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Our Approach

scaleWAYS analyzes scaling options for water and land management practices for the resilient and sustainable intensification of rice and fodder production in the extended Lake Victoria Basin.

Scaling of impact

A growing number of initiatives in the Basin demonstrate the positive impact of sustainable water and land management on soil health, carbon storage, food and forage yields and landscape health. scaleWAYS investigates these and explores what the LVBC, member countries and actors at local level can do in support of scaling positive impacts these initiatives generate.

We distinguish between three types of scaling.

ScaleWAYS aims for a combination of all three types of scaling to foster more extensive and sustainable transformations of food and water systems.

  1. Scaling-out essentially involves replication and extending sustainable water and land management to more people, quicker.
  2. Scaling-up helps institutionalising water and land management in policies and organisational structures.
  3. Scaling-deep addresses mindsets and values regarding scaling opportunities and obstacles.
Process and activities

Sustainable intensification processes are undertaken by adopting agricultural, water and environmental management practices specific to the selected production systems of rice and fodder/livestock. Activities that are being carried out throughout the four-year implementation period are structured around the following four project output areas:

The stakeholder selected production systems and associated management practices for intensification of rice and fodder for ruminant livestock are characterized for the eLVB in two detailed scoping studies. They also characterize distinctive and critical landscapes and geographies within the study areas, which are relevant to the production systems. In addition, pilot sites were identified where common local management practices aimed at sustainable production were implemented in different landscapes or geographies. The pilot studies have gathered input data for the biophysical and agro-economic modelling and the governance, political economy, and gender analysis.

ScaleWAYS combines a spatially detailed biophysical assessment for current climates and climate scenarios for the 2050s with regional food demand projections for rice and livestock products. The model simulations for the eLVB provide critical decision support for implementing sustainable production systems across the basin, including specificities for the different landscapes and geographies. For rice, a modelling framework has been developed to identify the best spatial distribution (where), temporal cropping patterns (single or multi-cropping, crop calendar) and potential production (how much) to achieve sustainable intensification of rice for meeting future demand. The framework includes spatially detailed biophysical analysis (land suitability, water availability, irrigation requirements), considers economic constraints (transport costs, roads, comparative advantage of rice compared to other crops), and environmental constraints (protected areas, wetlands). An optimization model identifies the optimal area for sustainable and competitive intensification of rice production. The fodder/livestock assessment compares projected demand for livestock products to potential production of fodder crops and forages from grass- and shrublands. This spatially explicit analysis helps identify potentials for upscaling in the livestock sector by increasing or decreasing grazing and by supplying sufficient fodder by including fodder crop production in livestock production systems.

By analysing perspectives of stakeholders engaged in sustainable land and water management, we extract obstacles and potential enablers that help scaling sustainable water and land management in the basin. Some interviews we conduct online, and others through field visits in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. We also investigate perspectives and opportunities administrative and political delegates see do increase the management of transboundary water and land resources in the region. These findings help to explain what measures the East African Community could take to increase scaling off sustainable land and water management.

Theory of Change
The different activities of the project are identified and interwoven through what is known as a “Theory of Change (ToC)” commonly used by international development projects to achieve the desired impact.

Scaling solutions for sustainable and resilient improvements in agricultural production in East Africa have not sufficiently been taken up by policymaking and implementation. They are constrained by several factors such as resources, lack of harmonization and alignment of policies, coordination among stakeholders and sound understanding of the benefits and trade-offs of the scaling. By combining biophysical and agro-economic simulations with political economy analysis and anchoring scientific knowledge in a Community of Practice, we enhance policy impact and strengthen resilience in scaling sustainable water and land management in the Basin. Our findings support LVBC and its Council of Ministers in progressing transboundary voter and Land Management in the basin.

The evolution of the ToCs in scaleWAYS over time produced increasingly complex frameworks. Because the challenge to communicate and easily capture the content of a highly complex generic ToC, the project adopted the concept of nested ToCs. Depending on the complexity of a project, it is helpful to present impact pathways and sub-pathways in a nested approach dealing with intermediaries.
  • scaleWAYS will improve the understanding of the scaling of local and regional land and water management practices for the sustainable intensification of rainfed and irrigated agriculture.
  • scaleWAYS will contribute to the resilience of future water and land resources, ecosystems, and the wellbeing of the population living in the EAC region, especially the current 45 million and future (2050) estimated 90 million people residing in the study area of the extended Lake Victoria basin, the headwaters of the Nile.