A recent targeted engagement with stakeholders showcased the many interventions and results of Rainfed Watershed Management Project, successfully putting them on path for district-wide scaling out in the Gonder Zuria District. The Project team introduced the technologies implemented under the community-driven initiative through two field days, combined with an informative workshop. The events mobilized participation from a range of stakeholders from district- to zone-level officials, development players and scientists to ensure the research to development continuum.
One of the biggest impacts from the Project has come from introducing community-based goat breed improvement to the community. A field day, held on September 07, 2014, gave an opportunity to the stakeholders to learn about the practice and its distinctive advantages over cross-breeding and bringing a new breed into the system. The stakeholders heard from researchers at the Gonder Agricultural Research Center (GARC) and the livestock research director of Amhara Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI) about the approach and its relevance, while the farmers demonstrated the process of selecting the best bucks and doe. The event, with participation from about 130 stakeholders including media, also hosted an animal show and awards for the best young and old bucks, and the best performing farmers. The active interest from farmers encouraged district and zonal officials to agree on spreading community-based breeding to other villages and several options were discussed at the event for scaling out the approach.
A second field day, held September 21, 2014, demonstrated the integrated technologies to stakeholders that are increasing agricultural productivity for the participating farmers. Along with stakeholders, 67 farmers attended the field day and visited experimental plots to see first-hand the outcomes from the many ongoing research activities, including improving sorghum productivity, use of tef fertilizer, sorghum-vetch intercropping, adaptation of sweet lupine and lentil, weed management, and out-scaling of chickpea and vetch. The project team from ICARDA, ARARI and GARC explained the research activities to the stakeholders and led hands-on discussions. Farmers were encouraged to adopt the technologies as they compared the performance of the sorghum trial with their fields. The strategy of sorghum-vetch intercropping trial specially attracted attention of the participants as an innovative approach to increasing land productivity. The participants also learnt about ‘Mirt’ stoves, a clean cooking technology introduced by the project and discussed a distribution strategy to scale out its benefits to a greater number of rural women. The field day concluded with the district office of agriculture and the zone administration emphasizing the need for the farming technologies to be out scaled during the next cropping season.
Finally, a workshop provided an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss the interventions in-depth with the scientists from GARC, ARARI and ICARDA – the lead on the Project. The workshop, held on September 20 in Maksegnit town of Gonder Zuria district, led to an agreement for the Project team to formulate technology ‘packages’ for transfer to the district’s Office of Agriculture. The newly consolidated research and extension linkage was a milestone development in continued scaling out of research outcomes.
The participating organizations include offices of agriculture, cooperative offices, and administration from both Gonder Zuria district and the North Gonder zone, the district’s water and energy office, and development programs active in the region, such as the local World Vision program, and Livelihood Improvement through Sustainable Resource Management, a program funded by Austrian Development Corporation.