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Image RAIN COMMUNITIES : Restoring the ecosystem through nature based solution

Rain Communities are targeted communities in mid hills of Nepal where nature-based solutions have been implemented through Integrated Water Resouce Management (IWRM) activities in partnership with Kanchan Nepal.

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Image Here we go with Blue School#11 in Tobang (Nepal)

Let's go for Blue School#11! (Tobang, Nepal). The Kanchan Nepal team met with the local authorities and the school of Janapriya to launch the project.

This initiative will help in enabling an environment where pupils can be safe and study. We will rehabilitate toilets, build 2 cisterns to collect rainwater and store it, build a roof serving as a catchment area as well as hand washing stations.

This initiative is supported by the Hirzel Foundation and the Services Industriels de Terre Sainte et...


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And 10! Kalika Blue School

by Blandine Barthod | 17 February 2021

And 10 ...! The success of the blue schools continues and it is spreading in Pokhara region.

After having implemented 4 Blue Schools from 2011-2013 in marginalized communities of the Annapurna Massif region, which are seriously lacking access to safe drinking water, quality sanitation and knowledge on best hygiene practices, IRHA and its local partner Kanchan Nepal have received requests from other local communities to implement the Blue School concept in the region.

Thus, a new Blue School...
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In search of the blue gold

by Marine Protte-Rieg | 5 January 2021
Image In search of the blue gold

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,...


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Harvesting "blue gold"

by Marine Protte-Rieg | 23 August 2020
Visite effectuée auprès des bénéficiaires du village de Soudiane Thiélème (commune de Djilasse, département de Fatick). A gauche de la calabash : Abdoulaye Gadiaga, Conseiller en techniques agroforestières du projet « La pluie, la forêt et les Hommes ». A droite : Mansour Ndiaye, directeur exécutif d’APAF Sénégal.

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...


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Image Keur Maba Diakhou Ba: Bringing Earth, Rain and People together.

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...


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Image Talking Agroforestry with APAF-Senegal during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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...


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Mapping Rain for Collective Gain

by Rachel Nisbet | 27 February 2020
Image Mapping Rain for Collective Gain

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...


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Image Photo Journal: Blandine Barthod Visits IRHA Blue Schools in Nepal

Blandine Barthod’s assessment of IRHA’s 10 Blue Schools in Nepal took her through the mountain region to the East of Pokhara. She visited the following schools between 16 October and 13 November 2019, with the help of our local project partners Kanchan Nepal:

Accompanied by a translator, she first attended the opening of a new Blue School at Bijaya village, with its news rainwater harvesting tank and toilets (images 1 & 2 below).

She then visited an abandoned school at Arundaya,...


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Image Book Review:  Bob Bouleware’s 'Alternative Water Sources and Wastewater Management'

Book Review

Bob Bouleware’s Alternative Water Sources and Wastewater Management (2012) offers an excellent overview of the intersection between precipitation harvesting (rain, fog, dew) and wastewater management. By bringing these topics together, this book offers a timely introduction to water management practices that contribute to water, nutrient and energy recycling. Stopping the linear flow of nutrients from land, into watercourses and out to sea is urgent: the hypoxia...


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Image Calabash Construction as Rainwater Hospitality

After three months working in our agroforestry project in Senegal, I’ve returned to Switzerland. My fieldwork has allowed me to experience this country’s extremely arid environment. In the Fatick region, the seasons contrast starkly. Normally, the rainy season, spanning the months of July to September, is when crops are planted in rural areas. However, 2019 proved to be an exceptional year, with the rains arriving extremely late. The first real rains only fell in the last week of...


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Image A Green Thought in a Blue School

What’s value of a tree? Tree planting is a feature of our Blue Schools, whose five components comprise rainwater harvesting, sanitation, hygiene training, tree planting and school gardens. On re-visiting two IRHA Blue Schools in Kaolack, Senegal earlier this month, Marc Sylvestre (IRHA’s Executive Director) was delighted to observe the positive impact on-campus tree planting has within the local community. The Kaolack Blue Schools were established in 2011, in partnership with Caritas...


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Image Readying for Rain (Senegal: Rain, Forests, People Project)

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
Image Field Notes from Florian Bielser

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...


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Bolivian Blue School Report

by Rachel Nisbet | 28 May 2019
Image Bolivian Blue School Report

We are delighted that the Bolivian Blue School and health post we established in collaboration with Sumaj Punchay has now been operational for over six months. Sumaj Punchay means 'towards better days’ in the Quechua language. This NGO has a holistic approach to development. They approached our NGO as IRHA’s Blue School model fulfills their own development targets of education, disease prevention, securing food sovereignty and managing natural resources. The school and associated...


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Image  ‘Rain, Forests, People’ Project: Phase One Completed

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...


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The Calabash Tank Manual

by Rachel Nisbet | 28 April 2019
Image The Calabash Tank Manual

The Calabash Tank Manual is published by the Dutch organization Clean Water Healthy Village (degevuldewaterkruik).Paul Akkerman, who wrote the manual, co-founded this rainwater harvesting project in Bedanda, Guinea-Bisseau, in 2005. Working with Bicosse Nandafa, he sought to provide an alternative drinking water source as aquifers in the country’s coastal region experienced pronounced saltwater intrusion during the dry season. Through this intervention, Paul and his colleagues were able...


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Image Improving Water Security and Resilience in Kaski District, Nepal In Collaboration with Kanchan Nepal

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...


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Image Agroforestry and Water harvesting for food security : New project in Senegal

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...


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Image Progress of Blue School - Trapiche Bajo

Lack of water, obsolete sanitary infrastructure, unacceptable hygiene conditions and strong local demand. The IRHA, in partnership with Sumaj Punchay, designed a Blue School to provide a concrete and effective response to the local communities.


We build 2 ferrocement tanks of 20 m3 and rehabilitation sanitary facilities to provide drinking water and hygiene acceptable to children and fight against water-related contamination (diarrhea).




Image Blue School Trapiche Bajo (Bolivia) - Launch

Launched in March 2018, the project of the Blue School Trapiche Bajo (Potosi - Bolovie) is progressing well. The first visits and evaluations were conducted by our local partner Sumaj Punchay and the work will have to start very soon.

As can be seen in the photo, many municipalities have installed playgrounds (blue-roofed buildings) with large roof areas. Faced with a lack of water, IRHA re-uses intelligently and efficiently the catchment areasto collect thousands of liters of rainwater that...
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