Smallholder Systems Innovations


The SSI programme is an applied research initiative which started in January 2004, and is funded by the Swedish and Dutch governments through SIDA, WOTRO, DGIS and by IHE Delft and IWMI.

A multi disciplinary initiative aiming at improving the livelihood of rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa, the SSI programme will study the potential of indigenous and exogenous water system innovations in smallholder farms for improved land and water productivity.

It will investigate aspects such as adoption and adaptation of these innovations and the increases in production that result from them.

The effects of these innovations on surrounding systems, which very often gets left out, will be highlighted in the programme. A spatial analysis will be carried out to identify appropriate sites for implementation of different innovations. The program also looks at institutional arrangements and set-up for facilitating adoption and adaptation of good practices.

The research within the SSI program is being carried out by 8 PhD and 2 Post Doc fellows in two pilot catchments in Southern Africa, the Thukela in South Africa and the Pangani in Tanzania.

The programme not only aims to achieve excellence in scientific research but also deliver results that are of practical use to development planners to improve the livelihoods of rural communities, and to disseminate the research findings across sub-Saharan Africa.

Five research institutes are involved in the SSI programme: