Linking research, capacity building, and policy dialogue in support of informal irrigation in urban West Africa
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Drechsel, Pay; Cofie, Olufunke O.; van Veenhuizen, R.; Larbi, Theophilus Otchere. 2008. Linking research, capacity building, and policy dialogue in support of informal irrigation in urban West Africa. Irrigation and Drainage, 57(3):268-278.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/40705
Informal irrigation is receiving increasing attention in West Africa. In particular, irrigated urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) is thriving with significant benefits for farmers and the urban populations, though it is often handicapped by water pollution which threatens public health and prevents authorities from appreciating its advantages. To integrate UPA in sustainable urban development, a multi-stakeholder (MS) process has been implemented since 2005 in a stepwise approach in six West African cities. Accra, Ghana, was the first Anglophone city where the MS process tried to facilitate strategic partnerships for an improved research-policy dialogue. The process was supported by capacity building of local stakeholders, e.g. in participatory processes management, action planning and research, and monitoring and evaluation. These activities facilitated the official recognition of the role and benefits of UPA in Ghana in various ways. An internal lesson learnt was that there are many reasons why local partners might not give every project the expected priority and that related capacity-building efforts might consequently not provide the expected incentive for partner commitment. Moreover, flexibility is required to link research, capacity building and policy dialogue through an MS process as its dynamic can vary from city to city and thus cannot follow set theoretical standards.