The Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC) program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional participatory “Research for Development” (R4D) partnership. It is aimed at improving the resilience of rural livelihoods in the Ethiopian highlands through a landscape approach to rainwater management (RWM), with a special focus on the Blue Nile (Abay) River Basin. The R4D paradigm has several elements, including: using scientific research as a means to achieve specific development goals rather than as an end in itself; a focus on achieving tangible systemic changes over the long run; the use of a transparent model or “theory of change” to guide the program; inclusive partnerships among all participants based on mutual respect; and, a strong emphasis on collectively learning from experience and sharing that experience more widely. The NBDC uses multiple means to learn lessons from its experience as a basis for adapting its activities. This Institutional History consolidates and communicates some of those lessons. This Institutional History is intended to contribute both to setting a new rainwater management R4D agenda in the Nile Basin and to influence the approach taken in future R4D programs such as the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).
Merrey, D.J.; Swaans, K.; Le Borgne, E. Lessons from the Nile Basin Development Challenge Program: An Institutional History. CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF), Colombo, Sri Lanka (2013) 70 pp. [CPWF Research for Development (R4D) Series 7]