A Water Forum in Kairouan, Tunisia

In Tunisia, water scarcity is a significant problem, especially in the central and southern parts of the country. One hundred fifty kilometers south of Tunis in the governorate of Kairouan (Al-Qayrawan), for instance, farmers have difficulty  accessing water for the irrigation of the their fields. Even more alarming: some people do not have access to drinking water, as ground water levels continue to drop.

Tunis_MapHow can a dialogic approach improve the situation?

In the region of Kairouan, public officials  and farmer groups do not always have the same understanding of the water problem. Farmers accuse public actors of poor and unequal water governance. On the other hand, public water officials claims that farmers were using water inefficiently and accessing water sources illegally.

In this kind of situation, a dialogue between different stakeholder groups offers opportunities for transforming differences into constructive discussions. The main objective of such kind of dialogue is to bring all actors around one table, build trust and find commonly accepted solutions related to water governance and use.

Tunis_ActeursThe idea of a Water Forum

The Water Forum in Kairouan focuses initially on the district of Sbikha and seeks to support and spread this idea of collaboration. The Forum is an engagement process of different stakeholder groups of public administrators, farmers and water users and prepares these actors for working together.

In a first phase, farmers from specificrural communities meet to discuss strategies and best practices of efficient water use, for instance drip irrigation. Also civil society groups are meeting to discuss the problems and challenges related to drinking water.

These meetings take place in different parts of Sbikha, in the Nebhana River basin.. Given the lack of structured farmer associations, , participants vote for a key group of actors (a small container) to represent their community in discussions with the water administration. In the next phase, farmer representatives meet with administration experts and discuss the topics, strategies and demands that were raised by their groups. The objective of these mixed meetings is to produce concrete measures and even guidelines for water management and consumption which are accepted by everybody. The most important topics and agreements will be documented in a Water Charter for the Nebhana River system (including a key dam and irrigation canals and three acquifers), which will be signed by local administration, farmer and civil society leaders and shared with the larger public.

The Nebhana Water Forum is a good example for a stakeholder dialogue in the water sector which can have a greater impact on water use and consumption patterns in the region. Of course, consumption habits are changing very slowly and the Forum will only be successful if it produces positive results for everybody. The CLI works closely together with the German development cooperation (GIZ) and local partners to facilitate the process.

Fotos : Google Maps und Dominic Stucker, CLI

Pourquoi un Forum de l’Eau à Kairouan?

L’Afrique du Nord est une des régions les plus sèches au monde. En Tunisie, la rareté de l’eau se manifeste surtout dans la partie centrale du pays. Par exemple, dans le gouvernorat de Kairouan (Al-Qayrawan), 150 km au sud de Tunis, les agriculteurs manquent d’eau pour l’irrigation de leurs cultures et dans certains secteurs les sources d’eau potable sont même asséchées.


Comment l’approche dialogique peut-elle améliorer la situation ?

Dans la région de Kairouan l’administration publique et les agriculteurs sont actuellement en désaccord et souvent s’accusent mutuellement d’être à l’origine du problème du manque d’eau. Les uns parce qu’ils seraient des mauvais gestionnaires de la ressource, les autres car ils consommeraient l’eau d’une manière inefficace. Dans une telle situation de manque d’entente, un dialogue entre parties prenantes offre la possibilité de transformer les différences  en une discussion constructive sur les solutions possibles en vue d’établir une collaboration sur des thèmes concrets.


WWWI in Jordan

Women for water!

A lot at stake

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan suffers from water scarcity – a fact that puts severe strains on its social and economic development prospects. Currently almost 60 % of Jordan’s water is used for irrigated agriculture. Water allocation for domestic use takes less than 30 %. In terms of drinking water allocation cuts below a certain threshold endanger the very survival of people.


Setting up a global Stakeholder Dialogue

How can we take responsibility for our ONE World?

To answer this question, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) initiated a dialogue process that is unique of its kind.


Image by Ralf Rühmeier


How to successfully implement a Stakeholder Dialogue?

