Perhaps the greatest learning in recent years has come from the program team’s action research on climate change adaptation through improved water management and harvesting, which earned it finalist positions at the World Bank’s 2008 Global Development Marketplace as well as the 5th World Water Forum (2008).
Based on this cutting edge work, Ekorural and Groundswell have launched a four-year, $200,000 project to mobilize local potential around rainwater management as a means of rehabilitating the resource base, building resilience to climate variability and improving farm livelihoods in El Angel and Ambuquí watersheds of northern Ecuador. Through involvement in ‘Katalysis’, an applied learning-action process, rural families will discover new sources of water and creatively use it to increase on-farm sustainable production and food security. That increased access to water improves farm production is well established. Our innovation is enabling farmers to overcome centuries of self-imposed limitations born from ingrained dryland culture to respond to climate change.
Expected outcomes within the timeframe of the project include:
(1) Multiple new practices and technologies useful for storing and distributing water in smallholder production systems of semi-arid, mountainous regions
(2) At least 10 locally managed innovation investment funds established to sustain the work
(3) At least 100 households will develop and adopt new water harvesting technologies and will improve on-farm productivity by at least 30%
(4) Documentation of 10 best success stories
(5) Consolidation of learning-action approaches for enabling resource poor farmers to adapt to and cope with climate variability
(6) At least 1,000 farmers and 10 peer agencies (NGOs, GOs, or networks) will visit the project to learn about people-centered approaches as a means of enabling marginalized smallholder farmers to effectively adapt to climate change.