This paper discusses the importance of indigenous irrigation systems that have operated sustainably on indigenous technical knowledge that has ensured their longevity. Modern techniques have often ignored the importance of this knowledge and the role of such knowledge needs to be enhanced in the future.
The Myrada Experience: The interventions of a voluntary agency in the emergence and growth of peoples' institutions for sustained and equitable management of micro-watersheds.
In 1984, MYRADA and the Government of Karnataka, with backing from the Swiss Development Co-operation, started working together in Gulbarga on a project focusing on watershed management. This booklet discusses invaluable practical lessons learnt so far in the PIDOW project about supporting people to better manage their natural resources. The first part discusses general lessons: critical indicators of success (sustainability and equity), people's priorities, the role of people's institutions, and why focus on people's participation in watershed management. The next three sections discuss strategies used in the intervention. They are applicable to projects in which Government and NGO are co-intervenors and operational partners; parts can certainly be adopted by an NGO-only project. The three sections deal with the entry phase, planning phase and implementation phase. The emphasis throughout is on the role of the NGO. The booklet ends with a case study of a situation which differs from the Gulbarga experience and the consequences of such differences in the process which takes place.
Participatory impact monitoring of a soil and water conservation programme by farmers, extension volunteers and AKRSP
The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme supports soil and water conservation work on private land, a priority identified by villagers, as part of a watershed management project. Villagers suggested that monitoring should look at: erosion controlled; land reclaimed; moisture retention in soil (as inferred from crop growth); and productivity and income generation. The article goes through the process of participatory impact monitoring, illustrated by real results. The benefits of such monitoring are listed, most of them related to increased farmer understanding of processes and control over further experimentation.
Field observations have led many people to believe that beneficiary participation in decision making can contribute greatly to the success of development projects. When people influence or control the decisions that affect them, they have a greater stake in the outcome and will work harder to ensure success. But the evidence supporting this reasoning is qualitative so that many practictioners remain skeptical. Three questions need to be addressed: to what degree does participation contribute to project effectiveness? which beneficiary and agency characteristics foster the process? and, if participation does benefit project outcomes, how can it be encouraged through policy and project design? To answer these questions, researchers studied evaluations of 121 completed rural water supply projects in forty-nine developing countries around the world. The results show that beneficiary participation contributes significantly to project effectiveness, even after statistically controlling for the effects of 17 other factors. The basic conclusion of this study is that rural water projects must be fundamentally redesigned in order to reach the one billion rural poor who lack a sustainable water supply. Redesign must encompass a shift from supply-driven planning to demand-responsive, participatory approaches to ensure beneficiary participation, control, and ownership.
This paper describes how the combination of chemical soil and water analyses and PRA exercises were found to be complementary methods in assessing the magnitude of the pollution problem caused by the tannery industry in Kamtchipuram village, Tamil Nadu.