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Image 2023 Annual report is OUT!!

New programmes on watershed management in Nepal, ecosystem restoration and climate resilient agriculture in Senegal and cultura lactivities with kids in Geneva. Enjoy readying our freshly edited 2023 Annual Report!

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Image Walking the trail in Nepal

Following the 2-day Regional Rainwater Conference on 18 and 19th of March organized by the Nepal Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (see March newsletter), Florian Bielser, IRHA Programme Officer, and Han Heijnen, President of the IRHA Board, joined Nirmal Adhikari, programme coordinator of Kanchan Nepal, our partner, for a 10-day field trip to Chitwan and Kaski districts.

The purpose of our visit was to see how the IRHA supported projects in the two districts had evolved and to strengthen th...


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Image New Collaborative Project in Uganda Takes Shape: Fostering Sustainable Agriculture and Reforestation

Exciting developments are underway in Uganda as plans for a collaborative project begin to take shape. For this project IRHA partners with the Bethany Land Institute (BLI), and Agroforestry Promotion Network (APN), aiming to promote sustainable agriculture and reforestation efforts in the region.

Building a Sustainable Future Together

In response to the urgent need for environmental restoration and sustainable land management practices, the three partners have joined forces to implement a compr...


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In February, Han Heijnen - President of the IRHA - visited the Kasese district in Western Uganda to monitor a rainwater harvesting programme in schools, which was completed in 2022. Around 25 schools in the Rwenzori hills were supported in the construction of rainwater harvesting systems, using 5 and 10 cubic metre Calabash tanks in particular. A rapid assessment showed that the rainwater storage systems were highly functional and very useful.

For several months, the IRHA has been in contact w...


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As part of the "A Kop Allè No Maag Olé - La forêt de la mer" project, Océanium, in partnership with IRHA and local authorities, organized a community festival focusing on the preservation of local resources and the restoration of the mangrove swamp. The event took place on Saturday, December 16, in Faoye, a small village nestled in an inlet (bolong) in Senegal's Siné Saloum region.

As part of the promotion and to reach out to the wider community, the week leading up to the event saw the d...


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Where run-off stops!

by sylvestre | 8 December 2023

We love rainwater and love to harvest it to make it available to people and ecosystems, but during rainy season, too much of rainwater can generate run-off causing major destruction to infrastructures, making communities even more vulnerable.

This is why we can not approach rainwater/stormwater management without including sustainable land management approaches into it. This was done in Kaolack in the frame of the project in partnership with Caritas Kaolack.

Gabions were set across gullies to s...


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We are delighted to announce that, thanks to funding from the Fédération genevoise de coopération (FGC), and in partnership with Kanchan Nepal, Libird and SVSI, we are launching a new integrated water resources management project for the Kaski and Tobang catchment areas.

This project aims to rethink the management of (rain)water and soil resources. This will be achieved by implementing water conservation/retention measures at all levels of the catchment area in order to restore a natural wa...


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Florian's feedback - Senegal 2022

by Florian Bielser | 26 January 2023

November 2022 was the occasion for IRHA to carry out a field visit to Senegal in order to follow the evolution of the activities implemented by IRHA and its partners: APAF SN, Océanium de Dakar and Caritas Kaolack. This mission also allowed Océane, an intern at IRHA, to discover Senegal, its landscapes and its population. As part of her master's thesis at the University of Geneva, she is studying the links between land salinisation, local agricultural practices and the various land manageme...


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Storing runoff during the monsoon season in Himalayan hills is crucial to have enough water to cope with the dry season, especially considering that climate change is changing rainfall intensity and patterns. Traditional Nepalese water ponds, called pokharis, are used to store runoff mainly for cattle rearing and rice fields’ supplementary irrigation. Local communities are interested in restoring existing pokharis and building new ones to improve their economical and living conditions. Sele...


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As part of its reforestation activities within the “Rain Communities” project in Nepal, IRHA is working closely with the Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal (FECOFUN), which units together 22’300 Community Forestry Users Groups. To better understand FECOFUN’s activities in Nepal, Nirmal Adhikari (NA) – Project Manager at Kanchan Nepal - interviewed Kalidas Subedi (KS), the Provincial Chairperson of FECOFUN for Gandaki Province.

NA: Who is FECOFUN?

KS: The Federation of...


