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Sharing Insights on Stewardship Partnerships at the Climate Smart Agriculture Policy Dialogue in South Africa

From 13-15 March 2023, stakeholders from the public sector, representatives of regional economic communities (RECs), academic and research institutions, the scientific community, and civil society gathered to share knowledge, and experience in the “Climate Smart Agriculture Policy Dialogue, transitioning to resilient farming in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).”  

At the conference, our NatuReS colleague, Aristarick Mkenda, shared insights from stewardship partnerships in the Pangani Basin in Tanzania. The dialogue was convened by the Transforming Smallholder Irrigation in Southern Africa (TISA) consortium in collaboration with the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) at the University of Pretoria’s Future Africa Campus in Pretoria, South Africa. The conference theme was “Transitioning to Climate-Resilient Farming Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA),” focusing on the next generation of research, smart technology, policy development and best practices.

The Climate Smart Agriculture Policy Dialogue Goals:

The Policy Dialogue aimed to accomplish the following: 

  • Share data demonstrating the value of climate-smart farming in SSA’s transition to resilient farming communities. 
  • Provide suggestions on how to scale up the development of climate-smart and resilient farming systems in SSA. 
  • Networking and encouraging collaborations and action 

Social inclusion in the context of agriculture and food systems, water resources use, and climate action, was one of the conference’s important sub-themes. Communities, women and youths crucially contribute to agriculture and SSA catchments as farmers, workers and entrepreneurs.  Depending on the regions, these groups face distinct constraints that reduce their productivity and limit their contributions to agricultural production, family livelihoods, and economic growth. As a result, the importance of context-sensitive and inclusive approaches to support them was emphasized. 

Presentation on: Addressing Water Security through Water Stewardship Partnerships. Experiences from the Pangani Basin in Tanzania

NatuReS colleague Aristarick Mkenda shared perspectives on stewardship partnerships as a possible solution to increase effective stakeholder participation and representation to address shared challenges in water-stressed catchments. Sustainable and participatory water management, thereby, is fundamental to sustainable agriculture. His presentation was based on his co-authored scientific article (Richards et al., 2022) for the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) that analysed the partnership approach as a solution for inclusive participation. The partnerships facilitated by NatuReS in the Pangani River Basin in Tanzania served as empirical data. 

Stewardship partnerships answer other IWRM implementation gaps. For example, additional financing from private sector partners can overcome the need for more funds to implement projects. 

A productive discussion with the participants followed the presentation, in which challenges and their possible solutions of stewardship partnerships were discussed, such as costs of participation and balanced involvement of the private sector.  

Collaboration to Address the Growing Complexity in the Agricultural Sector

In the concluding remarks of the conferences, Prof. Jammie Pittock from Australian National University (ANU) highlighted that the objectives in the agricultural sector have become much more complicated since they have grown from simply producing food to cover diverse societal needs and adapting to climate variability. The complexity of the issues and topics in agriculture is making collaborations and partnerships between individuals and sectors more important now than ever.  

We thank the “Climate Smart Agriculture Policy Dialogue” and its inspiring participants for the invitation and the productive conference days and are looking forward to more valuable exchanges. 

For more information about addressing water security through water stewardship partnerships, you can access the research article here

Inclusively and sustainably managing natural resources: Experiences from cross-sectoral stewardship partnerships in Tanzania 

Collaborative approaches to natural resources governance enable accountability and equitable allocation of resources between competing demands, as can be the case between upstream and downstream water use needs. GIZ’s Natural Resources Stewardship (NatuReS) programme provides facilitation and strategy in setting up cross-sectoral stewardship partnerships for Tanzanian stakeholders to jointly analyze and address natural resources risks, aiming at generating social, environmental and economic benefits.

The programme developed the Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework (NRAF) as a five-phased participatory process to enable stakeholders from businesses, communities, and governments to tackle shared environmental risks together.

Setting up Stewardship Partnerships in Tanzanian River Catchments

Stewardship partnerships supported by GIZ-NatuReS are built on the understanding that natural resources are better managed through cross-sectoral collaboration. Leveraging the resources and capacities of every sector, the availability and integrity of these resources can be ensured in the long term. Partnerships are established through a step-by-step inclusive process, guiding partners in tackling shared environmental risks in a participatory manner. The aim is to reduce classical silo working systems by accompanying public, private, and civil society sector in identifying joint risks and supporting them in developing joint solutions to reduce these risks. Under this framework, NatuReS Tanzania acts as a neutral broker – supporting partners in working together to find mutually beneficial solutions for sustainable economic growth and the continued use of precious natural resources (Richards et. al, 2022)

Partners under the Sustainable Water Management Partnership (SUWAMA) in Usa River, Northern Tanzania, during the signing of their Partnership Action Plan. Copyright: GIZ/Aristarick Mkenda. 

