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.