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Title: Participatory modelling for holistic understanding of catchment health and human health in Andean rural microcatchments :the case of Calabazas
Authors: Dominguez Rivera, Isabel Cristina
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: In rural catchments of developing countries, land use change, inadequate access to education, health care, water and sanitation, and lack of institutional support are common problems which affect poor people. Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) which advocates for the coordinated management of water, land and related resources, and EcoHealth which holds that human health and wellbeing are outcomes of effective ecosystem management, promote catchments as tangible contexts to fulfil overlapping objectives across fields. This research links IWRM and EcoHealth using System Dynamics (SD) as a tool to increase the level of shared understanding of the socioeconomic and environmental factors influencing environmental health and human health and wellbeing in an Andean rural microcatchment in Colombia. Stakeholders´ knowledge was elicited through semi-structured interviews and documents. A Causal Loop Diagram was prepared to organize this knowledge and to identify the model structure. Information on socioeconomic and environmental variables was collected through three surveys: i) household; ii) stream water, and iii) drinking water. The household survey captured relevant social determinants of health. The stream water survey investigated stream health in relation to point and non-point pollution sources. The drinking water survey identified risks to water quality. Using SD principles and the Stella software, a series of focus groups enabled stakeholders to develop a semi-quantitative model. The resultant model comprised six interrelated sectors: population, economic, land use, stream health, human health, and management. The modelling process increased stakeholders´ understanding of their system, and helped them to identify interactions of distal and proximal factors to produce outcomes on catchment and human health. The model was a strategy for integration and a communication tool. The process allowed the incorporation of knowledge, concerns and perceptions from the different actors, disciplines, institutions and sectors involved. The process facilitated identification of limitations and benefits of existing policies and the need for policies to address neglected problems. The research contributed to methodology development in the field of IWRM – EcoHealth, testing System Dynamics Modelling as a strategy to elucidate complex social, economic and environmental linkages at the catchment scale that could be applicable to similar rural mountainous contexts.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

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