Social Infrastructure for Soil Conservation [Ethiopia]

approaches_2390 - Ethiopia

Completeness: 78%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
CDE Centre for Development and Environment (CDE Centre for Development and Environment) - Switzerland

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies

Gully head structure

Gully head structure [Lesotho]

The aim of the gully head structure is to help stabilise the gully and prevent/control the gully from expanding further in length due to erosion. In Lesotho, this is constructed using stones.

  • Compiler: Matoka Moshoeshoe

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

Negotiation with the stakeholder community of a catchment on social incentives to be offered by external agency in exchange of additional inputs by the communty to be invested into soil and water conservation measures.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: The overall purposeof the approach is to achieve sustainable land management without direct incentives such as food-for-work, cash payment, etc. Instead, the community is contracted through a negotiation process to invest into conservation without any direct incentives. Instead, the community will be entitled to select a social investment in their territory which conforms to its most pressing needs, e.g. a clinic, a school, a road, etc. Specific objective is to persuade farmers of the virtue of sustainable land management without direct pay, and to show that outside help is tied to this long-term community commitment when investing into social infrastrcuture. In the end, this is a win-win situation because two goals are achieved with a much greater investment and commitment from the farmer side, while sustainable land management and social development are furthered.

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Region/ State/ Province:


2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:


Year of termination (if Approach is no longer applied):


2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

The Approach focused mainly on SLM with other activities (Area closure / cut & carry of grass. Clinic construction & facilitation.)

There is no document, but the SCRP goal is to support sustainable use of natural resources. In Anjeni this should be achieved through a specific incentive at social level.

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: Accelerating soil erosion. Declining production of crops. Overland runoff destroying crops and producing gullies. Poor social infrastructure in community.

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

social/ cultural/ religious norms and values
  • hindering

lack of community collaboration

Treatment through the SLM Approach: further processes of community development

institutional setting
  • hindering

lack of trained extensionists

Treatment through the SLM Approach: training supprt

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • hindering

lack of land ownership

Treatment through the SLM Approach: clarify ownership and user rights

The existing land ownership, land use rights / water rights hindered a little the approach implementation But not much. Attitudes of farmers towards investments into their land remain negative.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

Groups of users organised through the project; Working land users were mainly men (Some women and children also participated.)

Women were less involved in planning and implementation of SWC, but more with social infrastructure. In Ethiopia, men traditionally do soil labour in field. The approach included all communities including all households.

  • national government (planners, decision-makers)

Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of Health

  • international organization
If several stakeholders were involved, indicate lead agency:

Expat: Overall principle of conservation for infrastructure approach. Nationals: Design of objectives, activities. Land users: Agreement on approach and specific designs of technology & maintenance.

3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation none
planning passive interviews/questionnaires
implementation passive responsibility for major steps
monitoring/ evaluation passive public meetings;
Research none

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • mainly SLM specialists, following consultation with land users

consultative. Development of technology was based on existing indigenous technologies which were complemented and perennized. The approach was explained to the farmers, a 10ha demonstration area was established for one year, and the agreement was reached after that time to do it on 100 ha, if social infrastructure support was given.

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by by SLM specialists alone (top-down). directive (top-down). Proposal by Development Agents was explained to farmers, and their consent used to organize the mass implementation campaign in 1987.

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Specify who was trained:
  • land users
  • SWC specialists (2), extensionists/trainers (1), politicians/decision makers (1)
Form of training:
  • on-the-job
  • demonstration areas
  • public meetings
Subjects covered:

Technical design of SWC techniques. Institutions on maintenance & modifications.

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?


Specify whether advisory service is provided:
  • on land users' fields
Describe/ comments:

Name of method used for advisory service: Government Extension System.; Key elements: Holding of meetings., Technical layout of SWC techniques., Support in negotiations & follow-up.; 1) Mainly: government's existing extension system, Partly: projects own extension structure and agent; Extension staff: Mainly government employees 2) Target groups for extension: School children/students, Teachers; Activities: Demonstration visits to nearby catchment and preparation of a school b

Advisory service is inadequate to ensure the continuation of land conservation activities; Farmer to extensionist ratio is 1000:1 or worse. Educational status of all is low. Approach of extension still needs improvement.

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • yes, moderately
Specify the level(s) at which institutions have been strengthened or established:
  • local
Specify type of support:
  • equipment

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?



bio-physical aspects were regular monitored through observations

technical aspects were regular monitored through observations

socio-cultural aspects were regular monitored through observations

economic / production aspects were regular monitored through measurements

There were several changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation: Technology was adapted according to farmers wishes, namely adjustments of narrow terraces by removing some, overlay of drainage system over terraces and not along them.

Monitoring & extension in still ongoing through SCRP, and since 1984 in Anjeni.

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?


Specify topics:
  • sociology
  • economics / marketing
  • ecology
  • technology
  • Land use dynamics, farming system.
Give further details and indicate who did the research:

The treated catchment of Anjeni is part of a research set-up where continuous monitoring and evaluation is being carried out since 1984.

Research was carried out on-farm

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

If precise annual budget is not known, indicate range:
  • 10,000-100,000
Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: international (GDE/SCRP): 25.0%; government (national - Min. of Agriculture): 5.0%; local community / land user(s) (-): 70.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?


5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

  • equipment
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
tools fully financed Hand tools
  • infrastructure
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
Community infrastructure partly financed Support to clinic was 50% of cost of clinic only.
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • voluntary

In exchange of SWC works support to clinic was given as an overall incentive.

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Traditional soil fertility management was already exhaustively used under the given farming system.

Did the Approach improve issues of land tenure/ user rights that hindered implementation of SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

The problem is unlikely to be overcome in the near future. Present government insists on state ownership of land.

Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

A large programme in Merhabete involving 2,000 ha and about 10,000 people adopted a similar system, however with a technology that was suitable to their area (level bunds).

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • no
If no or uncertain, specify and comment:

Social incentives will have to come from outside (government or NGO)

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Fulfillment of community needs (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Co-ordination and participatory approach)
All catchment land users do conservation jointly together (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Community versus individual approach)
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Negotiation processes (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Train extensionists)
Social incentives (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Better cooperation between different ministries on their activities as a package)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Combining two goals necessitates more labour inputs No solution
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Tieing social investments with soil conservation is politically difficult because two goals are pursued with one instrument No option but continue
Interest may still be initiated basically from need and less from degradation Awareness needs to be furthered still

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

SCRP Progress Reports

Available from where? Costs?

SCRP, Addis Abeba

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Book Learning from Anjeni' (Amharic)'

Available from where? Costs?

Min. of Education, Bahr Dar

Title, author, year, ISBN:

SCRP Research Reports

Available from where? Costs?

SCRP, Addis Abeba

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