A.J. van der Zijpp
- Management of agro-pastoral dams in Benin: stakeholders, institutions and rehabilitation research
- NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Agro-pastoral dams are waterholes constructed to provide water for livestock and for agricultural development. In Benin, agro-pastoral dams are managed by dam management committees. This study seeks to (1) characterize the stakeholders involved in agro-pastoral dam use and management, (2) identify important institutional and technical impediments and opportunities related to dams as perceived by the stakeholders, and (3) identify a coherent set of domains for research in support of improved dam management and ecosystem rehabilitation. The study was carried out in the Nikki District in northern Benin. The data were collected through focus group discussions, semi-structured interviews, participant observations and participatory exercises with diverse stakeholders. The results show that the dams are used for multiple purposes such as providing drinking water for livestock and people, fish production, vegetable production, swimming, bathing, washing, house construction, food crop production and cotton farming. All these practices involve diverse stakeholders with different interests, backgrounds, knowledge, and assumptions. In addition, the dams are the main habitat for crocodiles, which thus can also be seen as key stakeholders. The use and management of the dams create conflicts among the stakeholders who all tend to reproduce their own ‘truth’ and to shift the responsibility for solving conflicts to others. Moreover, the water is becoming seriously polluted, which impinges on every stakeholder's interests. The analysis indicates five domains for further research: (1) the way agro-pastoral dam water quality can be improved, (2) the mechanism through which to improve agro-pastoral dam fish production, (3) the way stakeholders in different contexts do frame crocodile behaviour and habitat use, (4) the characterization of crocodile behaviour and habitat use in agro-pastoral dams, and (5) the way to promote an inclusive agro-pastoral dam management.
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