As mentioned in the Bir Al-Nas description, one of the key elements of this approach is the direct engagement and confrontation with final water users while performing the monitoring activities.
This is done taking advantage of the key role played by the hydrogeologist, being often in contact with farmers, wells’ holders, local communities and final water users (and polluters) during field surveys. In fact, in this phase he/she has the the opportunity not only retrieve reliable information on the traditional know-how and local issues, but also to create with them the basis for mutual collaboration and understanding.
As a part of our public engagement activities, during our first field campaign we tested a structured questionnaire, prepared in order to facilitate and guide the interview phase. The questionnaire was administered to all the farmers and/or wells’ owners involved in the monitoring campaign.
Most of the people showed a great interest in our research and were also happy to answer to our questions, shearing their concerns and ideas. This represented a precious moment for knowledge and information exchange, favouring a better understanding of local issues and priorities since the early stages of our investigation.
“We must learn from farmers’ experience. Pragmatic, field-based and farmer-centric education can and must play a key role in making agriculture stronger and more sustainable. At the end of the day, sustainable intensification will be the result of the collective action of millions of small farmers, who through their daily decisions determine the trajectory of agricultural ecosystems across the world.” (José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General).
Photo Re V., 2014