Bottom Up - Grassroot initiative

Published: 28 November 2016
Last edited: 05 December 2016
Local stakeholders learn to become environmental leaders. They learn about their water reality. When people understand the local problems and their community's responsibility, they can meet and engage with similar groups of stakeholders from other communities across the conflict. The common ground for these cross conflict meetings is the safeguard of the shared watershed and the communities engage in productive meetings to identify solutions. Together they identify projects that speak to the self-interest of both sides. Through this process, the communities gain the capacity to advance solutions even within a turbulent political environment. In most cases, the combination of a strong youth program and outspoken adult leadership creates the political will of mayors and other municipal leaders to get involved.


Sustainable livelihoods
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Enforcement and prosecution
Legal and policy frameworks, policy advocacy
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Alliance and partnership development
Management planning
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Planning phase
Inception phase
Documentation and dissemination of results
Review phase

Enabling factors

The local community's leadership needs a respected leader from the local community to provide the best leadership. It is important that a regional project manager with strong project experience mentors the local leader.

Lessons learned

Local leadership from the local community is especially important in a conflict situation to secure the trust that the leader acts in the community’s self-interest. Walks in the nature and along shared water bodies provide the best opportunity for communities to understand their water reality. Only when people understand the local problems and their community's responsibility, they can meet other communities. Community members voice an appreciation and need for an organization as EcoPeace to facilitate cross border meetings to ensure that the meetings provide a “safe-place” for the local communities to discuss issues effecting cross-border and neighbor communities. Participants were free to talk about their realities while using constructive means to seek solutions. Meetings and collaboration on environmental issues delivers a capacity to create and sustain strong networks of cross-border communication with long-term impact beyond the cross-border initiative.

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