Training & Reading Resources

Looking After Our Land: Soil and Water Conservation in Dryland Africa

Soil and water conservation projects in sub-Saharan Africa have had a troubled record over the past 50 years. Their failure has had extremely serious consequences, especially for those people living in the marginal dryland areas.

However, with the help of a number of projects, people across Africa have demonstrated that they are motivated, competent, and capable of protecting their environment. This video, and accompanying book, are about the main lessons to be learned from new approaches to soil and water conservation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Six case studies are presented, two each from Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Mali. They show how, in the wake of many failures, some success has been achieved in projects where the participation of local people has been recognized as the crucial issue.

The book and video have been produced expressly for development workers in arid and semi-arid Africa. The two can be used together as an effective training tool. They will also be of general interest to a wider audience concerned with environmental issues.

Looking After Our Land: Soil and Water Conservation in Dryland Africa, by Will Critchley, available in English or French.

Book: 1991, ISBN 0 85598 170, 6.95
Video: 1991, 90 min, PAL/SECAM/NTSC systems available. 13
Include 25% postege overseas, 35% Far East.

Available from:

Drylands Programme
3 Endsleigh Street
London, UK
Fax: 071-388-2826

Rainwater Harvesting: the Collection of Rainfall and Runoff in Rural Areas

The rainwater collection methods presented in this book are designed to capture rain early in the hydrological cycle (before it disappears as runoff, groundwater, and evaporation). Rain is gathered directly from the surface it has fallen on, not from floodwater or stream flow.

Improving the design, organization, and overall implementation of rainwater harvesting schemes holds out hope for thousands of scattered, small communities in the Third World that cannot be served by more centralized water supply systems. Rainwater Harvesting makes a significant contribution toward establishing sound rainwater harvesting systems because it covers not only the technical dimension of rural development, but also considers the social, economic, and environmental constraints that can affect a technology's successful implementation.

Drawing on field experiences and examples from all over the world, the authors present dozens of practical methods for catching and storing rainwater. Case study material from Africa, India, and Southeast Asia is included, and an extensive bibliography is provided. In addition, excellent illustrations enhance the text considerably. Concise charts, tables, line drawings, and black and white photos summarize information and make it easier to understand.

A people-oriented presentation makes the information accessible to different groups and individuals, while remaining technically solid at the same time. Also, by offering a mixture of technical and nontechnical information, the technical specialist may become more aware of related factors that are often overlooked. The book is intended for rural development workers who manage water resources for domestic and agricultural uses; however, there is also useful information for project managers, policy makers, and academics.

Rainwater Harvesting: The Collection of Rainfall and Runoff in Rural Areas, by Arnold Pacey with Adrian Cullis. (1986). London: Intermediate Technology Publications, 216 pages. Cost: $22. Also available from agAccess , P.O. Box 2008, Davis, CA. 95617, USA. Fax: (765) 756-7188.

Saline Agriculture: Salt Tolerant Plants for Developing Countries

This report by the National Research Council covers some of the experiences and opportunities in the agricultural use of saline land and water. The result of a four- year study by some 100 experts in more than 30 countries, it strives to create a greater awareness of salt-tolerant plants, their current and potential uses, and the special needs they may fill in developing countries.

There are four sections in this report. They highlight about 100 salt-tolerant plants that may serve as food, fuel, fodder, and other products such as essential oils, pharmaceuticals, and fiber. In each section plants are described that have potential for productive use. A list of researchers currently working on these plants or related projects is included at the end of each section, along with selected readings.

Halophytes (salt-tolerant plants) offer renewed hope for the vast amount of coastal or salinized agricultural land currently out of production. This book offers a state-of-the-art overview of the subject, valuable to the scientist, planner, administrator, and extensionist.

Available from:

National Academy Press
2101 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20418 USA
Fax: (202)334-2793
140 p., $15 in US, $18 export.
ISBN 0-309-04189