Challenges of collective action in Soil and water conservation: the case of Gununo watershed, Southern Ethiopia uri icon


  • Gununo Watershed is one of the benchmark sites of the African Highlands Initiative in collaboration with Areka Agricultural Research Centre. It is located in the densely populated area of Wolayita z one in Southern Ethiopia. The area of the watershed is 544 ha with over 622 households residing in it . Low productivity mainly attributed to low soil fertility is one of the major factors constraining crop production. The major cause of low soil fertility i s soil erosion due to mainly run off. To tackle this problem collective action (CA) was initiated in the watershed for soil and water conservation (SWC). Frequent meetings were held with farmers to chart out the plan of action. Farmers selected local insti tutions that could effectively lead the CA. SWC structures were constructed for two seasons - 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 . Soil bund stabilizers were planted on the bunds to stabilize , intensify and increase the productivity of the bunds. Participatory monitorin g and evaluation was conducted at different stages and processes were documented eventually . As a result , close to 10 km length of SWC structures were constructed in the two seasons . Thousands of seedlings of elephant grass and banana were planted on the soi l bunds. Some farmers also adopted and constructed additional length of soil conservation structures individually and some others also planted sugar cane and elephant grass as bund stabilizer. The soil has started changing and crop productivity improved wi thin short period. These achievements were characterized by series of challenges and this paper is addressing the lessons learnt on collective action on SWC in Gununo Watershed

publication date

  • 2007