Pinnacle Agricultural Research & Management

(ISSN: 2360-9451)

January 2014, Vol. 2 (1).

© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research Article

 

Institutional bricolage as a new perspective to analyse institutions of communal irrigation: Implications towards meeting the water needs of the poor communities in rural Ethiopia

Tekalign Gutu1, Sam Wong2 &  Wole Kinati3

1International Food Policy Research Institute,
Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

2School of Environmental Science,
University of Liverpool, UK.

3Researcher
Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, Ethiopia.

Accepted 14 January, 2014; Available Online 18 January, 2014

Abstract:

Access to water supply in Ethiopia is one of the lowest in the world. In response, Ethiopia has developed a 15-year water development project for the period 2002-2016 in order to enhance appropriate and comprehensive water use policies and related institutional arrangements. The objective of this paper is to analyze the institutional aspects of communal irrigation in Ethiopia using the concepts of institutional bricolage. Based on two case studies and intensive literature review, the trust to ensure that the poor communities achieve economic efficiency, social equity in access to water and ecological sustainability simultaneously through the adoption of 'institutional crafting' does not seem to correspond with reality. It then challenges the universal application of the 'design principles' approach for its inadequacy in explaining the realities underlying the institutional formation of communal irrigation where collective action is more complex. The paper argues that the concept of institutional bricolage is an alternative approach to understand the dynamics and complexities of institutions in irrigation development. In the face of growing demands of irrigation water, there are key issues to consider through the lens of bricolage for appropriate development interventions aimed at institutional building: acknowledging the complexity of institutional building, ecological stress, historical factors, power relations, gender, access to other institutions and cultural repertoires embedded in the community. Development interventions which recognise the importance of the processes of institutional bricolage have great potential of success and enhance sustainable use of natural resources.

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