14 June 2012 zichtbaarzijn

By Ben Haagsma

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up a funding facility for Sustainable Water proposals, inviting partnerships in which public and private parties, knowledge institutions and NGOs jointly operate and implement a Sustainable Water programme. Each actor has its own added value, thus constituting a partnership. Red Cross Netherlands had formulated an attractive idea in Ethiopia and requested FSAS to:

1.  Produce the Concept Note and

2.  Bring together the partners willing to invest in this idea.

The idea concerned the up-scaling of improved watershed management, is one of the key themes of this Fund. The Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS, supported by Red Cross Netherlands) implements a pilot programme for watershed rehabilitation and has harvested impressive results of ecological restoration: improved water tables, greater biodiversity, higher fodder production, expanded irrigation, more resilient against climate variability and better protected against floods.

The idea covered two key dimensions. Firstly, making a step from a localised community intervention to the entire watershed. A watershed approach is necessary to design more effective technical measures, properly balancing the interest of the upstream and downstream communities, especially with regard to the use of water for irrigation. Secondly, a better understanding of and learning from the current successes, helpful for up-scaling this success to other watersheds in Ethiopia.

All potential partners that were approached reacted very favorably to this idea. The ERCS fully supported this idea seeing it as a possibility to learn and advance the own capacities. They also quickly managed to get the Ethiopian government authorities on board. Dutch private sector and knowledge institutions also acknowledged the strength and relevance of this idea and identified their roles and responsibilities. It was a remarkably positive process where all actors quickly identified the win-win situation. They all contributed to the technical content of the Concept Note. The time was limited – only two weeks till the deadline – but we managed to finish this process well in time. We are now waiting for the favorable decision of the Ministry. 

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