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Irrigation projects in Ethiopia: what can be done to enhance effectiveness under challenging contexts?

By M. Yami

Abstract

Investment in small scale irrigation (SSI) is crucial to sustain food security and livelihoods of smallholders. In Ethiopia, the government and development partners show a growing interest in developing irrigation projects. The success of irrigation projects is determined by governance and socio-cultural contexts. Yet the lack of thorough understanding of the challenging contexts undermines the efforts to achieve sustainability outcomes in irrigation projects. This article identifies the challenging contexts to irrigation projects, examines how the challenging contexts influence the effectiveness of irrigation projects, and indicates ways of improving the effectiveness of irrigation projects under the existing challenging contexts. Data were collected between April and December 2011 in three regional states of Ethiopia using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The lack of governance capacity and accountability are critical challenges for the sustainability of the irrigation projects. In addition, the poor consideration of local knowledge and the use of top-down approaches in planning and implementing the irrigation projects, and lack of equitable access to the irrigation schemes result in poor ownership of projects among farmers. Improving the funding scheme to support long-term capacity building at national and local levels, and in understanding the socio-cultural contexts of the intervention areas; planning irrigation projects with due consideration of the existing challenging contexts, and with active engagement of the local community, are important for the long-term viability and sustainability of irrigation projectsInvestment in small scale irrigation (SSI) is crucial to sustain food security and livelihoods of smallholders. In Ethiopia, the government and development partners show a growing interest in developing irrigation projects. The success of irrigation projects is determined by governance and socio-cultural contexts. Yet the lack of thorough understanding of the challenging contexts undermines the efforts to achieve sustainability outcomes in irrigation projects. This article identifies the challenging contexts to irrigation projects, examines how the challenging contexts influence the effectiveness of irrigation projects, and indicates ways of improving the effectiveness of irrigation projects under the existing challenging contexts. Data were collected between April and December 2011 in three regional states of Ethiopia using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The lack of governance capacity and accountability are critical challenges for the sustainability of the irrigation projects. In addition, the poor consideration of local knowledge and the use of top-down approaches in planning and implementing the irrigation projects, and lack of equitable access to the irrigation schemes result in poor ownership of projects among farmers. Improving the funding scheme to support long-term capacity building at national and local levels, and in understanding the socio-cultural contexts of the intervention areas; planning irrigation projects with due consideration of the existing challenging contexts, and with active engagement of the local community, are important for the long-term viability and sustainability of irrigation projectsPeer Revie

Topics: governance, institutions, irrigation, livelihoods, sustainability
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13504509.2015.1057628
OAI identifier: oai:cgspace.cgiar.org:10568/74433
Provided by: CGSpace
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