dws-unesco-ihe-ifad-grant-cyclist-770px-1The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has recently approved the grant proposal of Unesco-IHE, Meta Meta and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) for spate irrigation for rural economic growth.

The 2015-2017 project focuses on network strengthening among and with farmers, improve education on flood-based farming (spate irrigation) and research for development in Yemen, Pakistan, Sudan and Ethiopia.

With the grant of 1.200.000 USD, Unesco-IHE and partners aim to develop flood-based farming policies and programmes based on action research and documented practical experiences.

dws-unesco-ihe-ifad-spate-irrigation-weir-yemen2-350px   Weir for irrigation, al-Arais Tuban, Yemen

Mainstreaming spate irrigation
Senior Lecturer in land & water development at Unesco-IHE, Abraham Mehari Haile explains: "The first phase of the project which we implemented in 2011, was positively evaluated by IFAD. We made a good start with mainstreaming spate irrigation in the educational system of the four targeted countries. In addition, we increased contact with farmers and informed them about spate irrigation and flood-based farming. And we focused our research on societal impact. The website www.spate-irrigation.org increased its membership from 200 to 800 subscribers".

Hybrid design models
With this new grant, IFAD would like to see further development in education and research on hybrid design models and guidelines for flood based farming in the four countries.

Secondly, the aim is to expand the activities from 4 to 8 countries, allowing sharing experiences between Africa and Asia.

"In the coming three years we aim to strengthen the capacity of our local partners. One of them has already been asked to make a spate irrigation assessment in Kenya and Uganda. In addition, we aim to develop a joint MSc programme on spate irrigation with one of the universities in either Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen or Pakistan", says Abraham Mehari Haile.

dws-unesco-ihe-ifad-grant-damaged-infra-350pxErosion can undermine the spate infrastructure.

Equal responsibility
The partners Unesco-IHE, Meta Meta and the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) equally share responsibility in the project and will each be leading one of the project components, including research for development, education and network strengthening.

Unesco-IHE will focus on research due to its wide MSc and PhD student base.

About spate irrigation
Spate irrigation is a type of water management, that is unique to semi-arid environments. It is found in the Middle East, North Africa, West Asia, East Africa and parts of Latin America. Flood water from mountain catchments is diverted from river beds (wadi’s) and spread over large areas.

Spate systems are very risk-prone. The uncertainty comes both from the unpredictable nature of the floods and the frequent changes to the river beds from which the water is diverted.

Substantial local wisdom has developed in organizing spate systems and managing both the flood water and the heavy sediment loads that go along with it.

This news item was originally published on the website of Unesco-IHE.

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