Field Training on local land resources assessment - 13 to 18 February in Rwanda and 20-25 February in Tanzania

Two 6-day field based training sessions were conducted on LADA local level land degradation and SLM assessment and its use in the Kagera TAMP project for baseline development, informing project activities and impact monitoring with some 12 resource persons from each country.

The training was held in Gashora from 13 to 18 February for Burundi and Rwanda teams and in Bukoba, Tanzania from 20-25 February  for Tanzania and Uganda teams.  The 50 participants (40 male, 10 female) included technical experts at national level and district technical staff and project facilitators covering a range of disciplines (soil, water, forest, crop, etc). VI-Agroforestry (known as SCC-Vi in Tanzania and Uganda ; Vi-Life in Rwanda ) - an important partner for agroforestry, carbon monitoring and PES and energy saving technology - participated actively in the training.

The training started with an overview, by the national project managers in Rwanda and Tanzania, of Land Degradation Problems and Sustainable Land Management Practices in the selected 21 districts using the results of the mapping and assessment at river basin level  and the field diagnosis and selection of catchments with partners on the ground.

Then the trainers gave an overview of the LADA Local Methodology , its purpose and Analytical Frameworks:

  • DPSIR- the relations between drivers and pressures of changes in the state of land resources, the impacts and the human responses,
  •  Impacts on sustainable livelihoods (5 assets and vulnerability),  and
  • Impacts on ecosystem services (provisioning, regulating , supporting and socio-cultural)

Before the practical field work to conduct the LD and SLM assessment in a target catchment the trainers gave an overview of the Sampling Strategy, organization of the field work and components of the assessment. However, the focus was on the use of the tools and methods in the field and familiarizing the country teams with the participatory interactive process with community members:

  • Characterization of the Area including Focus group discussion, Wealth ranking and Transect walk for obtaining a general understanding of relations between land use /management practices and observed degradation types or SLM measures;
  • Water Resources Assessment including on site water quality and quantity and impacts of land use/management on hydrology and wetlands;
  • Vegetation assessment in selected sites in forest, pasture/range( incl. scoring) and croplands;
  • Visual soil assessment (observation, measurement) soil health scoring and soil erosion assessment on site and off site impacts; and
  • Household Livelihoods Assessment with different land user profiles and interviews with land users and other key informants.

A refresher practical exercise was also carried out on the use in the field of the WOCAT questionnaire for assessing selected SLM technologies (QT) - banana mulching; water harvesting; water storage for drip irrigation, compost. The teams said they now had a clear understanding i) that successful SLM practices should first be inventoried and the best ones selected with stakeholders/partner projects in the districts/region and then QT+QA conducted for the few that are really considered worthy of support and scaling up by the project. (QA was not practiced due to time constraints though is essential for a complete picture).

The final day of the training was spent on analysis and reporting of the assessment findings to form a rigorous baseline for project monitoring and impact assessment and as the basis for developing an action plan for the catchment with the community and partners.

The training allowed the review and final amendments of the draft working version of the LADA Local manual (Part 1 and Part II) notably development of field forms for recording assessment data and with a view to its publication and printing. The training also led to the further development of a practical curriculum for further training on LADA local assessment. The evaluation of the training was very positive and encouraging and NPMs/RPC are requested to provide feedback on further experiences in using LADA –WOCAT tools for catchment and SLM assessment.