Project partners

The WAHARA project is composed of the following partners:


The WAHARA consortium

The WAHARA consortium is composed of 9 partners from 6 countries, including 5 partners from EU member countries, and 4 partners from Africa. The objectives of the proposal demand an international and multidisciplinary approach and could not be carried out by one country. The consortium consists of Universities, Research Institutes, Government branches and SMEs and is thus truly multidisciplinary. The international partnership forms the critical mass necessary to realise WAHARA’s successful implementation and to reach the objectives and goals as described in the previous chapters. The mix of organisations will ensure maximum synergy, complementarities and innovation. Many of the partners have already successfully worked together for various occasions and projects, such as within the currently on-going project DESIRE (GOCE-037046). Disciplines embedded in WAHARA range from hydrology, agronomy, extension and communication, learning and action, land use planning, geography, ecology, soil science, to economy, sociology and political science. WAHARA will work in a truly interdisciplinary and integrative manner and with the aim of developing tools and methods for wider application by planners and decision makers. Additionally, this will be achieved by using a transdisciplinary approach, i.e. working in close cooperation with land users and other related stakeholders using advanced participatory, monitoring and analysis techniques.

Partner 1 – ALTERRA - Stichting Dienst Landbouwkudig Onderzoek (DLO)

Droevendaalsesteeg 4, 6708 PB, Wageningen, the Netherlands

Legal entity: Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek is the legal entity, which is part of Wageningen UR (University and Research centre). The research institute Alterra is part of Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek.

Involved personnel

  • Dr. Rudi Hessel
  • Ing. Erik van den Elsen
  • Dr. Jochen Froebrich

Dr. Rudi Hessel: has significant experience in scientific project coordination over the last 15 years, spanning about 10 EU-funded research projects, including for example DESIRE, eSOTER, and CASCADE. His expertise also covers modelling hydrology and erosion,   desertification, and designing and executing field work. 



Alterra Wageningen University & Research Centre


Profile Alterra is the main Dutch centre of expertise on rural and natural areas and engages in strategic and applied research to support policymaking and management at local, national and international level. The Water and Soil Science Centres are involved in both research and education in water, soil and land use. Research is conducted from local to global scale and contributes to sustainable use of water and soil resources and sustainable design and management of the environment. Alterra is partner in a.o. the Partnership for European Environmental Research (PEER), the Global Water Partnership (GWP), the World Water Council (WWC), the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) and Climate Change and Biosphere (CCB).
Role in the project Project coordinator, WP7 leader
Past expertise Within FP5-7 of the EU, Alterra has been involved, either as coordinator or partner institution, in more than 100 projects, of which more than 20 were devoted to water quantity and water quality aspects. Africa is a priority region for Alterra. Recent water related EU-funded projects are amongst others DESIRE, FLOODSITE, AQUATERRA, AQUASTRESS, HYDRATE, ASEMWATERNET, WATERREUSE and CABRI-VOLGA.


Woodhouse Lane, LeedsLS2 9JT, Leeds, UK

Involved personnel

  • Dr. Luuk Fleskens
  • Prof. Mike J. Kirkby
  • Dr. Brian Irvine
  • Dr. Nesha C. Beharry-Borg

Dr. Luuk Fleskens specializes on impact assessment of land and water management. He has been involved in a range of EU FP4-6 projects (WAHIA, AWACAD, OLIVERO and DESIRE), of which two explicitly targeted on water harvesting. His current research focuses on integrated environmental modelling of mitigation strategies for land degradation, addressing issues of economic evaluation across scales. Luuk has extensive experience in Northern, Eastern and Southern Africa, including residential years in Mozambique and Eritrea.


University of Leeds



Environmental Science at the University of Leeds is organised in three Schools, each recognised as carrying out research of 'world leading' and 'internationally excellent' standard in the 2008 RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) and ranked in the top five UK institutions for research power. The University’s Sustainability Research Institute is a centre of excellence for participatory research, conducting interdisciplinary environmental analysis for sustainable land management, and the River Basin Processes and Management research group in the School of Geography has extensive research experience in Europe and Africa through a series of EU-funded projects and bodies like UNDP/GEF, Royal Society and UK Government Research Councils. The team conducts strategic and applied research that connects environmental knowledge to public and private sector decision making at local, regional, national and international levels.

