Learning and knowledge on innovations in water and rural poverty (InnoWat)

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The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty in the rural areas of developing countries. Seventy-five per cent of the world's poorest people, 800 million women, men and children, live in rural areas. Most depend on agriculture to survive.

The IFAD team working on agricultural water management and rural infrastructure is developing its operational approach to water and rural poverty (WRP), under the aegis of the project for Learning and Knowledge on Innovations in Water and Rural Poverty (InnoWat). In light of the changing rural context within which poor rural people find themselves, the overall goal of InnoWat is essentially twofold:

  • strengthen IFAD capacity as a knowledge management broker for developmentpartners interested in WRP, in accordance with IFAD's mandate; and

  • provide IFAD country programme managers (CPMs) and their design teams with practical tools for project development, implementation and pro-poor, waterrelated interventions.

The team has created the present kit – InnoWat: Water, innovations, learning and rural livelihoods1 – with the expectation that it will be useful to IFAD CPMs and will enhance IFAD's comparative advantage with respect to rural poverty reduction and water issues.

The ‘Synthesis of strategic approaches' document summarizes two approach papers that together provide the rationale for the project. In addition, the kit contains a series of topic, fact and tool sheets and case studies. Details of each component follow.

Synthesis of strategic approaches
Enhancing pro-poor interventions in water and rural livelihoods
This text serves as an introduction to the InnoWat kit and presents the essence of two strategic approach papers that together provide the rationale for the InnoWat project. Specifically, it combines an overview of The new rurality and a discussion of the Coping with complexity guidelines that will enable IFAD to improve rural water-related interventions and ensure that they mesh with the changing context in which poor rural people increasingly find themselves.

Case studies


Fact sheets

Quantitative and qualitative overviews of how IFAD invests in water and the potential for poverty reduction through water interventions.

Tool sheets

Syntheses of findings of the operational manuals


Topic sheets

The topic sheets are the backbone of the kit. Each is essentially an executive summary of a detailed, technical background paper on the
same subject. They cover a variety of water-related thematic areas, with case studies to provide IFAD specific examples and concrete institutional, technical and investment approaches to guide interventions. Specifically, the topic sheets address water issues in the following areas:

1/ Cleveringa, R., Kay, M. & Cohen, A. (Eds.) (2009) InnoWat: Water, innovations, learning and rural livelihoods, Rome, IFAD.