For most change initiatives the bigger part of the project is spend on the actual implementation of the planned activities. This phase however is also the one where you will be most likely to face crises and challenges – in working through an activity plan soon it becomes obvious if the project partners are able to work well together, if there are any underlying conflicting interests and if the different stakeholders will be able to meet their planned contributions.

This implementation phase is what the Dialogic Change Model defines as Phase 3. In this phase result orientation is a key factor for success: For Stakeholder Dialogues to deliver, it is crucial that stakeholders perceive visible change during the dialogue process; otherwise they might lose interest in the dialogue and in implementing change. It helps – particularly at the beginning – to concentrate on easily achievable results. The goal of a well-structured Phase 3, one could say, is to show that change is possible.


3 Pitfalls of Engagement Processes

Image by Rod KirkpatrickNot all key actors will engage in Stakeholder Dialogues in the same way. Some stakeholders are more difficult to engage. In many organizations, people continually change positions, send new people to meetings without briefing them or drop out of engagement processes pressured by other commitments. This can compromise the momentum and content of dialogue within and beyond the core group. For some new participants, everything may need to slow down or stop until they have been brought up to speed in their role as core group members, supporters or high-level sponsors. A Stakeholder Dialogue process cannot always be delayed, so it pays off to invest very consciously in container-building when new people are brought on board. In such a situation, relationship-building is the key. Weiterlesen

Mastering innovation processes – The Story of www.StakeholderDialogues.net

Recently I was interviewed about the creative process of starting www.StakeholderDialogues.net for the new edition of our newsletter. Looking back to the beginnings and reflecting on how we went about things I realized how many lessons learned on leading an innovation process I took away from this exciting time – and am happy to share them with you:


Interview The Story of SD_bearbeitetThe rough idea for a practitioner network around the topic of Stakeholder Dialogues grew a long time ago. The Collective Leadership Institute´s vision is to empower as many people as possible to use Stakeholder Dialogues as a means to bring about positive change and to contribute to a sustainable world. This is why we envisioned an online platform that would make our specific knowledge and methodology accessible to everyone. So we knocked on many doors trying to raise funds for the development of this platform, and, finally, received a seed funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2012. The development phase was a very exciting time. None of us had ever done something like this before. But in April 2013, less than a year after initiating the development, we launched the website officially. I am proud that StakeholderDialogues.net turned out to be a fantastic website.


For me, innovation starts with problem solving. It is important that a project or product is not designed as an end in itself, but it has to Weiterlesen

The Gift of Listening

When managing Stakeholder Dialogues, never forget that the core of every cooperation process is made out of people and the way they interact. Seen like this, a Stakeholder Dialogue can only be as fruitful as are the relationships between the people that participate in them. In my eyes the most powerful and yet quite simple tool for raising the quality of relationships in a cooperation process is: Listening.


Why? Because the way people voice their ideas, concerns or doubts is often dependent on the way people listen. Weiterlesen

Creating a home for your change process

At the Collective Leadership we continuously highlight the importance of building good relationships as a basis for successful cooperation projects. But just as important as building this first resonance it is to channel this first energy and engagement into more formalized and implementable structures.  But how does one find the right timing and the right approach to carry out this transition? The Dialogic Change Model gives guidance:


Phase 2 of the Dialogic Change Model is geared towards consolidating the system of stakeholder collaboration and formalizing stakeholders’ commitment to change. In this phase initial structures are developed, project teams defined and regular meetings planned. Weiterlesen

The 12 principles of good engagement process design

_DSC0544Designing a more sustainable value chain for cashew nuts in Ghana or reforming the Cambodian Land Ministry – depending on the issues at stake and the actors involved, Stakeholder Dialogues can take very different forms and hold diverse challenges. Still, there are some principles that are crucial for the success of any change process. Here is a list of the 12 main principles that the Collective Leadership Institute has refined over the last years that will help you kick-start your engagement processes. Weiterlesen