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Pathways out of poverty for Burkina Faso's reservoir-dependent communities

Research Partners:

Photo (cropped) credit: Jean-Louis Fusillier/Cirad/Water Alterntives/Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

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Principal Investigator: Marlene Elias. Lead Organisation: Bioversity International

Co-investigators: Idrissa Ouedraogo; Mansour Boundaogo; Sarah Jones; Traore Aurokiatou Tiegoue; Mark Mulligan; Natalia Estrada Carmona; Fabrice DeClerck

Effective community-based management of common pool resources (CPR) in contexts facing environmental degradation and social conflict is urgently required to sustainably move people worldwide towards a decent level of human well-being, as sought in the Sustainable Development Goals. In the seasonally dry tropics, water stored in reservoirs. co-managed by communities and state water management agencies, can transform the lives of people in areas of persistent poverty by providing dry season income and food security through fish, livestock and crop production. Yet the inequitable distribution of water and other agricultural resources leads to stark inequalities in costs and benefits of reservoirs among households and communities. 

This project will convene stakeholders around two reservoirs in Boulgou province, Burkina Faso, through 'Innovation Platforms' (IPs) that provide spaces for face-to-face learning, exchange and negotiation. Through the IPs, differentiated stakeholders with conflicts of interests related to reservoirs will identify, compare and implement community-driven innovations to make management of and access to land, water and associated benefits more equitable and sustainable. In collaboration with local communities and water management institutes, we will co- design and test locally relevant indicators and novel data collection techniques to establish a reliable, locally owned reservoir resource monitoring system. Students, extension workers and government technicians will be trained on automatic weather stations, mobile phone based surveys, and easily measured indicators of soil and water quality. The project will fill gaps in knowledge regarding factors and approaches that enable the resolution of conflicts related to the management of CPR and the development of participatory monitoring systems. Academic beneficiaries include scientists working on participatory approaches, conflict resolution, social equity, and CPR management.



Visit Pathways out of Poverty for Reservoir-dependent Communities in Burkina Faso (POP-BF) for further information.

Read stories and articles about this project: A fair share of village water

Further Resources:

Direct project beneficiaries are the stakeholders co-developing and using project outputs to improve common pool resource management, i.e. the farming communities, traders, local water management committees, agriculture, environment and livestock extension services and NGOs in Centre-Est, Burkina Faso, particularly those associated with Bidiga and Ladwenda reservoirs. Other beneficiaries include national institutes (Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources, Environment, Social Welfare, Employment, Labour and Social Security, Women and Family) particularly regional water agencies (e.g.Volta Basin Authority (VBA)) who will support knowledge production, and represent primary users of resource management and behaviour change monitoring tools designed through this project.

We expect three main impacts from this project:

i) An increase in knowledge and awareness among local stakeholders, policymakers and the research community regarding the conditions and factors that enable effective and inclusive decision-making for managing conflicts and environmental pressures linked to reservoir use and management in rural, low-income contexts. 
ii) Improvements in the equitability and sustainability of net benefits of two small reservoirs in Boulgou province, through definition, evaluation and piloting of promising feasible solutions shared by multi-level reservoir stakeholders. 
iii) Enhanced local capacities for participatory monitoring of environmental and social impacts of reservoir management at case study sites and elsewhere through co-design, construction, testing and implementation of a low-cost, scientifically robust social and environmental data collection system with local residents, high schools, and technical staff at government water and agricultural institutes (MAHA, DGRE, AEN, VBA).

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Grant Category: 
Research Grant
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Fund Start Date: 
October 1st, 2017
Fund End Date: 
March 31st, 2019
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