By definition WATER is a clue topic! Today more than in the past. Vandana Shiva many times wrote that the next wars will be fought for water and not for oil.
The topic is so relevant that I would like to publish for this article something more detailed and peculiar than my own thoughts. That’s why I prefer to report this short extract from “Water and the Rural Poor: Interventions for improving Livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa“:
Insecure access to water for consumption and productive uses is a major constraint on poverty reduction in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). For millions of smallholder farmers, fishers and herders in SSA, water is one of the most important production assets, and securing access to and control and management of water is key to enhancing their livelihoods. The potential exists for well-targeted, local interventions in water that contribute to rapid improvement in the livelihoods of the rural poor in SSA and help attain the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. It discusses conditions for success and proposes water-based, context-specific, and livelihood-centered approaches to poverty reduction in rural areas.
Given the predominance of rural poverty in SSA, and given that agriculture will remain the main source of livelihood, poverty reduction strategies need to focus on improving productivity in this sector. This report focuses on agricultural water because:
(i) it plays a central role in agriculture-based rural livelihoods;
(ii) adequate availability and reliable access to water is frequently a constraint on production; and
(iii) water provides a focal point around which other interventions can be organized.
Examples of successful water projects in SSA exist, and there are important opportunities for new investments in water. Their success will depend on the development of new models of interventions, centered on enhancing the diversity of livelihood conditions of rural populations. A large part of the success of future investments in water control will depend on a more comprehensive analysis of dynamic opportunities and needs, which are closely linked to the shifting biophysical and socio-economic contexts.
However, there is no “one size fits all” approach for improving livelihoods. Different contexts and needs will require different types of investments, in which market or household food security, prevailing agroclimatic conditions and associated farming systems, and the overall socio-economic and institutional environment will guide the choice from a non-prescriptive menu of appropriate interventions at different scales.