Dr Gete Zeleke, Director General of WLRC

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My sincerest greetings to you! Let me hereby share with you some key messages on WLRC’s accomplishments in the year 2022/23. Water and Land Resources Centre (WLRC) has been pursuing its mission of generating, enhancing, managing and disseminating scientific knowledge and innovations that help improve peoples’ livelihoods or inform policies and programs on sustainable management of water and land resources. Most of its activities are project-based while some cross-cutting functions are supported by reserve funds. The projects are: Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub (GCRF) (2019 – 2023) focusing on diverse issues of water security in Abbay, Awash, and CRV basins; Improving Water Security for the Poor (REACH); Knowledge Management Information System for Sustainable Land Management; Kunzila Integrated Landscape Management and WASH Project (Kunzila ILMWA); WaterAudit; and WatDev.

Our Annual Report for the previous year (2021/22) and the Plan for 2022/23 were presented to and approved by the Board of Trustees and the Scientific Advisory Committee. Although most parts of the country were affected by serious civil strife and military interventions for much time of the year, WLRC and its staff maximized meaningful research and evidence-informed innovative development interventions for upscaling. Some of these outstanding achievements include the following:

  1. Livelihood improvement, local capacity building, and scientific monitoring were done and mid-term evaluation conducted for Kunzila ILMWA project. Innovative livelihood improvement activities introduced by KILMWA include fish-cage farming, greenhouse vegetable production and integrated homestead development.
  2. The first phase water resource auditing and mapping engagements under the WaterAudit project were completed successfully in the three basins, indicating strategic areas for future action.
  3. A number of doctoral and post-doctoral researchers and the project staff made concerted efforts toward a fruitful completion of the REACH (Water Security for the poor) project, which produced ample knowledge on issues of water security, such as water demands, water uses, and water management and governance in the basins and that knowledge, including Awash Ware data base; was shared with the consortium members.
  4. The SLM-KMIS software was finalized and transferred to MoA server, various trainings were given and the software is now being used by field experts from watershed up to federal levels;
  5. Vitalisation and upscaling of the Learning Watersheds was ardently followed.
  6. LandScale II database, with results on Kunzila ILMWA, was launched;
  7. Capacity development and awareness creation: Close to 900 experts from the federal and regional agricultural offices were trained on SLMP II-Knowledge Management Information System (SLMP II- KMIS); so many experts were trained by Water Security Hub and REACH on water security related topics; many other experts were trained on water audit at different levels; AwashWare software was developed and put to use; Kunzila ILMWA Dashboard was developed and started capturing real-time data from the monitoring stations; socio-economic impact and governance studies were done and published;
  8. The necessary outreach and sharing of knowledge and experiences were also done in different forms and formats. Experience-sharing and live learning visits to Kunzila ILMWA and the Learning watersheds were facilitated for hundreds of development actors across the country and also for partners from abroad; media tour involving journalists and media crew from five media houses (TV and print media) was facilitated and they aired over 17 stories; senior staff featured contents on different media outlets;

As part of our outreach, WLRC organized a magnificent High-level National Dissemination Conference and a consultation workshop where 18 policy briefs, 70 posters and 36 syntheses of research findings were shared to key audiences including partners from national and international organizations and stakeholders. WLRC also participated at AAU Research Week and presented highlights of its impactful work in the form of posters, research reports and books; . The staff also published and shared over 65 articles in peer-reviewed journals and books; 18 policy briefs, and 3 working papers, which can significantly uplift AAU’s status in Africa and globally. Various stakeholder consultation workshops and seminars were organized by different projects at different levels, including many community level meetings by ILMWA project. Institutional development and resource-generation efforts were so successful and attracted big programs like BRIGHT, a €45 mln program to be implemented in five basins in Ethiopia (Abbay, Awash, Rift Valley, Omo-Gibe and Tekezie) over the next five years. Partnerships and collaborative initiatives were forged with a range of strategic partners and stakeholders.

The WLRC leadership, management, the diligent staffs, our partners and stakeholders including the communities in our project areas deserve utmost thanks for making these happen. For details, I cordially invite you to read this 2022/23 Annual Book of scientific accounts of our research undertakings and innovative development undertakings and share us your views and reflections.