WATDEV Sensitization meeting held in Egypt

WATDEV Sensitization meeting held in Egypt

Participants during the WATDEV Sensitization meeting held in Sekem Farm in Belbeis, Egypt

ASARECA today (July 30, 2023) joined Egyptian partners, Heliopolis University, in a workshop to validate Best Management Practices with Egyptian stakeholders, including farmers under the WATDEV Project. The meeting held in Sekem Farm in Belbeis, Desert Road, attracted 48 (10 females: 38 male) participants.

According to Prof. Dr. Sherif Mohamady Elsayed, the coordinator the Project, the objective of the awareness meeting is to enhance the implementation of selected Best Management Practices and innovations in the local communities of the study areas where Best Management Practices and Innovations will be studied and analysed for implementation and upscaling under the WATdev Project. Prof. Elsayed heads the project by virtue of his position as the Vice Dean for Society Services and Environmental Development in the Faculty of Engineering, Heliopolis University.

Speaking at the opening session Prof Alsayed said, the awareness sessions are meant to explain selected BMPs and innovations, outline goals, means and possible impacts.

In remarks, ASARECA’s Acting Head of Programmes, Mr. Moses Odeke who is currently coordinating the initiative at the regional level, explained that following the first round of awareness sessions in Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya in 2022, a multi-actor stakeholder meeting held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, selected a combination of BMPs for each intervention country to pilot under the WATdev Project. “The second round of intervention meetings which have now been carried out in all intervention countries is therefore meant to validate the selected BMPs by reviewing their benefits, feasibility, practicability and challenges in application and further prioritise objectives for each BMPs,” said Mr. Odeke.  “This exercise will bring forward specific needs and technical solutions to adapt the selected BMPs to the local content.”

The meeting was attended by the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies-Institute of Bari (CIHEAM Bari) representatives, Mr. Claudio Bogliotti, the Scientific lead of the Project and Dr. Gaetano Ladisa, the Administrative lead.

Mr. Claudio thanked the local participants for the enthusiasm in analysing the BMPs, ASARECA for coordination of actors across the continent, and Heliopolis University for mobilising stakeholders. “This is the 4th of a series of awareness events organised under the WATdev Project through which we hope to learn, share and take up comments from stakeholders on BMPs,” he noted. “We expect the Consultations in Egypt to give us critical and clear recommendations to provide continuity to the project content, which will enable us develop it further project further.”

Dr. Gaeteno thanked the farmers and government stakeholders for their keenness. “Egypt was the first place where stakeholder consultations were held in September 2022, which set off a research process where BMPs were selected,” said Dr. Gaetano. “The meeting will define priorities and goals that farmers need to achieve in the implementation of the BMPs, which will in turn inform the tools to be provided to local authorities to refine the BMPs in Egypt.”

In an opening address Prof Wael Khairy (PhD), Head of Civil Engineering Department (Water Programme) Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development, who spoke on behalf of the

Dean Faculty of Engineering affirmed the commitment of the Faculty of Engineering, Heliopolis University, with its four branches, Water Engineering – Energy Engineering – Mechatronics Engineering and Green Architecture Engineering to serve the rural community within the university’s scope in Belbies in particular, by developing sustainable applied solutions that reduce competition for water and clean energy among farmers.

“These solutions are also useful in increasing the productivity of a cubic meter of water. Here comes the role of the individual in conserving water from loss, waste and pollution because it is an existential source without which life cannot continue,” he noted.

The project Climate Smart Water Management and Sustainable Development for Food and Agriculture in North-East Africa (WATDEV) is implemented by CIHEAM-BARI, Italy in collaboration with European partners (SKYKE, CNR and ISRIC) and African partners to promote innovations at the water energy and agriculture nexus to enhance economic development and resilience to climate change in Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

In Ethiopia, the Project is implemented in partnership with the Water and Land Resource Centre, Addis Ababa University; in Kenya, it is implemented in collaboration with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), and in Sudan it is implemented in collaboration with the Water Research Centre. It brings together academia, policy, and private sector to create an environment conducive to agricultural innovation and modern transformation.

ASARECA is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the project activities in the four African partners, who mainly are part of its wide constituents in the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS). The project is supported by DG International partnerships (INTPA) of the European Union under the Development of Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture (DeSIRA) initiative and led by the Italian Agency for Development Corporation. (AICS).

Date Published: Thursday, 03 August 2023