Watershed Action Planning related to Micro-hydro Power (MHP) Projects in Ethiopia
Identification of Appropriate Mitigation and Intervention Techniques
Based on the Environment Assessment findings, the watershed planning team should come up with a draft plan which ought to include the mitigation and intervention techniques that are supposed to be implemented as well as the respective responsibilities. It is recommended that the plan includes a map (in the same scale as the Environment Assessment map), showing the type and locations of interventions as well as a time frame for the implementation process.
Community Involvement in the Planning Process
Once the draft plan is completed, it should be presented to the community (upstream and downstream communities respectively). It is advisable that each mitigation and intervention technique be presented in detail, pointing out not only benefits but also ways of the community’s participation in the implementation process. Any existing points of conflicts should be discussed carefully and compromises should be found.
The community’s feedback, including critical comments, further suggestions and questions should be taken into account when revising and wrapping up the final action plan. This is crucial to increase people’s acceptance and thus their willingness to invest in long term conservation.
The community’s investment in long term conservation and thus in the MHP’s sustainability is not primarily of financial nature, rather the contribution of labor in the implementation process is the people’s main investment. Within the watershed action plan, the watershed planning team should thus lay down all commitments and responsibilities, including not only officials such as themselves but also the local population. Furthermore it is recommended to take into account whether there are any other projects (by NGOs, GOs and so on) on watershed management, conservation or alike in the area that might be incorporated in the implementation process.
In order to implement the various mitigation techniques properly, it is of great importance to train the local people that are involved in the implementation process. Agricultural training is provided by the rural development offices, hence it is recommended to incorporate the proposed mitigation techniques in the training that is already given. The alignment of existing training programs should be coordinated by the Development Agent (DA).
The financing of the implemented mitigation and intervention techniques should individually be aligned with the budget of the respective MHP project and its funders. Furthermore partial financial support should also be provided by the Woreda’s rural development offices as well as the community (as mentioned above for example in form of labor contribution).
Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation
It is recommended to also apply the participatory approach to monitor the implementation process and to evaluate its outcomes. Making people, who actively participate in implementing the watershed action plan, part of the monitoring and evaluation process has the advantage that they can see for themselves how successful the implementation process is going and what changes should be made.
During the monitoring and evaluation process it is important to collect repeatable and thus comparable data. Depending on what mitigation and intervention techniques are applied, different indicators need to be set to show the progress made. Since the sustainability of the MHP projects are closely connected to a continuous discharge rate, it would for example be recommendable to monitor the measurements’ effects on the water flow (and thus to measure the discharge rate over time). In order to get the best results out of the monitoring and evaluation process, it should be done consistently (repeating the same data collection after a specific period of time). All data collected during the monitoring and evaluation should be compiled by the DA.
- DESTA, L. ET AL. (2005): Part 1: Community Based Participatory Watershed Development: A Guideline. Addis Ababa: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Cite error: Invalid
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