On Thursday 3rd of October (2019), the ReWater MENA project invited a diverse group of approximately 35 stakeholders to join the project’s first National Learning Alliance (NLA). The NLA took place at the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) in Fanar-Lebanon where the group of participants had the opportunity to discuss and share ideas around to the potential of using recycled water in agriculture in Lebanon.
The meeting was co-organized by LISODE, who plays an important role in guiding the participatory process for the Re-Water MENA project. This approach encourages public participation and co-learning at different management levels and between different stakeholders, including governmental institutions, NGOs, academic institutions, municipalities and end-users in order to ensure that the various views of multi-disciplinary participants will nourish and be reflected in public policy formulation.
The day started with several presentations, where the IWMI team presented the ReWater MENA project’s general objectives and outcomes, including activities in the three countries of the project (Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon), the Lebanese national activities, (LARI agricultural field trials) and the idea behind the participatory process. The last presentation was dedicated to explain the outline and methodology of the “National Baseline Assessment of reuse potential in Lebanon”, a study that will be conducted by the project in the upcoming phase.
The plenary sessions were followed by interactive discussions around the water reuse potential in Lebanon. An Ice breaker activity took place so that participants get to know each other through “cross presentations,” where participants formed groups of three, and each person shared one opportunity and one constraint related to water reuse in Lebanon. Each group then presented the main two ideas of their individual members to the rest of the participants.
Discussions took place within four different working groups, each led by a facilitator. In the first brainstorming session, participants discussed the necessary conditions to implement safe water reuse in Lebanon, and came up with diverse themes and variables to be included in the study. The second activity reflected on the different types of data needed, who has the data and its availability. Then, each group visited the other groups to explore and discuss the different outcomes.
At the end of the day, participants were invited to inform the project about their willingness to participate in the upcoming workshops and the extent to which they would be engaged in these participatory sessions. Most participants showed willingness to be involved in the overall project reflection and to share data and contacts, which sounds promising for the process and outcomes of the ReWater MENA project in Lebanon.