Tag: climate variability

Why the young aspire to leave agriculture behind

Often, migration is an adaptation strategy, and a myriad of factors shape whether a person undertakes a journey to a new city in search of opportunity.

Everything you need to know about water and migration

Often, migration is a development problem being solved by people using their own agency, and this should be better reflected in policy responses at all levels.

Technology alone is not a silver bullet

Storing water could help rural communities in Nepal, if socioeconomic factors are addressed.

Brokering knowledge for sustainability

As a research-for-development organization, IWMI is both a producer and broker of knowledge. IWMI generates evidence to support investment in innovations that sustainably increase agricultural productivity and economic returns, support human well-being, water security and safeguard ecosystems in a changing climate. Through forums and events, often co-convened with partners, IWMI brokers knowledge exchange to catalyze change in water and food systems and accelerate innovation scaling. These forums and events include multi-stakeholder dialogues, demand-supply linkage workshops and knowledge exchange conferences.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Climate adaptation and mitigation

Enabling gender and youth inclusion

Agriculture is the bedrock of food and nutrition security and a major source of income and employment in many developing countries. Inclusive agriculture, provides opportunities for women and youth who have historically been excluded from agriculture-led economic growth. Enhancing gender and youth inclusion in high-value agricultural value chains has the potential to increase the production of nutrient-rich, profitable crops and create attractive job opportunities for currently disadvantaged groups. Inclusive agriculture includes ensuring that women, youth and other vulnerable groups gain equitable access to water resources and technologies to support agronomic growth.

IWMI conducts comprehensive analyses of the policy framework and interventions in value chains in key geographies to clarify the barriers to gender and youth inclusion. Inclusion segmentation is also carried out to understand the investment needs and abilities of women and youth regarding innovation. IWMI then makes recommendations and develops evidence-based strategies to enable public and private sector actors to achieve sustainable and inclusive scaling of water solutions and agricultural innovation bundles. Among these strategies are internships with private sector companies for young professionals and entrepreneurs. These create win-win situations in which companies benefit from interns’ specific knowledge or skills while interns gain valuable private sector work experience and mentorship.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Economics and equity

At IWMI, researching underlying economic and social trends helps us understand why people migrate. They also explain the impact of remittances and loss of agricultural labor, as well as consequences of migration on gender roles and food and water security. For instance, communities with higher levels of income inequality, or relative deprivation, may experience greater levels of out-migration compared to consistently low-income communities. In addition, migration changes intra-household gender-labor composition, which can change the access of smallholders to water resources, affecting the functioning of community-based institutions and consequently household and local food security. IWMI also focuses on circular economy, a strategy to recover and reuse waste, to boost food security and understand how interventions can encourage refugee and host communities to retain scarce resources.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Co-developing innovation bundles

Although agricultural water is still mainly funded by the public sector, private sector organizations and farmers are increasingly investing in innovative water management and irrigation technologies. At the same time, simply increasing the amount of finance flowing to the agricultural water sector is not enough to guarantee the uptake of innovative solutions. Investments must also be responsible, targeted and bundled with improved inputs and services, market information and access, and digital payment methods.

Consequently, IWMI partners with farmers and public and private sector actors to co-develop contextually relevant socio-technical-institutional-financial and process innovation bundles that are contextually relevant. IWMI integrates the scaling of innovation bundles into agricultural and food value chains, for instance by strengthening market linkages, to enhance the impacts on farmers’ investments, incomes and livelihoods.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security  Gender equality, youth and inclusion  Climate adaptation and mitigation

Strengthening and sustaining the enabling environment

Making agricultural innovations and water solutions available to farmers on a massive scale is crucial if the world is to meet growing food demands and mitigate climate change impacts. However, innovation scaling efforts often do not have the desired impact because they do not sufficiently consider the factors enabling and inhibiting farmers’ adoption of these innovations. In some instances, they may even produce undesirable impacts, including environmental degradation, loss of access to resources and social inequality. IWMI develops tools and other evidence-based resources to help partners and stakeholders understand and sustain the enabling environment and introduce measures to ensure scaling success. In addition, IWMI co-designs innovative, inclusive financial modalities to accelerate investment in innovations by farmers and agri-businesses.

