News

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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Nepal - Bees for biodiversity and the rural economy

by Dharma Raj Dakal (adapted by Florian Bielser) | 24 May 2024
Image Nepal - Bees for biodiversity and the rural economy

One of IRHA's project takes place in Kaski and Chitwan districts in Nepal. In partnership with three local partners Sapana Village Social Impact - SVSI, Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Resarch and Development - LI-BIRD and Kanchan Nepal - KN, the project aim improve community resilience and living conditions by restoring ecosystem functionalities, enhancing water availability, consolidating agricultural practices and strengthening collective/sustainable management of natural resources by ...


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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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The concept of Community Seed Banks (CSB) has been globally developed to address on-farm conservation and utilization of local plant genetic resources, along with associated traditional knowledge. This initiative aims to counteract the rapid loss of genetic resources within local production systems. CSBs are designed to conserve, restore, revitalize, strengthen, and enhance plant genetic resources, with a primary emphasis on local crop varieties (Vernooy et al., 2020). These banks actively ...


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As part of the Femme de Terre project, a reinforcement of 5 women's groups was organized by the field agent of APAF Sénégal (Association pour la Promotion des Arbres Fertilitaires, IRHA's partner in this project). Spread over two days, it took place in two market garden plots located around Keur Maba, in the Kaolack region of Senegal.

Over 40 women from 5 different groups took part in the training sessions, which were structured to maximize farmer-to-farmer exchanges. Both the APAF technicia...
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An international workshop on financing rural development was held in Gitega, Burundi, in September 2023, organised by the Burundian association ADISCO with the support of Philea, IRED and the Platform for Food Sovereignty of member organisations of the Geneva Development Cooperation Federation.
Some forty participants involved in promoting savings and credit in rural areas from 8 countries in East and West Africa exchanged their approaches and methods and discussed ways of improving their acti...
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First rain for our boulis !

by Marc Sylvestre | 31 July 2023

For several months we worked on profiling 3 boulis in the Fatick region. We identified low-lying areas where run-off accumulated, raised awareness among communities and authorities of the problem of collecting run-off and restored these wetlands by overburdening them.

These areas, most of which are abandoned or little-known, have great potential for reintroducing water into the landscape and significantly strengthening the area's ecosystems. The boulis have just received their first rains and...


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Rainwater run-off control programme

by Mbaye Anna Dramé | 28 June 2023

In the Sine Saloum, the advance of salty land is one of the main causes of the retreat of mangroves and plant cover, land degradation and contamination of aquifers, which form the basis of the ecosystem and the biodiversity that inhabits it. Océanium, IRHA and APAF Senegal are combining their efforts and expertise to provide an effective response to these challenges.

Through a combination of rainwater resource management, work to reintroduce agroforestry patches and community capacity-buildin...


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Gabions and erosion control

by Florian Bielser | 15 June 2023

In Senegal's Sine-Saloum region, villages near the banks of river valleys suffer extensive material damage every year as a result of run-off. This has increased after decades of deforestation upstream of the villages and clearing of the riverbanks, leading to the destabilisation of the physical environment (agro-ecosystems), the biophysical environment (fauna, avifauna, flora) and certain aspects of people's lives and mobility (habitats, roads, etc.).

Today, gullies and landslides threaten roa...


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During the last two weeks of May, I went on a short mission to Senegal. During this time, I was able to visit projects carried out at the start of the year, meet old and new players, conduct awareness-raising and training sessions and supervise the start-up of activities linked to erosion control.

In this blog, I'd like more specifically to share my observations from my meeting with three women's groups from the "Femmes de Terre" project, which is being carried out in partnership with APAF Sen...


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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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Partners meeting in Senegal

by Florian Bielser | 29 November 2022

During the days of November 17 and 18 was held a meeting between the various partners of the IRHA in Senegal. In addition to the IRHA team, we could count on the presence of APAF Senegal, Oceanium Dakar, Caritas Kaolack, SOS Faim, Growing Life Farm, local authorities and field actors.

On the first day, in the magnificent setting of the hotel de la Source aux Lamantins in Djilor, on the banks of a bolong, the local name for an arm of the sea, participants were able to follow a series of trainin...


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The boulis - An island of greenery in Sahel

by Florian Bielser | 15 September 2022
In Senegal, but more globally in the entire Sahelian region, water problems are increasingly worrying for populations and ecosystems. Indeed, this region is subject to a rainfall regime of only 3-4 months followed by a complete dry period of 8-9 months.

