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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Lack of access to technology tops CTA survey

LACK of access to infrastructure and technology have been identified by the latest survey conducted by Brussels-based Centre for Technical Agriculture (CTA) as top on the main causes for inequity in closing knowledge gap in integrated water management for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

The survey also revealed that aforementioned is followed by uneven access to information and lack of laws to address such anomalies within the 29-member ACP nations.

According to the report on electronic consultation for the CTA seminar 2010, which just ended in Gauteng Province, South Africa and made available to ITRealms Online, the last round and the fifth of the survey in preparation for the seminar aimed at jump-starting the activities in the working groups and focused on equity, governance and institutional reform, adaptation strategies for vulnerable rural communities, and storage for adaptation.

The survey highlighted that the e-consultation group on equity made a start in collecting insights on the main dividing lines rural-urban, than men-women, sedentary farmers across herders, rich-poor with a proposed division being the arid zone or wet zone.

They also asked what the main causes for inequity could be with respondents listing mostly lack of access to infrastructure and technology, which was followed by uneven access to information and lack of laws.

Additionally, the survey noted that unequal land distribution, poor enforcement of rules and laws in addition to pollution or contamination of water among others.

ITRealms Online gathered that suggestions for the proposed action research were made as well and particularly using participative evaluation methods or compensates all actors; to ensure they could play their role.

Equally, the survey highlighted that training of all actors and organizing them into associations would pave the way for changing the mindset presently.

“Involve, from the beginning, all actors in your research. Each village has its particularities, so the approach should be flexible enough to deal with that,” part of the report read and advised against monetary or physical incentives so as to avoid biasing the process, and to make it replicable, even after funding is no longer there.

Another suggestion made was to absolutely involve a donor, because hydraulic structures are expensive in conducting of such survey to ensure equity is maintained.

On the need for governance and institutional reform, the CTA survey noted that when respondents were asked to prioritize on governance, the response was without doubt to focus on local level governance and on the option to work from the perspective of water user groups and farmer cooperatives, but also to look at capacity building, the need to bring all actors at local level up to speed to increase the chances of a fair outcome of governance processes.

The report, endorsed by the Director of CTA, Mr. Michael Hailu and Head of Communications at CTA, Ms Oumy Nidaye, suggested additional topic as in the link or absence of that link between watershed and administrative organization, stressing that the adaptation of strategies for vulnerable rural communities is very vital

As indicated by the survey, its objective for this group was to collect as many as possible context specific observations and experiences of action, which resulted in cases from Haiti, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Uganda, Burkina, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria.

The report also noted that obviously in such context and specific situations, the drivers are expected to be specific, more so, when combined, “the major drivers in these cases were considered to be climate change, environmental degradation the management of water resources, population growth, lack of knowledge and lack of investment.”

However, the last question, ITRealms Online learnt was on ‘communication’ to bring change, underscoring the fact that a wealth of suggestions came, but here too the context comes into play, for instance, at what time do people listen to the radio, so that messages would be effective.
As for who to approach, the suggestions vary from the traditional elders to ‘the young’ but there is consensus on the need for working with audio visual materials, urging involvement of community from the beginning in the whole process.

This came as the survey reflected that the biggest challenges in developing local storage was not a huge difference in answers, the report stated was because no forced ranking was applied.

Based on the survey, financing and equitable access to water came out first, followed by organizing the users with a suggestion on additional problem; the survey noted was the choice of the storage-technology.

“The answers could of course be seen as a reflection of the complexity of developing storage in an effective way,” participants agreed.

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