A key part of this focus area is the Accelerator Program, for which 12 small and medium-sized agribusinesses were selected to scale five innovation bundles that support climate information services and climate-smart agriculture.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Climate adaptation and mitigation

Urban & rural transformation

As agricultural opportunities fluctuate in rural areas, migration, particularly to urban areas, is an adaptation technique to secure incomes and alternative livelihoods. Income generated by migrants is often sent back to family as remittances to support communities at home. At IWMI, we assess linkages between rural and urban areas, as well as the role of agricultural knowledge systems and food and water security. We recognize there are complex push and pull factors such as individual aspirations, economic opportunity, social norms, climate variability and government policies which drive migration and affect rural communities, particularly youth. Our work follows a ‘positive migration’ philosophy, framing migration as an adaptation technique and socio-economic choice (in many cases) rather than a problem to be solved, and focuses on establishing safer, more regular migration by supporting changes to migration governance in sending regions.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Climate adaptation and mitigation

Covid-19 disruption & adaptation

Covid-19 has caused a rupture in migration logistics and exposed inequities in the migration system, yet drivers of movement remain. Government lockdowns and closed borders due to the pandemic curtailed movement for migrants, posing complex problems for migrant hosting and origin countries. There have been significant economic shocks, with a sharp decline in unemployment for migrants and an inability to send money home through remittances to support family. Some migrants face social stigma for returning home without an income, particularly if families relied on loans to support their journeys. Consequences have been severe for informal migrants who lack government protection in their host countries. Migrants, particularly those living in crowded, lower-income neighborhoods, have been experiencing stigmatization related to the spread of Covid-19. We look at the impacts of Covid-19 on migration governance and rural areas across seven countries, development planning in Ghana, migration challenges in Southeast Asia, and community-based disaster management and resilience building in South Africa.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Water, climate change and agrarian stress

Migration, water and climate stress are inextricably linked to rural development. Water stress and climate variability can act as a driver of fragility, intensifying pre-existing political, social, economic and environmental challenges. Initiatives designed to address migration-related challenges must tackle inequalities and the exclusion of women, youth and marginalized groups; governance opportunities to better manage water and natural resources and technology and innovations to help communities escape socio-ecological precarity and thrive despite climate challenges. IWMI intends to build climate resilience by implementing projects which tackle gender-power inequalities in the face of dynamic, economic-social-ecological challenges. Our work brings together affected communities, institutional stakeholders and social actors to manage water in response to climate variability and agrarian stress, striving to address complex physical and social variables.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Climate adaptation and mitigation

Gender, intersectionality and social inclusion

It is critical to center gender and intersectional identities when unpacking migration phenomena. Gender as a social construct guides social norms and relations, including the decision-making processes and mechanisms leading to migration. We recognize that the intersections between race, age, class, sex, caste and region shape the migrant experience.

IWMI strives to offer transformative approaches and solutions for women, youth and marginalized groups, regarding them as equal partners in our work rather than passive end-users.  For example, within communities that experience male out migration, socio-political systems are restructured to make women, youth and other groups active agents in their own agri-food transformation. Migration patterns contribute to the feminization of agriculture, and women may experience a greater burden of responsibility coupled with an increased ability to access and control resources and policies to build sustainable livelihoods. Acknowledging social complexities helps researchers and communities understand migration trends and address structural power imbalances to build a more equitable world.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Enhancing capacity for system transformation

Food, land and water systems are complex networks of actors, institutions and activities related to the production, value addition and consumption of food. These systems are connected to and influenced by the structures and supporting mechanisms that underlie them. System transformation cannot occur without changing these underlying structures and supporting mechanisms. However, the capacity for actors to take up specific roles and responsibilities in scaling processes is sometimes lacking. Stimulating system transformation therefore requires enhancing actors’ capacity to assume their roles and responsibilities in the system to ensure that scaling processes provide equitable opportunities and contribute to sustainable development.

As a research institution, IWMI stimulates system transformation by building capacity within institutions and facilitating dialogue and collaboration between various stakeholders across sectors and their respective networks. IWMI does this by developing evidence-based capacity-strengthening programs and strategies. These include demand-driven internships with private sector entities and innovation hackathons.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Fostering scaling partnerships

Private sector actors play a central role in the dissemination and adoption of technologies and services such as information, financing, and pre- and after-sales support. IWMI has established scaling partnerships with private sector companies across Africa and Asia. Besides technical assistance, IWMI provides its partner companies with research evidence and advice, risk and suitability assessments and capacity strengthening for effective climate change-related planning and management.

Armed with these tools and resources, companies are better equipped to identify and reach their target customers in ways that are equitable, economically viable and environmentally sustainable. At the same time, farmers benefit from better access to innovations vital for improving livelihoods and climate adaptation.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Cultivating scaling preparedness

Scaling preparedness is a set of actions undertaken throughout the scaling process to maximize the adoption of innovation bundles, accelerate scaling and increase the likelihood of achieving transformational change. In cultivating scaling preparedness, stakeholder engagement is key to gain stakeholders’ buy-in, commitment, resource contribution and investment as well as adaptability. By cultivating scaling preparedness, IWMI is better able to identify and develop high-potential innovation bundles with the greatest chance of being successfully scaled.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security  Gender equality, youth and inclusion  Climate adaptation and mitigation

