vrijdag 16 maart 2012

Israëlische ontwikkelingssamenwerking die wel werkt

Ontwikkelingssamenwerking/hulp is een heet hangijzer in Nederland. Men heeft vaak het gevoel dat er geld over de balk wordt gesmeten, of dat het merendeel aan de strijkstok blijft hangen. Dat is terechte conclusie. De hele branch is een industrie geworden met teveel lagen en teveel organisaties die een belang hebben en zich er daarom mee bemoeien.

Misschien is het handig eens naar het Israëlische model te kijken dat werkt. Israël is een leider op het gebied van watermanagement, dat is een gegeven dat wereldwijd wordt onderkend.

“Whoever spoke about what is done in Israel has done so with much respect,” Landau said, noting that there were no interjections about Israeli- Palestinian water struggles during his roundtable.

Israël deelt zijn kennis met Derde-Wereldlanden waar water schaars is en met succes, zoals blijkt uit een programma in Senegal:

The Tipa system (druppelsysteem) puts this technology into an easy-to-use kit. The hardware consists of a concrete reservoir, a plastic drip irrigation kit and a water pump. Using gravity, water can be pumped from a river or aquifer by hand, solar energy or diesel fuel, under the assumption that most farms are run by women who cannot operate heavy equipment.

It’s been a boon for Senegal, situated in the drought-prone Sahelian region, where rainfall is irregular and the soil poor in nutrients. About 75 percent of the working population is engaged in farming, and a majority of these farms are dependent on rain.

The Israeli solution, based on easy-to-install drip irrigation systems and an economic model, is becoming so wildly successful that towns and villages beyond the perimeters of the Israeli projects are copying them, says Ilan Fluss, Director of MASHAV’S Planning and External Relations Department.

“Today a lot of them are growing maize and vegetables but we have introduced to them high-value crops, and what can happen when the [small farms] are organized into communities so they are working together. They plant together and try to work in a coordinated way to solve issues of [food] security, and obviously they can sell into the markets what they are producing.”

The Israeli solution is complete, scalable and replicable, even without direct Israeli input — and that’s the beauty of it. Once the idea is fully understood, the Senegalese can develop it themselves. “We are bringing a solution to small farmers without the abilities to invest in modern agriculture,” says Fluss. “But our solutions are loaded with technology. We bring them simple solutions that are sustainable and which can be applied in a rural setting.”

This is no handout, Fluss stresses. In the 12 regions Israel is aiding in Senegal, the technologies are financed through low-interest micro-loans granted by NGOs working in the region. Israel provides the technological know-how, and equipment is supplied via competitive tenders. Some farmers already have been able to triple their income, and have found the system reduces the amount of time needed in the fields for weeding.

Israel also gives the Senegalese capacity-building support, Fluss says. “We are working with them to make sure they produce [their crops] in the right way, overseeing their production efforts to help make sure that the farmers will be productive and independent after a couple of years.”

According to Judaic values, giving a person the ability to earn a living is the highest level of charity, so this project in Senegal fulfills a very basic tenet for the Jewish state.

And the success? “We can already see that around those communities where we are working, people are copying this model independently,” reports Fluss, who estimates that the Israeli intervention has directly impacted about 700 Senegalese families. 

Een geweldig systeem van ontwikkelingssamenwerking.  Overzichtelijk, beheersbaar en binnen een tijdsfactor.