Workshops for Developing Policies and Strategy for Nationwide Irrigation and Management Training, India/USAID
Reported here is a series of two-day workshops in irrigation management for senior officials from five Indian states (Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan) participating in USAID/I's Irrigation Management and Training Project (IMTP). The workshops focused on means of implementing the IMTP, a complex project involving many institutional interactions, and were followed by a central workshop (also reported on herein) which reviewed recommendations and defined implementation procedures. The workshops undoubtedly contributed to smoother implementation of the IMTP; equally importantly, they helped participants understand that irrigation management is an interdisciplinary, systems-oriented process with built-in learning mechanisms and to appreciate the need for increased training of professionals in irrigation management. In addition, several lessons were learned about conducting workshops for high-ranking officials, namely: high-ranking officials will not be interested in orientation workshops unless they participate in defining the terms of reference; only topics pertinent to officials' immediate agenda should be addressed; a tutorial approach is not acceptable, nor is an excessive expatriate presence; and workshops should be carefully designed to avoid any implications that may reflect negatively on officials' competence. Use of a retired Indian officer to assist in planning was an important element in the workshops' success.