session! (10 min) Clustering about (and asking a couple of questions about position): * What country do you come from? Position yourself geographically; * I work in water and sanitation / water for agriculture / IWRM / agriculture for industrial uses etc. * On a line: who works at grassroots level, at municipal / district level, at regional (provincial/departmental) level, at national level? (20 min) Give a sheet to one person from each group, draw a river in the centre and as a group, come up with 3 key knowledge issues at that level, from the water/agricultural perspective. Once it's done put it together on the wall. (55 min - 3 rounds [20-15-15] min and recap 5 min) World cafe around the issues: * What are the challenges of generating and scaling up innovations in the water sectors (what makes it difficult, special, complex etc.)? See the results of this world cafe 1. * What are the challenges of developing cooperation and coordination within and across water sectors - what makes learning together in the sector so complex? See the results of this world cafe 2. * What are the general challenges of developing and sharing knowledge in the water sectors? OR What are the links between the water sector and other sectors and why it matters to connect to them? OR one question from the previous round. See the results of this world cafe 3. (5 min) Plenary summary of the main gaps and overlapping areas in the water sectors.

  • Session 2: sharing

(20 min) Presentation of 3 minute (max) each, on the different talent initiatives, structured around finding out why you should come discuss my case with me? (60 min - 2 slots of 30 min.) Marketplace with each presenter sitting somewhere and interactions about - and mention that we are looking for ripples (simple sharing of information), streams (ongoing sharing of information) and perhaps even deltas (exploring concrete cooperation on projects/initiatives). Participants may move but they may miss the presentation. * what is the aim of the initiative? * who does it engage with (either as direct members/participants or as 'target audiences')? * how (what are the main approaches, tools, activities, products and services used to make it happen?) * what are its successes to date? * what are its main challenges? (5 min) Reporting some ripples, streams and deltas on the map: where, on what, how? (5 min) Conclusions and AAR; OR: last 15 min on AAR

  • Session 3: brokering around agendas, arenas and alliances: where are the ripples, streams and deltas?

(30 min) Open floor to finalise ripples, streams and deltas: But share your insights on the map (on post-it notes if possible). (15 min) Reporting about those follow up initiatives. (30 min) Put four posters on display (with poster owner) to map out: water towers (information repositories), water carts (information produced by this or that initiative), rivers (discussion groups), and fountains (water events) we can tap into to find support? (15 min) Conclusions and a message / slogan that we'd like to share with other participants from the fair?


  • Patrick Apoya - RCN Ghana (www.ghana.watsan.net/), a knowledge-sharing network hosting national level WASH sector discussions and managing information for WASH stakeholders.
  • Egidio Vaz Raposo - WASHCost - Mozambique (www.washcost.info/), a four-country project aiming at promoting life-cycle costs of long term water and sanitation services among others by means of action-research carried out through a multi-stakeholder process, GAS in Mozambique (Water and Sanitation group).
  • Leulseged Yirgu - RiPPLE (www.rippleethiopia.org), an action-research project aiming at influencing national, regional and district organisations in planning WASH services and promoting services that ensure income-generation, by means of a learning alliance (multi-level, multi-stakeholder process).
  • Gudina Fufa - Emmanuel development association Ethiopia (www.edaethiopia.org), integrating sanitation and alternative energy and agriculture Experience - Not present.
  • Hailu M. Belayun, Tadele Kassa, Eshetu Assefa - PASIDP / AMIP / PCDP experiences in Ethiopia with Micro-Tube Drip Irrigation System: An alternative for household Production.
  • Presentation of the Challenge Food Programme on the Nile Basin (IWMI) (www.waterforfood.org) - More information coming on Tuesday.

Potential other participants - CARE Ethiopia


What is a learning pathway?

Discussion and session results


A. What are the challenges across the water chain (from grassroots to global level?)

  • Grassroots level:

Poor infrastructure (low access to information) Poor documentation Language

  • Intermediary (district / municipality) level:

Lack of information on water availability and use Information gap (weather forecast, flooding/drought prediction) Lack of knowledge about IWRM (with emphasis on Integrated) at sector/community/household level

  • National level:

Documentation of knowledge (capacity and culture) Inadequate use of technology for knowledge sharing Harmonisation of interests and policies

  • International level:

Data availability and sharing (lack of coordination) Uneven access and use of information and knowledge Distilling and communicating knowledge in water resources

B. World cafe

1. What are the challenges of generating and scaling up innovations in the water sectors (what makes it difficult, special, complex etc.)?

Group 1:

  • Lack of political will to scale up innovations (but actually there isn't a problem of will, more a problem of capacity)
  • Lack of / inadequate resources
  • lack of exposure and technical capacity
  • Inadequate awareness
  • Rigid water policies
  • Poor communication and documentation
  • Poor learning platforms and action-research
  • Resistance to change
  • Curriculum that does not motivate innovation

Group 2:

  • Poor coordination across scale, sector and components
  • So much focus on challenges rather than solutions
  • Lack of a domestic agenda
  • Inadequate resources
  • Sustainability

Group 3:

  • Profitability of upscaling?
  • Attempt to upscale without understanding the local context

2. What are the challenges of developing cooperation and coordination within and across water sectors

World cafe 2a.jpg

  • Lack of harmonisation (across levels i.e. upstream and downstream) leading to duplication of efforts;

No integrated planning No awareness of the need to harmonise (e.g. to embrace IWRM) Different interests for the same water point Different, conflicting approaches

  • Conflicting interests: no willingness to cooperate (is this a governance issue?)
  • The very structure of development work imposes competition for funding at proposal-writing stage
  • What are incentives to participate and collaborate? Principle is better than money but more difficult to achieve
  • The legislative framework may not encourage cooperation (though other participants argued: the framework is often then and it’s good but it’s simply not applied)
  • Ministries are regularly restructuring policies
  • Watershed boundaries are political


  • Analyse the present situation
  • Review the legal framework
  • Tailor your communication to various audiences so that messages about cooperation/coordination reach out many
  • Use exchange visits to showcase good results of cooperation in places where this is happening
  • E.g. in Ethiopia, district planning is organised back to back with national plans;
  • Organise training on e.g. IWRM at grassroots level
  • Invest in multi-stakeholder platforms with policy-makers and show decision-support tools there

Even though these platforms make competing agendas more open / visible

  • There are various solutions to coordination:

Formal channel: hierarchy, which blocks knowledge sharing, is not holistic and leads to delayed reactions. Anyway the government cannot do it all. Informal channel: but for that we need honest brokers to negotiate conflicting interests – where are they? This solution requires trust (takes time) The market: not really a solution for our sector;

  • And actually... why always workshop to cooperate? Sometimes just follow good examples from others without having to workshop it all out.

3. What are the general challenges of sharing knowledge in the water sectors?

  • Relevance and lack of innovation
  • Different languages, too technical a language used by experts
  • Different objectives and policies, physical environment
  • Disconnect between the supply and demand side, the consumption side
  • Institutions don't share knowledge

C. Discussions with the talents

Nile Basin Challenge programme water and food

1.How do we attract and convince partners to join?

  • Conduct training
  • Advertise
  • Offer an MoU
  • Organise forums
  • Identify stakeholders
  • Identify realistic benefits
  • Show the benefits you offer
  • Share information

Question back: what do you want? What do you offer?

  • Understand the demand at different scales
  • Include NGOs which 'do their own thing'
  • Align with government plans and big money
  • Information + connections = knowledge
  • Tools for upscaling (processes, technologies, methods)
  • Capacity building / training for different levels

2. How can we sustain the partnership (4 years) and possibly another phase?

  • Use participation to achieve ownership at different levels (including farm scale)
  • Formalise and sign MoU (R+R)
  • Regular contacts and knowledge-sharing
  • Develop inclusive implementation strategy
  • Convince, inspire
  • KM:

Collect relevant feedback Process feedback to LL Convert LL to conclusions 3. How do we exit?