Enhancing Inclusive Participation in Water Resources Governance

NatuReS in Tanzania has enhanced inclusive participation within the supported partnerships by ensuring the equal involvement and representation of all stakeholders in the discussion, planning and decision-making processes in natural resources management. To enable cross-sectoral collaboration, good leadership and coordination mechanisms are of paramount importance. Therefore, the key added value the partnership approach brings to natural resources management is improving the communication and coordination between various users, who are otherwise often not communicating or even hostile towards each other. The regular good governance meetings that partners under the Sustainable Water Management Partnership (SUWAMA) held prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and steering committee meetings that continue to date are examples of these joint fora. In these meetings, participants exchange about how regulators’ roles and responsibilities can be harmonized to increase results-based decision-making, collaboration between sectors can be enhanced, and compliance to environmental regulations be better enforced.  

SUWAMA Partners in Usa River, Northern Tanzania, discussing governance issues in the sub-catchment. Copyright: GIZ/Adelaide Mkwawa. 

Strengthening Civil Society Organizations 

To improve communities and civil society participation, NatuReS has continuously supported the capacitation of Water Users Associations (WUAs), who were previously inactive. WUAs are legal entities stemming from the Water Resources Management Act of 2009. They act as “small water boards” at the community level and are designed as the lowest participative organizations for water resources management within defined basins. Covering segments of watersheds, they are broadly responsible for water conservation activities, conflict management over water issues, and water allocation to irrigators through a permitting system. They are mandated by the Water Act and respective basin boards to bring up the issues of water users at the basin level. As “the eyes and ears” on the ground for the basin offices, they are particularly insightful in managing conflicts over water allocation and know the livelihood activities of local communities.

Water Users Association members participating in a Financial Management training. Copyright: GIZ/Ebrania Mlimbila.

As a WUA leader, I was inspired to join the partnership after seeing the challenges of working with a large group of water users. The partnership has worked by bringing together investors, water users and other diverse stakeholders. We know what everyone is doing, where water is being abstracted from and for what purpose. Furthermore, water users are now conversant with the various governance structures responsible in taking care and overseeing the available water sources. Prior to joining the partnership, Water Users Associations and the Pangani Basin Water Office would constantly be accused of not equitably distributing water among beneficiaries. Through improved coordination, stakeholders now understand their roles and responsibilities in taking care of this precious natural resource. 

– Tito Kitomari, Upper Kikuletwa WUA Leader 

NatuReS undertook a capacity assessment of the WUAs, identified areas for enhancing their capacity, and provided trainings within the areas of Catchment Conservation – enabling them to play a greater role in sustainable catchment conservation and management; Financial Management – supporting them in managing the finances of their institutions; as well as Leadership and Governance – to build their capacity on strategic leadership, focusing on governance and community leadership roles. 

Water resources issues concern everyone in the community, therefore involvement [participation] is crucial. Partnerships provide a platform where stakeholders discuss these issues and help us to come up with more powerful solutions.

– Karim Kimaro, Weruweru WUA Secretary

Steering Private Sector Funds towards Water Resources Management  

Gabions installed at the DOMIKWA irrigation furrow intake. Copyright: GIZ/Ebrania Mlimbila.

Under partnerships following a stewardship approach, businesses go beyond their corporate social responsibility by making in-cash and in-kind contributions to partnership activities, leveraging funds for public sector to adequately manage natural resources. A good example is the DOMIKWA irrigation furrow structural rehabilitation in the Usa River sub-catchment. The furrow, located along the Usa River, is one of the main furrows supplying water in the area. Partners joined forces to rehabilitate it after its structure had severely deteriorated over time. In-cash and in-kind contributions of 38.5M and 10M Tanzanian shillings were pledged by private sector and furrow members, respectively. The private sector procured most of the construction materials and covered all the labor costs. 

Without effective collaboration between government agencies, businesses and communities, it is impossible to make these activities [water resources management] sustainable.

– Abraham Yessaya, Community Development Officer, PBWB
DOMIKWA furrow structural rehabilitation discussions between public sector, private sector and civil society. Copyright: GIZ/Ebrania Mlimbila.

Availability and good quality of natural resources like water, soil or air are key to livelihoods and economies. Their scarcity, endangerment or mismanagement can provoke conflicts. Innovative approaches like natural resources stewardship offer an opportunity to address shared risks and develop joint, inclusive and long-lasting solutions for water-stressed catchments such as the Pangani Basin in Tanzania.

Maintaining a 7-kilometer-long river stream is too much to handle for one company alone. It is difficult to monitor issues such as water theft, structural issues and vandalism at the furrows and water source. As a beneficiary, Dekker Chrysanten believes that collective action is necessary to resolve water challenges. Addressing water risks becomes easier as the responsibility to maintain the river stream is equitably shared amongst stakeholders.

– Gabriel Steven, Flower Transporter and Breeding officer, Dekker Chrysanten 

Online Permit System Easing Compliance on Water Use and Wastewater Discharge in Tanzania

Sustainable water resources management is dependent on multi-sectoral efforts enabling water-conscious interventions. Tanzania’s Water Resources Management Act No. 11 of 2009 regulates water allocation, wastewater discharge and borehole drilling through water use and discharge permits. To enhance compliance to this Act, the Ministry of Water (MoW) and the National e-Government Agency (eGA) have developed the Water User Information Management System (WUMIS), through NatuReS’ support under the Partnership with Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA). WUMIS is a permitting system that allows applicants to apply for water use or discharge permits online.