Role in the project WP4 leader
Past expertise

The University of Leeds has expertise in integrated modelling, coupling agent-based, regional economic, hydrological, nutrient flow and erosion models at a landscape scale. The School of Geography has extensive research experience in Europe and Africa through a series of EU-funded projects (e.g. MEDALUS, DESERTLINKS, PESERA, DESIRE, DESURVEY) and other bodies (e.g. UNDP/GEF, Royal Society, UK Government Research Councils).




Partner 3 – MetaMeta

Paardskerkhofweg 14, 5223 AJ ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands

Involved personnel

  • Dr. Frank van Steenbergen
  • Ir. Simon Chevalking
  • Ir. Ard Schoemaker
  • Dr. Arjen de Vries

Frank van Steenbergen has over 25 years working experience in the water resources and environment sector. Working for the Ministry of Foreign (DGIS), ITC and Arcadis Euroconsult, Frank has held the following positions: Research Associate, Institutional Development Specialist, Senior Water Management Advisor (project management / project and team leader) and is now director of MetaMeta. His expertise spans water resources sector, including: water resources management, irrigation, water harvesting, groundwater, water supply, wetland, institutional development, training, project management, capacity building. Furthermore, Frank is currently secretary of the Spate Irrigation Network and Board Member of the Practica Foundation, foundation to promote new technology in water and energy (





MetaMeta is a group of companies, that is established to deliver socially relevant but commercially viable services. At present the group consists of MetaMeta Research, MetaMeta Management and MetaMeta Communications. MetaMeta Research undertakes applied research on water and natural resource management. It aims to complement these services with policy discussion, structured stakeholder engagement, program development and capacity building. Prominent themes are groundwater management, spate irrigation and environmental governance.

Role in the project WP6 leader
Past expertise

Able to resort to expertise from the core team of the Water-3R consortium partners (including Acacia Water, Rain Foundation and BGR), MetaMeta boasts hands on rain water harvesting experience from a variety of African countries as well as organizational and institutional expertise in ‘Water Resources Management’. Projects conducted by MetaMeta and Water 3R partners include topics as: rain water harvesting implementation, water supply and irrigation systems management, groundwater exploration, water resources assessments, institutional support and development and training. Clients of projects include, The World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, the EU & EC, national governments, universities, technical colleges.



Partner 4 – Institut des Régions Arides (IRA)

Route de Jorf Km22, 4119 Médenine, Tunisia

Involved personnel

  • Dr. Mohamed Ouessar
  • Prof. Mongi Sghaier
  • Dr. HoucineTaamallah
  • Dr. AzaiezOuled Belgacem
  • Mr. Mohamed Arbi Abdeladhim

Dr. Mohamed Ouessar has more than 10 years of experience in fundamental and applied research in the areas of watershed management and hydrology in the dry areas, and in coordinating (inter)national research projects. His interest has been focused on rainwater hydrological impacts at different spatial and temporal scales, with special attention to GIS based modeling of the interaction between land use and hydrology, and effects of soil erosion and desertification. He has published several research papers and contributed to the editing of books.


Institut des Régions Arides (IRA)


IRA is a public research organization. It has the mandates of carrying research, training and outreach programs on activities related to combating desertification and natural resources protection and development in the dry areas of Tunisia including soil and water conservation, erosion control, remote sensing and GIS, agronomy, biodiversity, ecology, animal husbandry and wildlife, and agro-socio-economics and development policies.

Role in the project WP1 leader, coordinator Tunisia study site
Past expertise

During the last decade and in collaboration with European and US partners, IRA engaged in the application and development of environmental (MUSLE, SWAT, STM2D, PATTERN, PESERA) and socio-economic (FORCESMOD, LINDO, SIEL) modelling for natural resources management and desertification mitigation in the dry areas. In parallel, IRA worked also on many projects/program (national and international) related to water harvesting with a focus on techniques inventory, hydrological modelling, and biophysical and socio-economic impact assessment. IRA is the focal point of the ROSELT network and an excellency centre on drylands studies for the United Nations University (UNU).



Partner 5 – INERA

P.O. Box 8645, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Involved personnel

  • Dr. Sawadogo Hamado
  • Ir. Dao Vincent
  • Dr. Kondombo Salam
  • Ir. Ouedraogo Blaise

Dr. SAWADOGO Hamado is a researcher who joined INERA in 1993, participating in an international research programme on sustainable food security in West Africa. From 1997 to 2001, he was the coordinator of a project in soil and water conservation in the north western part of Burkina Faso. He is a soil scientist with a great interest in both theory and applications of soil science. During the last ten years, he has done research in the field of soil and water conservation and anti-erosion measures by experimenting and evaluating the performance of many techniques such as zaï, rock bunds, half moons, bouli and little dams in the North West region in Burkina Faso. He obtained his PhD in 2006, and is currently the coordinator of the Natural Resource Management and farming system team.