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Building ponds, building water security

by Eleonora Forzini, Blandine Barthod | 29 October 2021

Storing water during monsoon in the nepalese hills is crucial to have enough water to cope with the dry season, especially now that climate change is causing modifications in rainfall intensity and pattern.

In the framework of the project “Rain communities”, a collaborative field mission has been conducted in Nepal in October 2021 between the team members of the Water Harvesting Lab - WHL (University of Florence) and the IRHA. The visit aimed to refine the best sites for water collection a...


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In the context of the International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems on 26 July, IRHA is pleased to present its latest project in collaboration with Oceanium de Dakar in the Sine Saloum estuary in central Senegal: "A Kop Ale no Maag Olè (the Forest of the Sea in Wolof). It will support during 24 months the communities of four estuarine villages located in the commune of Djilasse (Fatick, Senegal).

This initiative, supported by the AP Foundation, aims specifically to strengthen ...
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Farmers' fight to restore ecosystems

by Blandine Barthod | 26 April 2021

With human forcing of the climate system, storms and droughts are becoming more severe and prolonged in many regions across the globe (UNFCC, 2014).

In Nepal, increasingly intense monsoon rainfall and longer dry periods are predicted. Marginalised communities in the Himalayan Mid-hills are already experiencing the adverse impact of these increasingly erratic weather patterns.

Yet we can still act for the common good of these communities and the ecosystems that support them. By working with vil...


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The rain : between blessing and curse

by Florian Bielser | 12 April 2021

Deforestation, caused in large part by the expansion of agricultural land, amplifies the vulnerability of the soil to seasonal climatic variations (drought, heavy rains, etc.). The rain, initially perceived as a blessing by the farmers, can then become particularly devastating!

In Keur Maba Diakhou’ municipality, where the "Of earth and rain" project operates, soils are greatly suffering from water erosion. This causes large gullies that threaten both inhabited and cultivated areas.

Faced...


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In support of the "Rain Communities" project, a nursery is being built in Pokhara region to support reforestation and anti-erosion activities. Native plants with high economic value have been selected in partnership with FECOFUN (Federation of Community Foresty Users Nepal) to promote the infiltration of rainwater and to ensure better soil maintenance.


Rachel Hosein Nisbet (RHN): How did you come to work with APAF Senegal?

Mansour Ndiaye (MN): I am a farmer’s son. After studying agronomy, I spent 23 years working in industrial agriculture. Since 1945, Senegal has grown peanuts as a monoculture crop, to supply France. I saw forests felled and chemical fertilizers and pesticides added to newly ploughed fields. But farmers’ yields still dropped. After witnessing the harm done to farmers and topsoil by industrial agriculture, I became an...


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Mapping Rain for Collective Gain

by Rachel Nisbet | 27 February 2020

Making Participatory Maps to Talk Water

Creating an Integrated Water Resource Management plan involves many community-based organisations. In our Nepali project with Kanchan Nepal, we liaise with mother’s groups, youth clubs, water user committees, cooperatives, farmer’s groups, and forest user groups to get communities thinking about how their water supply depends on both groundwater flow and rainfall.

To cultivate local hydro-wisdom, it is important to find a common language to tal...


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Planting Waterscapes

by Rachel Nisbet | 29 September 2019

This blog post introduces a technical journal article written by Castelli et al. (2017) examining how the Pirai river basin in Bolivia is managed. This catchment contains forests, woodlands, grasslands and wetlands; it is the water source for three million people, supplying the urban centre of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. One particularly useful feature of this study is its demonstration of the feedbacks between changing landscape cover in recent decades and shifting hydrological patterns. Its m...


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One example of a cosmology that anticipates nature-based solutions in the context of DRR is the mythical narrative of the Great Yu. This story tells how Yu rejected the engineered, grey solution of dike building to prevent China's recurrent flooding. This was the (unsuccessful) flood prevention approach developed by Yu’s father, before Yu was born. Changing tack, Yu decided not to battle against nature, but to invest time in understanding fluvial processes. Working with the rivers, he gui...


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Our collaboration with the local NGO Kanchan Nepal has assisted them in 'empowering communities with Water, Sanitation and Health Services’. Despite the high rainfall it receives during the monsoon, the Kaski District is water-stressed. It is comprised of steep-sided valleys, primarily composed of limestone (karst); thus, water preferentially flows underground, making surface runoff collection difficult (Rimal et al 2018).[1] Providing a reliable supply of drinking water for rural communi...


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