As part of its territorial diagnosis, the IRHA located existing water points in the Sine Saloum region, Senegal. These water points, locally called marigots are essential for the watering of livestock but also for all wild biodiversity.

U...
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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.


It's time to take stock of the "De terre et de pluie" project, which is completing its first year of implementation, which has been particularly eventful!

Yancoba (CTA) and the agroforestry farmers did not skimp on efforts and adaptation strategies to carry out the agroforestry campaign despite the many difficulties related to the sanitary context and the delay of the rains.

After a week of mission rich in meetings, discoveries and exchanges with local actors, agroforestry farmers and our f...


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In search of the blue gold

by Marine Protte-Rieg | 5 January 2021

Faced with demographic growth and the future amplification of climate change and health crises, rainwater is more than ever a precious resource for the sahelian rural populations. Channeling, collecting and storing this ephemeral "blue gold" becomes vital, to guarantee the fragile balance between the different uses of water, which tend to cause more conflicts each year.

In collaboration with the Water Harvesting Lab of Florence Univesity (Italy), APAF Senegal and local stakeholders, IRHA Sen...


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The observation, identification and participatory analysis of the natural ressources degradation dynamics are at the heart of the ecosystem approach and nature-based solutions, supported by IRHA as part of its interventions and advocacy.

In the “Rain, Forest and People” project area (Fatick department, Senegal), IRHA and APAF Senegal have carried out, in close collaboration with local actors, a retrospective and multi-scale territorial diagnosis on the historical and anthropogenic causes...


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Harvesting "blue gold"

by Marine Protte-Rieg | 23 August 2020

Two months after the beginning of a generous monsoon season in the “Rain, Forest and People” project area, the APAF Senegal team visited households which benefited from the construction of a Calabash in June 2020. The purpose of the visit was to check the quality of the new constructions and to measure the water level in the tanks.

The team was very much welcome by the selected families. The latter were fully satisfied and happy with their new rainwater harvesting system. According to test...


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Mission completed for the IRHA Senegal team!

After ten intensive days of data collection in Keur Maba Diakhou Bamunicipality (Kaolack region), it is time to handover to the APAF Senegal team for agroforestry nurseries monitoring, in the five beneficiary villages of #ofeathandrain project!

Huge thanks to Yancoba Sall Diene, advisor in agroforestry techniques of the area and Mr. Dramé, agroforestry farmer from Mandera, teacher at high school and very committed eco-citizen, for their formi...


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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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Thirty-five farmers in Senegal’s Fatick-Thiès region are ready to harvest rain! In late May, IRHA’s Florian Biesler travelled to Senegal with our director, Marc Sylvestre, to kick off the project’s calabash construction. These rainwater reservoirs will provide the first volley of farmers participating in the 'Rain, Forests, People’ agroforestry project with the means of storing harvested rainwater. This resource will provide drinking water for their families, even at the end of the ...


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Field Notes from Florian Bielser

by Florian Biesler (trans. R. Nisbet) | 1 July 2019

Florian Bielser is a twenty-six-year-old MSc student of environmental engineering at the EPFL, Switzerland. He is currently on placement as an IRHA field manager. Here’s an edited translation of his Senegalese Field Journal:

Boyard N’diodiom, 25.06.2019

Marc and I arrived in Dakar at dusk on the 24th of May. Our short night’s sleep, followed by a bus journey, left me feeling groggy as we visited IRHA Blue Schools in Senegal’s main peanut processing and trading centre, Kaolack. But th...


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Working with committees in seven villages located in the Fatick-Thiès region of Senegal, we have now selected thirty-five local farmers, who we will train and assist in building agroforestry parcels on their land. A further seven villages will be identified in 2020, and another cohort of approximately thirty five farmers will be selected, trained and assisted to develop agroforestry parcels. The village meetings of spring 2019 took place in school classrooms, in village squares under speakin...


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Senegal’s rural communities live in rapidly changing natural environments. 22 % of Senegalese (13 million people) inhabit areas where soil fertility has been dramatically reduced in the past three decades, mainly through water erosion.[1] Located in Sub-Saharan Africa, the country’s grasslands increasingly experience annual bushfires, compounding the erosion of their soils. Additionally, between 2001 and 2009, the area of cropland increased by 175 %, with large areas of this zone becomi...


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