INERA is the national institute of environment and agricultural research in Burkina. INERA has six research centers located in all the country. Research is conducted in different fields such as Soil and water science, Phytopathology, Entomology, Genetic and plant improved, animal feeding etc. INERA has four major scientific departments which are Natural resource management and farming system, vegetal production, breeding production and Forestry production. More than eighty projects are conducted in this year.

Role in the project WP2 leader, coordinator Burkina Faso study site
Past expertise

INERA conducts agronomic research at local, regional, national levels, on farm and in laboratory. During this research, INERA often works together with the local population through participatory research. A recent example of this was the EU-funded VINVAL project. INERA participates in a national research network on sustainability of techniques for soil and water conservation (CESII) together with vulgarisers, NGOs, the Active Network for Participatory research (MARP) and farmers' organizations. INERA is involved in participatory research on integrated water and nutrient management at watershed level in development projects with organizations of innovative farmers (e.g. the Rural Development Project).



Partner 6 Mekelle University (MU)

P.O.Box 231, Mekelle, Ethiopia

Involved personnel

  • Dr. Kifle Woldearegay Woldemariam
  • Dr. Mohammed Abdulkadir Abdurahman
  • Dr. Dereje Assefa Aberra
  • Dr. Eyasu Yazew Hagos
  • Dr. Fredu Nega Tegebu
  • Dr. Fassil Kebede Yimam
  • Mr. Berhane Grum

Dr. Kifle Woldearegay is a senior academic staff of Mekelle University (MU). He had been working at the Ethiopian Geological Survey before joining Mekelle University in 1998. Since joining MU, he has been teaching several courses (undergraduate and postgraduate), involved in different research projects, and assumed different administrative positions (at department and faculty levels). In the year 2006-2008, he worked as Vice President for Academic and Research of Axum University (a newly established public higher education institution). Dr. Kifle has been involved in the study, design and construction of different water harvesting schemes (such as dams, diversion weirs and others) in northern Ethiopia starting from 1999 up to the present. In terms of educational background, he has got: BSc degree in Geology from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), MSc degree in Engineering Geology from ITC (The Netherlands), and PhD degree in Engineering Geology from Graz University of Technology (Austria). 


Mekelle University (MU)


Mekelle University is the merger of two former colleges: Mekelle Business College and Mekelle University College and was established in May 2000 by the Government of Ethiopia (Council of Ministers, Regulations No. 61/1999 of Article 3) as an autonomous public higher education institution. Since its establishment, MU has proved to be one of the fastest growing Universities in Ethiopia with international reputation for teaching, research and community services. Thus, its ultimate goal is to pursue standards of excellence in teaching and research for the betterment of the society. At present, the University has seven faculties, with over 20,000 students in the regular and continuing education both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. MU has been active in applied and development oriented researches of regional, national and international dimensions.


Role in the project WP3 leader, coordinator Ethiopia study site
Past expertise

Mekelle University has been involved in teaching (undergraduate and postgraduate), research and community service for the last several years. It is one of the few higher education institutions in Ethiopia with national and international reputation in quality teaching and research. The university has been running several research projects in collaboration with national and international similar institutions. Based on research MU has been at the forefront in influencing policy issues nationally. Some of the large-scale research projects that have been under implementation at MU which are related to soil/water conservation and rural livelihood are: (a) VLIR – Mekelle University IUC Programme, (b) NORAD I-III.



Partner 7 GART

along Great North Road, Chisamba, Zambia

Involved personnel

  • Dr. Stephen W. Muliokela
  • Prof. ObedLungu
  • Mr. Piet Stevens
  • Mr. SimunjiSimunji
  • Mr. Douglas Monoo
  • Mr. Arthur Chomba

Stephen Muliokela has nearly 25 years of successful professional management of agricultural research programmes. He has been a sustaining International Consultant with the FAO in several countries as a Seed Specialist. He is currently the Executive Director of the Golden Valley Agricutural Research Trust. Dr. Muliokela is familiar with major issues affecting agricultural development. Over the last three years Dr. Muliokela designed and acquired support from the Netherlands and Norway for GART to manage an Agricultural Innovation Fund (AGRIFU). Currently Dr. Muliokela is managing for GART a Regional Programme on Food Security and HIV/AIDS, a project covering Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Zambia. This is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency.





The Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART) was created in 1993 by the Government of the Republic of Zambia in partnership with the Zambia National Farmers Union, as a substantially self-sustaining and autonomous Public Private Partnership Initiative and as part and parcel of the National Agricultural Research and Extension System (NARES). It is registered under The Land Perpetual Succession Act (Cap 288) of the Laws of Zambia. GART is governed by an independent Board of Trustees. The Board of 7 members is composed from three constituencies; the Government of the Republic of Zambia (3), the Zambia National Farmers' Union (3) and the International Agricultural Research Centres (1).GART's mission is to contribute to optimisation of the production, commerce and trade of crops, milk, chicken, goats and where possible their by-products and income security of the target beneficiaries through - Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) programmes for market-oriented small-, medium- and large-scale male and female farmers as well as youths, who include those affected or infected by HIV/AIDS.

Role in the project Coordinator of Zambia study site
Past expertise

As a merger of a government branch and a farmers union, GART is able to assess WHT from different points of view, which is necessary for integration. GART has recently been involved in research to improve food security and farming systems in southern Africa.



Partner 8 – Wageningen University (WU-LDD)

Droevendaalsesteeg 4, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Staff involved

  • Dr. Aad Kessler
  • Dr. Violette Geissen
  • Prof. Dr. Coen J. Ritsema

Dr. Aad Kessler


Wageningen University (WU-LDD)


Wageningen University is a leading European university in Life Sciences and has been involved in agricultural education and research in many parts of the world. It is part of the Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR). The Land Degradation and Development Group (LDD) focuses on physical and socio-economic processes leading to land degradation and on the design and economic impact assessment of technologies for soil and water conservation and rural development.

Role in the project Participating in WPs 1, 3, 4, and 6
Past expertise

The LDD group has a long-term experience in semi-arid zones in West and East Africa and in southern Europe, has been leading partner in inter-university research on Management of Natural Resources in Burkina Faso, in a regional research project in East Africa (EROAHI), projects on water harvesting in Northern Africa (WAHIA) and Central Asia (AWACAD) and on the future of olive groves on sloping land in southern Europe (OLIVERO; QLRT-2002-01841), and is now involved in projects on mitigation and remediation of desertification (DESIRE; GOCE-037046) and on Conservation Agriculture in Africa (CA2Africa; KBBE-2009-245347).



Partner 9 – Agrotechnology Consult Africa b.v. (ACA)

Essensteeg 31, 7451 MP Holten, The Netherlands

Staff involved

  • Mr. Piet Stevens MSc
  • Mr. Henk Dibbets MSc

Piet Stevens

  1. Participatory research & development, designing and conducting training and refresher courses, and development of training and extension materials, particularly related to soil and water conservation, conservation farming technologies, smallholder dairy farming, smallholder farm mechanisation and value addition through agro-processing.
  2. Project and programme design and preparation of proposals, project appraisal, management and management advice, equipment procurement, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
  3. Technical and management advisory services to rural development organisations, agriculture producer groups and small and medium enterprises.



Agrotechnology Consult Africa b.v. (ACA)



Agrotechnology Consult Africa B.V. (ACA) was created in 2006 and has been active in Zambia since 2006. The involved ACA staff have a close working relationship with GART since 1990 (partner 7).

ACA deals in knowledge of agricultural technologies and in agro-engineering solutions particularly related to agricultural development in Africa, with strengths in applied research and knowledge transfer in conservation farming, farm mechanisation and value adding agro-technologies.

ACA works with GART in all three of its core programmes; Conservation Agriculture, Smallholder Livestock Development and Seed Technology. Besides technical advice and assistance, ACA provides support in project management support, monitoring, evaluation and reporting, and project identification and formulation.

Role in the project WP5 leader.
Past expertise

Since 2006 assistance to GART (Partner 7) in:

  • Research and development, training, knowledge transfer and reporting in the Norad funded project "Reversing food insecurity and environmental degradation in Zambia through Conservation Agriculture".
  • Implementation and provision of short term international consultancies of the following projects in the SADC region,:
    • The Sida funded project "Strengthening HIV/AIDS and Food Security Mitigating Mechanisms amongst Smallholder Farmers in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Zambia".
    • Two Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) funded projects on:
      • "Strengthening the Productivity and Competitiveness of the Smallholder Dairy Sector in Lesotho and Zambia".
      • "Improving the Productivity and Market Access of Smalholder Cattle Farmers in Mozambique and Zambia".

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