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Our entry point to the area was the discussion with the Beles Sugar Project staff of the remote sensing water productivity maps made by our Water Accounting colleagues. We visited the irrigation scheme with the project staff to validate the data and information reported on the maps, and to discuss their potential and limits for future uses.

After spending few weeks in the area, we asked key informants in different kebele (villages) to drawn social maps of their community, portraying the where different ethnic and social groups live and their means of support. On the basis of those maps we conducted a socio-economic survey.

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Water productivity maps in action

In order to reflect the stratification of the social fabric and the variety of economic activities in the area, we identified seven production-to-consumption networks. These networks are composed by people bound together by relations of kinship, consumption or production. We identified and interviewed the members of these networks through snowballing sampling. In total we conducted 59 semi structured interviews.

Finally we selected two persons (one man and one women) for each network and we involved them in a visual research. We gave them digital camera or mobile phones for one week asking to portray in pictures how the Beles Sugar project has impacted on their lives. Later pictures were printed and commented with the authors in sixteen semi structured interviews elicited from the photos.

 

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Community maps

The stories presented in the walk through the Beles case are those of the people involved in this part of the research. We obtained the consensus of the people who took part in the research to use and display the pictures for research purposes. In order to respect people’s privacy, names have been changed and pictures edited in order not to show recognisible faces.

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Photo elicitation