Cross-learning on integrated watershed management

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Background

Rural communities need water not only for consumption but also for growing crops and rearing livestock. At the same time, water has a destructive potential. Heavy rainfall over short periods can lead to massive erosion of soil, particularly on slopes where the soil is exposed. Rainfall over longer periods can lead to nutrient leaching as well as more catastrophic events like landslides. Water is a scarce commodity and improved water management practices are critical for ensuring the availability of drinking water, production of food, and for improved living conditions.

Despite the many challenges it faces in watershed management, Nepal has demonstrated a wide range of good practices in the field with the potential for upscaling. Community forestry; improved animal husbandry; gender-responsive, climate-smart agricultural practices; alternative energy solutions; springshed management; and many other practices have reduced soil erosion and associated risks.  Accordingly, ICIMOD, together with Soil and Water Conservation Society (SOWCOS) Nepal and the Agha Khan Foundation (AKF) Afghanistan, is organizing a seven-day cross-learning programme on integrated watershed management. 

Participants from AKF will visit sites in Kathmandu and Kavre districts to observe and learn about the piloted methods and processes for sustainable and affordable land and water management and climate-resilient agriculture solutions for increased income, food security, disaster risk reduction, and enhanced ecosystem services. This experience sharing and learning event is being organized as part of the partnership framework between ICIMOD and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

The participants will also interact with local farmers and community members, especially women, and listen to their stories of change. The participants will learn about low-cost soil and water conservation and bioengineering for land management and the hydrogeological approach to springshed management.

Objective of the visit

This exchange visit is intended to promote cross-learning regarding the watershed management practices in Nepal and Afghanistan. It aims to improve livelihoods and food security in Afghanistan through sustainable natural resource management in selected watersheds.

Expected results

Participants will be able to innovatively and practically implement the lessons learned in Nepal for integrated watershed management approaches and plans in the Afghanistan context.