  • Promote sustainable practices (livelihood, institutional, financial, economic, social, environmental)
  • Pass knowledge on (sharing) recommendations
  • Facilitate instead of implement, act as an advisor
  • Capacity building and institutional strengthening

Resource centre network Ghana

  • Context: coordiantion across sectors and within the water sector
  • General stakeholder awareness of the problem
  • Governmental leadership to coordinate
  • A dedicated secretariat to support coordination
  • Sometimes, it takes a real problem to trigger a response (reactivity)
  • Some initiatives are pushed by NGOs and donors
  • In Ethiopia, a separate ministry has been created for water, step towards better coordination
  • There are cost issues in coordination (meetings, time etc.)
  • Decentralising coordination to lower levels (regional, district etc.)
  • At community level, water committees can be good building blocks
  • Coordination between water sector and agricultural sector needs to be improved
  • Issues of environment and ecosystems needs to be highlighted in sector coordination

Micro tube drip irrigation system

  • The technology was developed to solve the problems of conventional drip irrigation system
  • The main problem the team is facing: Funding to disseminate the technology to end users in Ethiopia and abroad
  • Upscaing the technology and making use of rope pump is in progress;

Comments from participants:

  • Link to the financial institutions
  • Communicate with ministries (MoA, MoWR etc.)
  • Prepare a proposal and approach funding agencies
  • Advertisement is required.


  • How could you demonstrate your success or generated research outputs without having pilot sites?
  • How did you drive the LPA?
  • There is a request to share the LPA experience with the CPWF
  • How do you manage and coordinate partners?
  • Comment: sustainability needs to be taken up or handed over domestically rather than through DfID.

D. Stimulating cooperation among ourselves

Streams of cooperation

Who are you going to keep in touch with?

  • RiPPLE and Nile Basin CPWF on LPA, research approaches, institutional analysis
  • RCN Ghana and CPWF to connect Patrick Apoya with the Volta Basin rep
  • Mozambique project on rural finance (by Moz Ministry of agriculture and Ministry of science and technology) with drip irrigation team about their technology;
  • The drip irrigation team with ILRI on the technology, its use and upscaling;
  • WASHCost Mozambique and the RCN Ghana on communication approaches, sharing findings and data
  • SNNPR bureau and Drip irrigation team on the drip irrigation technology

Ripples of cooperation

What information will you share with who?

  • The drip irrigation team will share their proposal with the full list of participants
  • C. Steiner from Helvetas is looking for training opportunities for Helvetas staff in Norther Mozambique (on technological and methodological approaches) on low cost irrigation.

E. Where to look for support? Opportunities?\

Please add on to this list.

Where are the fountains flowing? (events in the water sector)

  • African water week (on water generally) - changing every year.
  • AfricaSan (on sanitation) in South Africa.
  • CTA 2010 seminar on water and agriculture in November, South Africa

Where are the water towers (info websites and portals you find useful)

  • CPWF ([http:www.waterforfood.org/| www.waterforfood.org] / [http:www.cpwf.org/| www.cpwf.org]) focusing on water for food, water for life, livestock water productivity, Rangeland journal, Csiro Australia ([t.amede@cgiar.org])
  • IRC (www.irc.nl) information about WASH sector, research, directory of organisations

Where are the water coolers? (discussion groups you like)

Where are the water carts (newsletters, special project initiatives and miscellaneous)?

F. Evaluation / after action review

What went well:

  • World cafe
  • Focus groups (talents)
  • Methodology used
  • Facilitation

What could have been improved:

  • Discuss the grassroots issues (invite farmers, fishermen)
  • We felt we were in our pathway silo
  • Participants do not necessarily have the authority to commit their organisation about cooperation
  • Add new themes (focus on budgeting)
  • We didn't get back to / use the levels of work as sketched in session 1
  • We could have gone to our hot issues (as an open space)
  • Other groups were starting at the same time and drained some participants

Take homes and final comments:

  • Issues around innovation
  • The importance of strengthening the linkage between agriculture and water (RCN Ghana will start on this)
  • Outputs and documents shared (e.g. Water for Food)
  • Good to focus on the big picture as was the case here (e.g. the Challenge Programme)
  • Why are people not sharing information?
  • Cooperation between the projects (and we'll check this again in late December)