Water is precious: let’s protect it on World Water Day 2023

Above: Clients from the EMERTA project examining their crops

On March 22, the UN 2023 Water Conference will be held in New York City, the first of its kind in 46 years. The conference aims to build new commitments, pledges and actions by governments and all stakeholders towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, and water-related targets across all SDGs, in order to move us collectively towards the Water Action Agenda.

MEDA, in collaboration with the Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development (C4D) has signed an open letter which will be shared with The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, and The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Canada. Canada is in a unique position at this conference to engage since it has many active projects globally that protects valued natural resources for farmers, businesses, and countries they work with. Canada has an important role to play in demonstrating the fundamental link of national action for human rights to water and sanitation and sustainable water resources management with the priorities of the government’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP). The letter MEDA signed in collaboration with the C4D urges the Government of Canada to contribute Canada’s strengths in feminist leadership and reputation for peace and security to the Water Action Agenda, strengthen Canada’s leadership in global water governance, and build and strengthen multisectoral partnerships to steward global commitments to improve sustainable water resources management.

Signing onto this open letter is an extremely important step for MEDA. For the past 70 years, MEDA has focused on creating business solutions to poverty. By signing this letter, we have demonstrated that water is a critical component in our work. MEDA, within the agrifood market system, is focused on protecting riparian and other sensitive landscapes, drip irrigation, water storages, aquaculture, biodiversity, and more water related activities. The changing climate and environment have played a significant impact in the countries MEDA operates in and our clients. This conference is an important step in understanding that just like climate change, water security impacts everyone.

Globally, water management continues to be a critical component of MEDA’s work. Below are a few project examples that showcase our commitment to protecting this vital resource.

The Philippines

The Resilience and Inclusion through Investment for Sustainable Agrikultura (RIISA) project is a five-year blended financed project based in the Philippines which aims to promote sustainable markets, environmental sustainability, women’s leadership, and job creation in the island of Mindanao. Recently, the project was visited by the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Canadian Minister of International Development & Pacific Economic Development. The Minister expressed his appreciation for MEDA’s work and how the RIISA project fosters sustainable markets, environmental sustainability, women’s leadership, and job creation in Mindanao. One location that Minister Sajjan visited during his trip was Lilamaya Inc., where he met the organization’s CEO, Lizabel Holganza. Lilamaya Inc. is one of RIISA’s SME partners who have put water management as a key focus in their work. RIISA is providing technical assistance and smart incentives to support the business growth of Lilamaya, Inc. They are currently involved in several activities and practices that promote water management which includes working on planting bamboo along creeks and around the farm as bamboo roots retain moisture in the soil. They are also establishing small canals. These canals are maintained to capture runoff water during heavy rains. This runoff water is connected to the fishpond, geese pond and rice paddies. They also irrigate some bamboo groves and vegetable areas.

Ethiopia

Above: EMERTA clients surveying their crops

Ethiopia’s economic growth is heavily dependent on the growth of its agricultural sector. Despite the importance of agriculture to its national economy, it is far from attaining self-sufficiency in food production for its rapidly increasing population and in meeting raw materials for its agricultural industry. The country struggles to meet its large food needs through rainfed farming. One of the most important considerations in increasing and stabilizing agricultural production is irrigation development.

MEDA in Ethiopia has established a family drip irrigation system and is creating awareness for smallholder farmers about water and yield-optimizing technology. The technology is being carried out in arid and semi-arid areas where efficient use of irrigation water is crucial for smallholder farmers to maximize production and intensity by growing crops during drought seasons like the drought the country is currently experiencing.

Tanzania and Kenya

Mamboleo is a private company engaged in the farming and processing of rice in Rufiji District within Tanzania. The company is farming over 150 acres of land and is working with more than 1,500 out grower farmers around Rufiji river basin. The small entrepreneurs connected to Mamboleo were clearing mangrove trees along the coast to make room for farm rice alongside or near the river. That is a concern as mangroves provide numerous benefits to the environment from a biodiversity perspective, including acting as carbon sinks and providing an ecosystem. Mamboleo strengthened the capacities of the SEs on the importance of protecting the mangroves. MEDA and the Tanzania team supported Mamboleo in becoming environmentally sustainable by implementing solar panels for irrigation, which supports Mamboleo’s growing yield. This method also uses less water intensive rice varieties. Mamboleo and MEDA are installing a large solar irrigation farm to pump water onto Mamboleo’s current rice fields. The 300-acre solar irrigation farm has a capacity of 86 KW and is estimated to pump a minimum of 3000 m3 of water per day.

In Kenya, contaminated water spreads disease in the poultry value chain and increases mortality rates, particularly among one-month-old chicks. MEDA’s Maendaleo Sawa (M-SAWA) project provided small entrepreneurs with water tank subsidies to assist them in harvesting and storing rainwater for the purpose of raising poultry. Improving the sanitary conditions of egg production processes strengthens poultry market systems, addresses market access constraints, and increases employment opportunities. As a result, the M-SAWA project distributed 3,000 water tanks to women poultry SEs in 12 counties in Kenya (Taita, Taveta, Makueni, Narok, Bomet, Kakamega, Bungoma, Samburu, Tana River, Homa Bay, Migori, Busia, Kilifi, and Kwale counties).

The abovementioned projects are just a few examples of how MEDA understands the value of water in the lives of its clients and the approaches it undertakes to ensure sustainable development and management of critical water resources across the globe. Being responsible stewards and supporting our clients and local partners to make environmentally sustainable decisions is a core part of MEDA’s mission. By effectively partnering with our clients, local and institutional partners, we’ll be better equipped to fulfill our goal of creating or sustaining decent work for 500,000 people by 2030.

Looking for more to read? Check out the Storehouse for more engaging content.

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  • Mujtaba Ali

    Former Senior Technical Specialist, Environment and Climate Change (ECC), MEDA. Mujtaba contributed his expertise to program design, annual work plans, annual budgets, and other critical project documents. He also ensured that specific technical components for projects are implemented in his projects' countries, including Ukraine, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

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  • Roderick Valones

    Market Systems Technical Lead / Environment and Climate Change Focal Person, RIISA, MEDA. Roderick has over 11 years in leading and managing programs and development and emergency response initiatives involving multi-disciplinary teams.

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  • Joseph Kuria

    Environment & Climate Change Specialist, LEGEND Project, Kenya. Joseph Kuria is an accomplished Environmental Expert with over 10 years of experience in environmental management, policy development, and sustainability currently practicing as an Environment and Climate Change Specialist with MEDA.

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  • Maria Tadesse Tamrat

    Environmental Sustainability Specialist, EMERTA, MEDA. Maria Tadesse has over 10 years of experience across Ethiopia serving rural communities with emergency and development challenges related to climate change and environmental degradation.

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  • Beatrice Sawe

    Environment & Climate Change Specialist, FEGGE, MEDA. Ms. Beatrice Sawe is an Environmental Management Practitioner with interests on Sustainable Development and Climate Resilient Adaptation for Growth. Her expertise and experience cover wide range of environment subjects including Natural Resources Management, Land Use Planning and Management. She has experience of twelve (12) years of working in these fields since 2011.

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Belachew Muche

great

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