Public canal irrigation systems suffer from many deficiencies - inefficiency, unreliable delivery of water, inequitable water distribution, neglect of maintenance causing deterioration of infrastructure, etc. Transferring irrigation management to water users' associations is considered essential for improving canal management. Those NGOs with a strong gender focus would like women to be brought into the mainstream of irrigation management by encouraging them to participate actively in the affairs of water users' associations. This paper seeks to examine such an approach, focussing on the interaction with women's groups in six villages in the Gujarat, India which had different sources of water for domestic use but one common feature - they were all served by a canal. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) was conducted in these villages to ascertain women's priorities regarding water use. Two issues were examined: (1) how canals can better serve women's priority needs; (2) what women can do to improve the canal management and better functioning of water users' associations.
This book is a collection of selected papers by Anil C. Shah. The book spans the worlds of Government and civil society over a lengthy career working with the poor and marginalised.
It covers a wide range of activities based on direct personal experience and innovation in the field. It contains a mixture of short personal articles and longer, broader and more detailed articles.
The work is presented from a variety of contexts ranging from government administration to NGO's, from community development to joint forest management, from watershed development to participatory irrigation management, and from behaviour, attitudes and training to influencing and changing policy.
In recent years the "development" industry has began to incorporate into its vocabulary notions about the "empowerment of the poor," "participatory democracy," "gender in development" etc. as part of a strategy for poverty alleviation in the developing world. This paper critically examines the notion of participation as the basis of empowerment in the context of a joint CanadianûGhanaian financed rural development project in the Northern Region of Ghana, NORRIP (Northern Region Rural Integrated Programme), including aspects of the IVWP (integrated Village Water Project. The paper argues that because of the inherent goodness of the notion of participation, it has become a substitute for the structural reforms needed for social change. The paper raises questions not just about the terms and mode of participation but further points out that reference to the term "village" or "community" as the basis of participation is simplistic and problematic. The paper also questions the feasibility of the institutional and administrative structures within which such concepts may be realized and makes the case that a focus on local participation and empowerment can provide the state with a legitimate opportunity for shirking its responsibilities by dumping them on local areas, even though those areas lack the resources needed.
The effects of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and the subsequent 10 years' worth of rain which fell in five days brought environmental and agricultural devastation to Central America. World Neighbors (WN) had worked for many years on the promotion of soil and water conservation; the hurricane provided an opportunity for WN to study the effectiveness of this work in combating the disastrous effects of a potentially destructive climate and this newsletter gives details their work. They decided to carry out Participatory Action Research (PAR), a level of study which not only allowed the involvement of those most greatly affected by the climate - the local people - but other participants who expanded their own knowledge through the research methods and results. The system used was a pairing of plots with similar characteristics such as location and vegetation, but which provided a sharing of data through a direct comparison of agro-ecological and conventional cultivation. Other organizations were invited to participate in the study and form teams with the farmers, and all participants attended a workshop to learn methodologies. The methods used to analyse different variables such as slope, top soil thickness, texture, organic matter, insect and animal life, vegetation, erosion, landslides, and conservation practices are detailed along with the findings and lessons learned.
Esta edici¾n de En Acci¾n de la organizaci¾n Vecinos Mundiales se concentra en los efectos del huracßn Mitch en 1998 y los 10 years' de lluvia que baj¾ en cinco dÝas trajo la devastaci¾n ambiental y agrÝcola a AmÚrica Central. Los Vecinos Mundiales habÝan trabajado por muchos a±os en la promoci¾n de la conservaci¾n del suelo y del agua; el huracßn proporcion¾ una oportunidad para estudiar la eficacia de este trabajo en combatir los efectos desastrosos de un clima potencialmente destructivo y este boletÝn de noticias da a detalles su trabajo. DecidÝan realizar Investigaci¾n Acci¾n Participativa (IAP), un nivel del estudio que permita no solamente la implicaci¾n de Úsos lo mßs afectados por el clima - la gente local û pero tambiÚn otros participantes que ampliaron su propio conocimiento de los mÚtodos y los resultados de la investigaci¾n. El sistema usado era un apareamiento de lo parcelas de tierras con caracterÝsticas similares tales como sitio y vegetaci¾n, pero que proporcionaron el comparte de datos con una comparaci¾n directa de la cultivaci¾n agro-ecol¾gica y lo convencional. Se invit¾ a otras organizaciones de participar en el estudio y formar equipos con los granjeros, y todos los participantes atendieron a un taller para aprender las metodologÝas. Los mÚtodos usados para analizar diversas variables tales como vertiente, grueso del suelo superior, textura, materia orgßnica, insectos y animales, vegetaci¾n, erosi¾n, derrumbamientos de tierra, y prßcticas de la conservaci¾n son detallados junto con los resultados y las lecciones aprendidos.
: Les effets de l'ouragan Mitch en 1998 et la pluie suivante qui est tombÚe en cinq jours de la valeur de 10 annÚes; a apportÚ la dÚvastation environnementale et agricole en AmÚrique Centrale. Les Voisins Mondiaux avaient travaillÚ pendant beaucoup d'annÚes sur la promotion de la conservation du sol et de lÆeau, et l'ouragan prÚsentait un moyen d'Útudier l'efficacitÚ de ce travail en combattant les effets dÚsastreux d'un climat potentiellement destructif ; ce bulletin donne les dÚtails de leur travail. Ils ont dÚcidÚ d'effectuer la Recherche Action Participative (RAP), un niveau d'Útude qui non seulement permet la participation de celles le plus considÚrablement affectÚs par le climat - les personnes locales - mais dÆautres participants qui ont augmentÚ leur propre connaissance par les mÚthodes et les rÚsultats de recherches. Le systÞme utilisÚ Útait un appareillement des parcelles de terrain avec les caractÚristiques semblables telles que l'endroit et la vÚgÚtation, mais qui ont fourni un partage des donnÚes par une comparaison directe de lÆagriculture Úcologique et celui conventionnelle. Des autres organismes ont ÚtÚ invitÚs pour participer Ó l'Útude et pour former des Úquipes avec les fermiers, et tous les participants ont participÚs Ó un atelier pour apprendre des mÚthodologies. Les mÚthodes utilisÚes pour analyser les diffÚrentes variables telles que la pente, lÆÚpaisseur du sol supÚrieure, la texture, la matiÞre organique, les insecte et les animaux, la vÚgÚtation, l'Úrosion, les Úboulements du terre, et les pratiques de la conservation sont dÚtaillÚs avec les rÚsultats et les leþons appris.
Account of how communities came together to harness water for themselves after failing to get water from state institutions and machinery. The article details how, with the help of an NGO, Agua del Pueblo, the communities devised a working mechanism which was participatory and democratic to manage their water resources and distribution.
In this article, the authors argue that women's involvement (despite initial resistance from the village males) in a participatory water project has had an impact on their role in the community in northern Pakistan. By recounting the history and context of the water project, the barriers faced, the process of participation and the final resolution to the water problem by the community, the authors discuss the wider issue of gender politics. They show how in choosing to go with the women's strategy for harnessing water, the role of gender in mediating access to and management of water becomes apparent and how larger shifts occur in terms of community participation in development.
In this article, the authors recount the experiences of an NGO, Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH), in helping the community of Lele Mahadev Khola village to manage their water system through maintenance and funding. The activities carried out by the NGO through PAR is detailed with insights on what the PAR approach has been able to achieve.