The IWMI Wastewater KSinR Pilot project is focused on using knowledge sharing approaches to promote better use of wastewater in food production. This Pilot project recently published an article in the RUAF Regional Newsletter Urban AgricInfo Vol.2, Issue No.1, ISSN, March 2008, p 2-3.

See- Knowledge sharing on’Good Practices’ for Safer Vegetable production

The article highlights that in most urban centres in Ghana where no treatment for wastewater is available, most of this wastewater ends up in urban drains and water bodies- sources which are used by urban farmers to grow perishable vegetables. While this may have some positive livelihoods benefits, it has major health implications which must be addressed.

With many hard ways (e.g restrictions, laws etc) often failing to solve the problem, research from IWMI, KNUST and IDS have tried to find soft ways of addressing the problem in the form of ‘good practices’ for farmers and food vendors.

These ‘good practices’ (knowledge) however need to be carefully targeted at a variety of stakeholders and shared with them using various channels. Thus the intention behind this Pilot project to find and use knowledge sharing approaches to help promote safer wastewater use.

This article outlines one innovative knowledge sharing approach used in the project.

Using a World Cafe approach, the Pilot Project allowed various stakeholders to provide feedback and opinions in an a structured yet informal discussion format in small groups about the messages that had been developed from the research findings. The goal of the meeting was “to find out from farmers and street food vendors about the necessary framework for changing their behaviour to follow the key messages for health risk reduction“.

Groups of farmers in Accra discussing the tested methods for health risk reduction (31st October 2007)

Not only was the activity meant to increase awareness of the health related risks and to provide ‘good practices’ of health risk reduction, but it was also to allow the research team to discuss with the stakeholders (and thereby assess) the feasibility and adoptability of the “good practices”.

The conclusion of the article highlights that “the participants revealed that the current methods are used because they are not aware of the dangers associated with their practices. Therefore, they suggested that education of these ‘good practices’ should be increased to cover the majority of farmers and street vendors“.

The results from this World Cafe exercise have been helping to strengthen and format the messages on “best practices” and the ways for them to be disseminated to various target groups, with the aim of increasing adoption of these practices.

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