The overall ambition of WUMIS is to support online services and improve the permit management cycle. Its coverage includes permit application, permit related payments, as well as monitoring and reporting processes against permit requirements.

Industrial Wastewater Management in Tanzania: Challenges and Solutions

In July 2022, 18 participants, from nine Basin Water Boards and two from the Ministry of Water, were trained on the use and application of WUMIS on the website and mobile application platforms. The system is now declared ready to use for all nine Basin Water Boards in the country. The Maji Information System (MAJI IS) was already rolled out for use by all institutions under Ministry of Water including Basin Water Boards since 2021.

Eliya Joseph from Multics Systems, a Tanzanian technology company, leading the 2nd User Acceptance Test (UAT) exercise. Copyright: GIZ/

While WUMIS was initially developed as an online permit application solution for the Ministry of Water, the tool will subsequently be enhanced to cater for all permit-related applications including industrial wastewater discharge. This will make it useful for other regulatory agencies such as the Tanzanian Export Processing Authority, the National Environment Management Council or Water and Supply and Sanitation Authorities, easing the challenge of wastewater management.

Mrs. Rosemary Rwebugisa, Assistant Director – Water Resources (second left) and other participants during a break-out session discussion. Copyright: GIZ/Aristarick Mkenda

Enabling applicants to apply for permits without being obliged to travel to the Basin Boards offices is expected to raise compliance to Water Resources Management Act No. 11 of 2009 in the areas of water use, borehole drilling and wastewater discharge nationally.

Integrated Water Resources Management Learning Journey: Tanzania and Kingdom of Lesotho Experience Exchange 

The Tanzanian Ministry of Water, in collaboration with GIZ’s ‘Water Security and Climate Resilience in Urban Areas Programme’ and NatuReS, hosted a delegation from Lesotho, coordinated by the GIZ programme ‘Support to Integrated Catchment Management in Lesotho (ICM)’ on their learning mission in Tanzania from the 25th to 27th May 2022. Participants were from the government of Lesotho’s programme ReNOKA (‘We are a river’), which is aiming at the sustainable and climate-resilient restoration and management of water and land. ReNOKA is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-financed by the European Union. The ICM programme and the Kingdom of Lesotho’s Ministry of Water are supporting its implementation technically. 

Group photo after the second day in Usa River, Arusha. Copyright: GIZ/Aristarick Mkenda

The objective of the learning mission was to provide high-level delegates from different line ministries from Lesotho with experiences on integrated water resources management implementation, as well as the stewardship approach, to potentially be replicated in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The events took place in the Kikuletwa Catchment in the Pangani Basin located in Northern Tanzania and included 19 participants.   

During their visit, the group had a chance to interact with various stakeholders and conduct visits to different partnership areas in the Weruweru and Usa River sub-catchments. This included for example a visit to a tree seedling nursery supported by the Sustainable Water Management Partnership (SUWAMA) in the Weruweru sub-catchment through a local NGO, Kijani Pamoja, which leads the afforestation efforts in the catchment. 

Mr. Segule Segule, Director of Pangani Basin Water Board. Copyright: GIZ/PBWB

In his remarks, the Director of Pangani Basin Water Board, Mr. Segule Segule, reiterated that the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management is a learning process. Improvements in the areas of water resources data management, water source protection and multi-stakeholder engagement have been made by making water resources management a collective responsibility of all stakeholders. 

Mr. Jeremiah Mazengo, Dekker Chrysanten Flower Company Manager. Copyright: GIZ/Ebrania Mlimbila

“It is very important for us to work together with public sector and communities in protecting (natural) resources – which are vital to our business. We are collaborating with other stakeholders in the sub-catchment to address different issues, including the conservation and improvement of our irrigation furrow management,” said Mr. Jeremiah Mazengo, Manager at the flower company Dekker Chrysanten, during a panel discussion. 

Mr Tito Kitomari (left), Usa River Water Users Association (WUA), sharing insights about WUA’s involvement in the SUWAMA partnership in Usa River. Copyright: GIZ/Aristarick Mkenda 

The SUWAMA partnership in Weruweru provides a platform for in-cash and in-kind contributions from public, private and civil society sectors to address their shared water resources risks. Other stakeholders represented in the partnership include African Plantation Kilimanjaro (APK) and the Weruweru Water Users Association (JUWAMAWE). 

Discussions at a tree nursery managed by Kijani Pamoja through the SUWAMA partnership in Weruweru. Copyright:GIZ/PBWB 

The key reflections from the learning mission were the importance of identifying shared risks, the mapping and engagement of stakeholders at all levels, the clarity of roles and responsibilities among regulators and the importance of intensive community awareness programmes.  

Visiting one of the demonstration farms supported by RIKOLTO to showcase water use efficiency and improved farming methods. Copyright: GIZ/PBWB