1 HR Wallingford Ltd, Howbery Park, Wallingford, UK - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 ARC-Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Silverton, South Africa
Participation of men and women irrigators at the design stage of an irrigation scheme is commonly held to be a desirable, if not an essential, part of the modern approach to development. When men and women are excluded from participating in design, or just not encouraged and enabled to participate, the finished scheme generally fails to engender the sense of ownership that helps men and women commit to success or even to meet their needs and eventually becomes unsustainable.
However, achieving participation is not an easy option and is dauntingly complex. This paper highlights some reasons why past participation failed to produce the sought for impact and recommends a range of practical strategies to improve the quality and impact of participation. It draws upon recent research into gender-sensitive irrigation design.
An important aspect of the research is the growing appreciation of the need to expand the boundaries of irrigation design: it is no longer sufficient to produce only infrastructure. Community goals are identified by preliminary needs-assessment surveys to help establish plans to support irrigation development in a timely and focussed way.
New arrangements will be needed to organise and fund long-term interactive approaches. Participation in design processes is unlikely to achieve its goals unless resources are committed to accommodate deferral, postponement and change. The rules of participation need to be clear, relevant and transparent and all stakeholders should be able to trace accountability for both money and decisions throughout the process.
This paper draws examples of participation from the regeneration of schemes in Southern Africa and discusses some of the difficulties facing participants in the rural areas and their counterparts in irrigation agencies and institutions.
*Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land, Gauteng Province,Randfontein, South Africa - Tel +27-11-411 4325; Fax +27-11-412 2546
**Department of Agrometeorology, University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
There is much poverty in the peri-urban areas surrounding the cities in Africa, particularly in the informal settlements due to the migration from rural areas. It is usually the women’s responsibility to provide food for their families under these difficult conditions of overcrowding and temporary housing. A simple micro-irrigation system has been used to assist in vegetable production at a household level. It consists of about five sections of black plastic pipe of a length suitable for the available area often 3-5m and some form of drum or water container. The wastewater from the household can be stored in the drum until needed as irrigation. Simple pieces of sponge or string placed in holes in the pipe as home-made drippers usually provide an uneven distribution of water to the plants. This however, is acceptable to the women, as they do not need all the vegetables to grow at an optimal rate or be ready to eat simultaneously as that would not provide food for the family over an extended period of time. This is a simple example of a technical adaptation that does not meet normal scientific specifications, however it does meet the requirements of the users.
Smallholder irrigation schemes have been problematic in most parts of the world, and South Africa has been no exception. The complexity of irrigation schemes in a poor rural environment has been underestimated grossly. Working with resource poor dryland maize producers in South Africa's Northern Province, Johann Adendorff developed an approach he calls 'development through needs-based training'. This approach has lead to dramatic increases in smallholder production in the Phokoane and Ndonga areas and is currently being adapted for use in smallholder irrigation projects.
Based on Adendorff's approach, the Water Research Commission developed a set of guidelines and checklists to assist development facilitators and technical specialists in better understanding the rural context, so that they would be better able to participate in meaningful and sustainable rural and agricultural development initiatives.
The guidelines explain four parallel processes during an irrigation development, namely the community development process, the planning and networking process, the construction process, and the policy and decision-making process. The checklists aim to highlight aspects often overlooked in information dissemination, training programmes and communication between all the roleplayers associated with a development initiative.
F CHANCELLOR and D O’NEILL
HR Wallingford Ltd, Howbery Park, Wallingford, UK - E-mail: email@example.com
Treadle pumps are an attractive technology. They are relatively simple and cheap to manufacture, they are affordable to farmers, they are cheap to operate and maintain, relatively easy to repair, spare parts are readily available and improvisation is possible. As a result they are increasingly popular in development circles and are seen as a route by which African smallholders can access the benefits of small-scale irrigation.
In contrast to smallholder schemes of the past that relied on agencies or farmers ability to co-operate to share water and organise the management and maintenance aspects of the scheme, the treadle pump can be owned, operated and managed by one household or an individual. It does, however, require water to be accessible and that the lift is relatively small. It also requires substantial input of human energy.
Who supplies that energy and how that is rewarded is affected by a number of considerations. In the case of the energy supply, this is governed by cultural, social and intra-household arrangements whereas the energy demand is influenced, to a certain extent, by the design of the pump itself. In these contexts, it is necessary to analyse the adoption patterns that have emerged so far and interpret them to predict future impacts.
The rewards are closely linked to market access and the ability of the small producer to predict demand and to strengthen his/her bargaining position either individually, or as part of a group or alliance, that can influence market conditions.
Gender disparities are evident in both these crucial areas. These disparities need to be taken into consideration so that the effects of treadle-pump adoption are better understood and the policy implications of widespread adoption can be assessed. This paper, based on field work in Zambia, drawing on data and information from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Niger and South Asia, reviews the information available to date and explores the potential of the treadle pump to meet women’s practical and strategic needs.
Department of Agrometeorology, University of Orange Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
A literature survey was done to assess the topics currently receiving attention in the drip and micro-irrigation scientific research literature. Attention is given to the advantages and potential problems of high-tech micro-irrigation systems used by small-scale subsistence farmers. Possible adaptations and adjustments that should be investigated in future research projects are highlighted. The need for specialised technology transfer and training in management to enable adoption of micro-irrigation is discussed as related to the situation in developing agriculture in Africa.