Sunday, December 23, 2012

Building Partnerships for Development

Representatives of Operation Mercy's AC4D team and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) met on December 20 at the GIZ field office at the Kafrein Dam and discussed details of a joint training regime to build technical and institutional capacity in the 16 contracted Water User Associations (WUA) in the Jordan Valley.  

It has been decided that the first joint training will be for the Chairmen and staff of all of the WUA and will take place during the summer of 2013.  The goal of this first training is to enhance WUA staff capacity to effectively mediate between the Jordan Valley Authority and smallholder farmers as well as to mediate disputes within their own districts.  This training will allow Operation Mercy staff to build working relationships with representatives from every WUA in the Jordan Valley and get a stronger sense of their needs and preferences for the coming technical trainings within each district.  

Operation Mercy is honored to begin work with GIZ toward the mutual goals of a more productive, profitable and sustainable future for all members of the farming community in the Jordan Valley. 


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An excellent read for anyone interested in Ag Extension in the Middle East

Today I had the good fortune to come across this assessment done by USAID, published in 2005.  I found it very much in keeping with what our team is finding as we examine the Northern Jordan Valley Agricultural System as a whole.  My takeaway points from this article are listed below the link. 

Assessment Ag Extension Services in the Jordan Valley and Highlands

In short:
"Farmers need better information on how plants respond to deficit irrigation, how irrigation schedules should be revised to reflect the best management practices, new production systems for fruit and vegetables using more saline tolerant plants, and the use of reclaimed waste water for crop production."
Action Points included:

  • Hold trainings for water user associations on these topics
  • Sponsor and oversee demonstration plots
  • Organize and Sponsor Field Days for farmers
This can be done by connecting farmers with researchers and extension specialists from both public and private institutions.

These activities and focus areas are highly representative of how Operation Mercy Jordan sees its role as a mediator between the research and farming communities.  


Thursday, December 6, 2012

AC4D's Proposed Path to Capacity Development for Farmers in the Northern Ghor

Currently in the Jordan Valley, as Water User Associations (WUA) mature and develop they are given additional responsibilities in the area of maintenance and administration of their canal-to-field water infrastructure.  This administration allows a degree of autonomy within the WUA to distribute water based on crop type, water quality and rotational schedule. 

With autonomy comes the opportunity to manage water more beneficially.  Maximizing economic return for farmers, safeguarding the environment and cooperating for mutual benefit can all come from the adoption of irrigation best management practices (BMP). 

Our goal is creating a Win-Win-Win for Farmers - The JVA - Operation Mercy.

We propose a three step process in coordination with the Jordan Valley Authority and GIZ

By cooperating we all achieve our goals. 
Farmers: Increase Revenue & Decrease Risk
JVA:  Is given an inducement to move WUAs toward a greater degree of autonomy. 
Operation Mercy:  Fulfills it’s mandate for partnering to build capacity, hope  and community. 

A Three Step Process:
  1. Operation Mercy meets with members of the JVA two high performing Water User Associations to assess the type of upgrading and training needs within the WUA.                           
  2. Operation Mercy brings in an expert in this field to offer a training workshop that focuses on practical strategies for addressing the needs assessed by the WUA.  This cycle continues for the 1st year with a number of capacity development trainings focusing on only a few (2-4) WUAs.                                                                                                                   
  3. After the first year the WUAs who have received trainings are required to offer a training to another WUA for every training that they receive.  Capacity is developed within the first 2-4 WUAs to offer training thereby allowing the AC4D model to equip 4-8 new WUAs in the second year.  The WUAs who are active in teaching have the opportunity to receive upgrading both in field and out.  Those that are willing to participate in the training model receive more training and upgrading opportunities over a longer timespan than those who are not.