Innovation bundles

Farmer-led irrigation development is about much more than installing a pump in a field. It requires access to financing, labor, energy, and input and output markets, so that investments in irrigation translate into sustainable returns. IWMI uses a systemic approach to understand the farming system as well as the factors in the enabling environment that prevent women, men and youth from engaging in and benefitting equitably from farmer-led irrigation. We partner with farmers and the public and private sectors to test contextually relevant innovation bundles that combine irrigation technology such as solar pumps with financing mechanisms like pay-as-you-own or pay-as-you-go, agricultural inputs and agronomic techniques. We also look at ways to improve on-farm water management and nutrient use efficiency and reduce evapotranspiration through digital advances and agricultural extension. We integrate the scaling of innovation bundles into agricultural value chains to enhance the impacts on farmers’ irrigation investments, incomes and livelihoods.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Gender and social inclusion

The barriers facing women and men in accessing irrigation technologies are not the same. Neither are the benefits. Social, cultural and religious norms influence inter- and intra-household power relations. These, in turn, affect access to resources such as land, credit, information and training. IWMI carries out cross-dimensional analysis of gender and social inclusion in policy, financing, livelihood assets and access, institutional approaches and interventions as well as gender-based technology preferences. For example, we work with farmers, financial institutions and the private sector to address gender-based constraints in credit scoring and enhance women’s purchasing power. But benefitting from farmer-led irrigation does not stop at accessing and adopting technologies; enabling women and resource-poor farmers to participate in input and output markets is equally important to ensure that investments in irrigation result in improved nutrition and economic empowerment. Other ways we enhance gender and social inclusion include tackling agency issues around financial management and literacy, livelihood diversity and social capital as well as access to infrastructure, extension services and market linkages.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Environmental sustainability

Population pressure and increasing water competition in a changing climate require us to take stock of the availability and use of water across scales. Water availability not only influences farmers’ commercial prospects but also irrigation-related enterprises and agri-businesses. Greater water scarcity could jeopardize irrigation and agricultural markets while excessive water use can lead to declining ecosystems, water quality and soil health. IWMI advises development partners and the public and private sectors on all aspects of water resource availability and use through a variety of advanced modeling and remote-sensing products and tools, including Water Accounting+solar irrigation mapping and internet of things. These are complemented by multi-criteria analysis to evaluate the potential of irrigation expansion, taking into consideration environmental flows. With our private sector partners, we are leveraging converging technologies, such as sensors on solar pumps that capture usage data, to encourage better resource management and governance.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Adaptive scaling and partnerships

The ability of farmers to engage in or expand irrigation depends on the prevailing socioeconomic, ecological and political contexts, which are often complex, non-linear and changeable. Overcoming systemic barriers to farmer-led irrigation development while taking advantage of existing opportunities requires scaling processes to be adaptive. This means diverse actors feed off, adapt to, support, cooperate, compete and interact with each other, forming different multi-actor networks and engaging in collective action to undertake various functions in the scaling ecosystem. IWMI works with farmers and public and private sector partners to co-design and pilot contextually relevant innovation bundles and their scaling pathways or strategies, influence policies and accelerate the transition to scale of innovations with demonstrated early impact.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Financing ecosystem

A lack of affordable credit, particularly for women and resource-poor farmers, is one of the main barriers to expanding farmer-led irrigation in low- and middle-income countries. But credit alone is not enough. Financing for irrigation equipment must be embedded in a wider financing ecosystem that bundles credit with inputs and services, market information and access, and technology such as digital payment. In several countries, irrigation equipment suppliers are stepping in to provide financing directly to farmers. In doing so, they increase their own risk. To address this issue, IWMI works with farmers, private companies, finance institutions and development partners such as the World Bank Group to analyze whether credit-scoring tools are inclusive. We also help to identify gaps in the financing ecosystem and de-risk the private sector from testing innovative end-user financing mechanisms that take into account farming system typologies, financial and social capital and crop seasonality.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Human capacity development and knowledge exchange

Scaling farmer-led irrigation requires strengthening human capacity and knowledge exchange among all actors and stakeholders involved. IWMI takes an action research approach, working with national and international research institutions, governments, extension agents and public and private organizations to co-develop the scaling ecosystem and strengthen capacity to drive scaling networks and collective action. We support the development of or reinforce national multi-stakeholder dialogues with the aim of sharing scaling experiences and realizing win-win collaboration, interactive learning and capacity development. Other modalities for capacity development include hackathons, innovation research grants for bachelor’s and master’s students, private sector scaling grants and innovation internships with private companies. These all serve to stimulate local and contextually relevant innovation, close the research-private sector divide and enhance job readiness among young professionals.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation