C4.2 Communication with stakeholders
There are many tools available which allow information exchange among diverse water stakeholders, and are suitable for different settings and types of people. They include:
- One-to-one exchange using telephone, email and fax services, and exchanges during social experiences, conferences, symposia and professional meetings;
- Text material such as newsletters (paper and electronic), printed manuals, newspaper and electronic media reports, bulletin boards, and email chat about IWRM experiences;
- Interactive web-based watershed information systems which specify best management options for specific land types in a catchment (land systems, land management units, planning areas, sub-watersheds), and which are congruent with overall river basin management goals and targets;
- Interactive Geographical Information Systems built for use within agencies or for targeted partners in a water management context (see also C8.1);
- Field days, farm demonstrations and workshops to exchange best management practice experiences in IWRM at the local level;
- Professional workshops to exchange experiences in state-of-the art tools for IWRM;
- Radio broadcasts and video presentations;
- Open houses;
- Village level capacity building through discussion with farmers and village leaders;
- National and regional technical and study tours allowing professionals and practitioners to exchange first hand results of IWRM.
As in Water Campaigns, (C4.3) it is essential to address the needs of stakeholders in selecting the mechanism for communication. Local authorities and programmes such as Agenda 21 offer important means of communication (see B1.10). See also B2.1 and C8.2.
Like other professionals, water practitioners learn best from face-to-face interaction with each other or a mentor, sharing common problems, concerns and successes. Good information exchange is enhanced by:
- Appropriateness: providing information that is relevant to the IWRM task at hand, has been tested in the field and rigorously proven through research and development. Information must also be applicable to the type of problem, the level of institutional capacity and technical ability of the practitioners. If capacity is lacking, special efforts will be needed to facilitate information exchange. Internet based information is key, but where it is not easily accessible alternatives must be used;
- Accessibility: building on the current capacity of practitioners rather than requiring major upgrades in individual or organisational or technical ability;
- Equity: information exchange should respect cultural needs and gender issues, and take care not to discriminate against users or providers because of their remote locations.