Building Partnerships for Poverty Alleviation
Wetlands Alliance Implementation Phase
Gareth Johnstone and Mam Kosal
1 Jul 2009
31 Dec 2012
WorldFish is working with partners in the Mekong Region to support a new alliance of regional and local partners that will contribute towards sustainable wetlands management that benefit the poor. This project supports the Wetlands Alliance, an extensive network of organizations—government, civil and NGOs—actively engaged in developing innovative solutions to poverty alleviation.
An alternative approach to development
In contrast to the traditional technology-led approach to development, the Alliance helps local partners to build the capacity they need to work effectively with communities that they are supporting. With backstopping support from experienced regional partners, local partners work with communities to identify key issues and jointly develop appropriate initiatives. This process helps the local partners acquire the institutional and management capacities they need to work as effective agents of change, and provides a platform by which people in affected communities have a voice in development. Through the Alliance, more than 40 local partners have demonstrated how bottom-up initiatives can influence national policy and improve governance and transparency.
The Alliance promotes and supports genuine ownership of its interventions. It does this by negotiating with local partners, local governments and beneficiaries’ communities in determining the desired outputs of the interventions, and by giving partners the responsibility to decide how objectives can be reached, which methods should be used and who should be involved and over what timeline. This strongly participatory approach is one of the strengths and great successes of the program.
Towards sustainable wetlands management
The establishment of this new alliance in the Mekong represents a further milestone in regional cooperation, with multiple organizations jointly managing budgets and cooperatively engaged in strategic planning. The main issues the Alliance will address are local management and mitigation measures, institutional policy changes, and the construction of a collaborative framework and common approach. Progress will be made towards decentralization of decision making and an expansion of the role and function of community research in local planning and management.
In the final year of the current phase of the program an emphasis will be made on the following activities:
- Developing an participatory monitoring and evaluation system and baseline data across all local partner activities;
- Improving the analysis and mainstreaming of gender across all partner activities;
- Strengthening the process of project identification and coordination of activities with Alliance key thematic priorities;
- Providing appropriate and targeted backstopping inputs that achieve the Alliance goal, and
- Providing better communication and dissemination of activities and results nationally and regionally.
WorldFish has extensive fisheries and wetlands expertise and enjoys a long track record of experience and commitment to the Mekong region, where it is working to improve health and food security, livelihoods and aquatic ecosystem sustainability. WorldFish often provides ‘technical backstopping’, a catch-all term that refers to a variety of supporting activities such as expert reviews and recommendations on policy issues, capacity building in national and local fisheries administrations, local NGOs and community groups, as well as research activities.