Learning Alliances Development for scaling up of multi-purpose

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					      Learning Alliances
Development for scaling up
of multi-purpose farm ponds
 in a semi-arid region of the
        Mekong basin

     Sawaeng Ruaysoongnern
     Khon Kaen University, Thailand
      Frits Penning de Vries
           IWMI-SA, Pretoria
Northeast Thailand: the national
        poorest region
Sandy soils and flat landscape
Erratic rainfalls with long dry periods
Government supported with large and
 small scale irrigation since 1960s

 Only 5-8% coverage of agricultural lands depending annual rainfall
 Due to flat landscape, insufficient storages, and distribution problems
Farm pond initiation to bridge some
     of the gaps from 1970s
Unsuitable ponds due to one-fit-all
planning, and then hardly used or
Innovator farmers created multiple-purpose
    farm ponds that suit to their diverse
      production systems since 1980s
 Criteria for multi-purpose farm ponds

• Ecosystems: rain, land and soil types
• Land size, shape and production systems
• Pond number, size, shape, layout, multiple
  depth and digging systems to fit to
  – Multiple uses, both domestic and productive
  – Water recycling, from production systems
  – Waste water management and
  – Pumps and water use tools
And successes of farm pond* development
       for their livelihoods (1990s)

         (*Also with other development activities)
Developed into empowered groups
  and Local Wisdom Networks
  Background and some working
approaches of the farmer networks
• Originally core human right networks
  supporting each other on various issues
• Acquired some unsustainable benefits
• Rethinking what are more sustainable
• Self development was an answer
• Once success, caring and sharing
  adopting from the past
• Extending for larger impacts of the works
Currently there are 12 Local Wisdom
  Networks of ~20,000 members.

        Network leaders at monthly meeting
   As a critical mass of successes,
attracting supports and policy makers
   'Learning Alliances' as the main
       development approach
• Understanding resources and constraints from
  shared experiences and lesson learned
• Sharing necessary knowledge, both internally
  and externally across previous boundaries
• Development learning alliances with both local
  people, government officials and scientist
• Once clear and success, link to national level
  policy makers for scaling up through interactive
• Involving most stakeholders in periodic meetings
  for activity continuation
Impacts of the learning alliance activities on
  farm pond management and beyond
• Efficient water resource management
• Mutual understanding lead to new and
  better national policy
• By-passing various bottleneck steps
• Expansion of appropriate water resource
  development and technologies
• Extending to other local and national
  policies for development
     Significant learning alliance
• Addressing natural, social, financial and
  human capitals for realistic development
• Clearly identify and involve key players in
  most necessary working aspects
• Identifications of sustainable development
  and working approaches
• Creating ownerships at all levels
• Win-win situation of collective efforts for
  rural development
Implication to technical knowledge
• Learning alliance is a high potential
  approach for any aspects of research and
• Learning alliance management is primarily
  time and resource consuming but saving
  overall times and efforts afterwards
• Upgraded knowledge (KM) and community
  of practice (CoP) are key outcomes of
  learning alliance activities
    Implications to research and
• Learning alliances approaches could
  – Sustainable water resource and community
  – Participatory water management technology
    development and upscaling
  – Local wisdom utilization and development
  – Potential integration of all available technical
    know how’s to knowledge-based development
  – Realistic bottom up (~integrated) development
    Thank you for your attention

With smiles from learning alliance members with PM Thaksin

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