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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Problemshed or Watershed? Participatory Modeling towards IWRM in North Ghana

CIRAD, UPR GREEN, 34398 Montpellier, France
GREEN, CIRAD, Univ Montpellier, 34398 Montpellier, France
UMR G-EAU, IRD, University of Montpellier, 34196 Montpellier, France
Water Resources Management Group, Wageningen University, 6700-PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
White Volta Basin Board, Water Resources Commission, PO Box 489, Bolgatanga, Ghana
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(6), 721;
Received: 13 April 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 2 June 2018
This paper is a reflexive analysis of a three-year participatory water research project conducted in the Upper East Region (UER) of Ghana, whose explicit objective was to initiate a multi-level dialogue to support the national Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) policy framework. The transdisciplinary team adopted the Companion Modeling approach (ComMod), using role-playing games and a computerized agent-based model to support the identification of a problemshed centered on issues of river bank cultivation, erosion, and flooding, and initiate a multi-level dialogue on ways that this problemshed could be tackled. On the basis of this experience, we identify three key criteria for transdisciplinary research to support innovative water governance: (1) the iterative adaptation of tools and facilitation techniques based on feedback from participants; (2) a common understanding of the objectives pursued and the approach used among researchers, who need to explicit their posture, and crucially; (3) the co-identification of a problemshed that diverse stakeholders are interested in tackling. Finally, we argue that the context in which research is funded and conducted in the development sector constitutes a challenge for researchers to be “participants like any other” in the projects they coordinate, which constitutes a barrier to true transdisciplinarity. View Full-Text
Keywords: water resources; companion modeling; role-playing game; agent-based model; Sub-Saharan Africa water resources; companion modeling; role-playing game; agent-based model; Sub-Saharan Africa
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Daré, W.; Venot, J.-P.; Le Page, C.; Aduna, A. Problemshed or Watershed? Participatory Modeling towards IWRM in North Ghana. Water 2018, 10, 721.

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