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Water Futures: Towards Equitable Resource Management Strategies

This page is no longer updated. The information presented here formed part of our previous areas of research. This has included research carried out on behalf of our research partners, commerical contracts and also the Scottish Goverment's Strategic research programme during the period 2011 - 2016.

Scottish Goverment LogoWe have left these pages here to provide background information on our previous areas of research. Further details on the RESAS strategic programme of research (2016-21) will be made available.

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Riverboat image from Malawi
The James Hutton Institute is helping to support effective and equitable water management through its role in supporting a VSO-led project called “WATERS”.

The James Hutton Institute helped to support effective and equitable water management, through its role in supporting a VSO-led project called “WATERS” (Water Futures: Towards Equitable Resource Management Strategies).  This project ran from late 2012 to early 2015, and is built on by an ongoing project called "MAJI".

The James Hutton Institute’s role is contribute its expertise in participatory methods that allow communities to share and build understanding of socio-ecological systems and local values of the ecosystem services provided, and advice and expertise in participatory and inclusive scenario-building processes. This project will involve work across Karonga, Chikiwawa, Nsanje and Salima districts, involving district governments and focused on building capacity with the Village Natural Resource Management Committees (VNRMC).  VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas) has been working directly with partners and communities in Malawi for over 40 years. Apart from the VSO and the James Hutton Institute, other partners in this project are - LEAD-SEA (Leadership for Environment And Development - South-East Africa, and CEPA (Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy).

This work is funded by the Scottish Government, as part of the first round of projects funded by its Climate Justice Fund. This project is part of set of projects with a particular focus on ensuring climate adapted solutions for managing water resources for all, within a framework that addresses the vulnerability of people, particularly the poor, as well as the wider environment.  To see a video of Julia Martin-Ortega describing this project, shot within Malawi in May 2013, please click here to visit the youtube link. To see a video of Dagrous Msiska, from VSO, describing the project in the Chichewa language, please click here to visit the youtube link

To find out more about the James Hutton Institute’s role in this project, contact Kerry Waylen.

News related to the project

WATERS in the Scottish Parliament - March 2013

When Her Excellency President Banda of Malawi visited Scotland in March 2013, the WATERS project was mentioned by Scotland's First Minister in the Scottish Parliament in his response to her address:

"In regions such as Karonga and Nsanje, climate change is making towns, villages and farms more vulnerable to droughts, floods and late starts to the rainy season.  Voluntary Services Overseas Scotland is therefore working with the village communities and planning departments to ensure water resources are used more effectively. They are making it a priority to protect the poorest and most marginalised - especially women subsistence farmers and malnourished children."

For more information about this speech on 19 March 2013, Visit the full text on the Scottish Government's website

James Hutton Institute trip to Malawi- May 2013

In May 2013, Kerry Waylen and Julia Martin Ortega from the James Hutton Institute spent one month in Malawi to lead and participate in a series of knowledge exchange workshops.  All the workshops had a focus on an Ecosystem Services Approach, with a particular focus on using this to promote systems thinking. Their report from this visit is available here (pdf file 1.4 MB). These workshops start a dialogue on how concepts can be useful for and incorporated in planning processes for natural resource management and climate-change adaption. Workshops were carried out with three types of participants.

  • Higher district level workshop, at Zomba, including high-level officials from four districts (Nsanje; Salima; Chihkawa and Karonga), associated NGO staff and the VSO volunteers.
  • District level workshops focused on teams of district officials and other local stakeholders (for example, NGOs acting locally).
  • Community level workshop involving representatives of VNMRCs, other relevant local committees (for example, health, family planning), extension workers and NGOs.

These workshops are the first step of a longer process, aimed at improving the planning processes and increasing the involvement of local communities. Important challenges still remain ahead. However, to date, significant success has been achieved in gaining the trust, commitment and capacity of both district officials and local-level committees, in order to improve the resilience of planning and future environmental management.

WATERS mentioned as key to Institute's work to support international development - September 2013

NIDOS is a network of international development organisations based in Scotland. In its September 2013 newsletter. In their newsletter, a recent article describing the work of the James Hutton Institute focused on WATERS as a key example project of the work the institute does to support developing country communities. View the newsletter on their website here

WATERS in the Malawi national media - September 2013

On 23rd September, the project was featured on page 6 of "The Nation" newspaper in Malawi - click here to see a copy of this article.

Research

Areas of Interest


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.