Deliver Results on the Ground

Projects must solve real problems in communities. Faced with resource shortages, people will first address their own needs: their fields, their farms, their livelihoods, their families and villages. Initial projects must show results in the short term. Only then will they consider broader watershed issues.

Delivering quickly results that local people want

As WANI projects set up collaborative mechanisms at the governmental level, they also sponsor a set of small pilot projects in communities that are responsive to local people's needs. For example, projects have started tree nurseries or agroforestry plots, cleared weeds out of navigation channels, and provided training for local tourism. Many projects generate income over time. WANI often works with social support organizations to develop these projects.

Ecosystem-based watershed management can only be implemented successfully when it is based on people’s well-informed decision making. This process enables stakeholders to improve their standards of living and lead their lives in dignity and fulfillment, while learning to conserve their resource base and strengthen their community. In developing projects, keeping in mind the idea of “sharing benefits, rather than sharing water.”

Projects: Basim, Mekong River Basin, Okavango Delta, Tacana Project, Lake Tanganyika, Volta River Basin

Stories from the field:

  • San Pablo-Suchiate river midlands microwatershed – IUCN raises its local profile by helping villagers get a grant to install running water. In turn, villagers are supportive of IUCNs reforestation project.
  • How a Swamp Saved a Civilization – IUCN clears invasive weeds that choked a Ramsar wetland thus restoring diversity and aiding the local economy.
  • Rapids Blasting in the Thai-Baan – By documenting the effects on fish habitat of an international navigation project that was dynamiting a series of rapids, local researchers get the blasting stopped.
  • El Salvador San Pedro River Micro-Watershed Community Association – El Salvadore villagers create a legal entity to get management training and accept funds to address their priority issues of deforestation, unemployment, and literacy.
  • JEM of a business – A Guatemalan environmental teen group grows a business of exporting flowers and vegetables from drip irrigation greenhouses.
  • Butterfly tourism in Chiapas – Villagers convince coffee growers that swarms of white migratory butterflies are not pests, but rather a tourist attraction that can become a source of income.

Related WANI Toolkits:

FLOW: Chapter 6 "Generating Political Momentum", Chapter 7 "Building Capacity for Design and Implementation"
NEGOTIATE: Chapter 1  "The Four Rs", Chapter 5  "Agreements"
PAY: Chapter 3  "Designing a Payment Scheme", Chapter 5  "Rules at Work"
SHARE: Chapter 1  "Overview of the World’s Shared Water Resources", Chapter 2  "Why Share? The Benefits (and Costs) of Transboundary Water Management", Chapter 3  "Stakeholders in Benefit Sharing and the Management Process", Chapter 6  "Implementing Cooperative Transboundary Water Management"