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The Project > Methodology

At the heart of this project has been rigorous testing of ideas and research.

The process began with field- and community-level case studies in five countries Sub-Saharan Africa (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia) and in two Indian States (Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal) and watershed-level case studies in four sites (in Tanzania, Burkina Faso, West Bengal and Zambia). These were intended to assess opportunities and constraints for AWM.

Based on the results of the case studies, the project then assessed the suitability and potential impact of scaling-up the most promising solutions nationally and regionally.

This required an understanding of existing physical, social, economic and livelihood patterns. To carry out this work, the project developed a set of modeling tools supported by surveys and maps of agricultural livelihoods and gender patterns in farming systems.

Tools and methods developed by the project that can be used by researchers as well as donors, ministries, investors and NGOs include:

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  Participatory Rapid Opportunities and Constraints Analysis (PROCA) – this methodology, developed and tested by the project, provides a step-by-step process for analyzing different types of innovations (technology, policy, community empowerment) and identifying the most promising for a given context.
  Gender Mapping – this tool helps improve targeting of AWM interventions and uptake of innovations by categorizing farming systems according to the different roles men and women play in decision-making and labor.
The Analysis
Field-scale and community-level case studies – For these case studies, researchers used the PROCA methodology to understand the complex interaction among social, economic, and physical factors that influence the uptake and success of AWM innovations and to identify technologies appropriate to different contexts.
Watershed-level case studies – Complementing the field-scale studies, researchers used a multi-disciplinary approach to look at how the natural resource base impacts and is impacted by AWM in four watersheds (in Tanzania, Burkina Faso, West Bengal and Zambia). The analysis concentrated on the hydrological impact of current and potential AWM interventions; the current resource-based livelihoods in each watershed and related dependencies on different sources of water and water management practices; an impact assessment of potential AWM scenarios; and a review of formal-informal institutional capacity to deal with AWM interventions and potential emerging externalities.
National AWM mapping – This process helped to assess the potential for AWM (categorized as high, moderate-high, moderate-low and low) and the suitability (in terms of biophysical criteria and livelihood-based demand) of ‘best-bet’ AWM technologies. The work built on the case studies and used livelihood- and gender-mapping tools.
Regional AWM analysis – Researchers used GIS-analysis, crop mix optimization tools and predictive modeling techniques to assess the regional potential for the ‘best-bet’ AWM technologies in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in terms of: potential application area (in hectares), number of people reached, net revenue derived and water consumption. Scenarios were also developed to factor in climate change and potential changes in irrigation costs.

The project also used stakeholder engagement and dialogue to ensure that project results reflected the realities of stakeholders and addressed their concerns. National and, in some cases, sub-national consultations; dialogues; surveys and interviews fed into all stages of the project.