Food for Thought: Discovering Common Ground

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Reflections, Volume 10, Number 2 • April 2, 2010
Authors: Bart Hilhorst , Peter Schütte

The article describes an interactive process, called Food for Thought (F4T), in which a group of 25 representatives from all Nile countries participated in a joint scenario building exercise to consider future water demands, particularly for agricultural needs.

The Nile’s waters are vital for the livelihood of over 200 million people in its basin. Rapidly rising populations and consequent environmental
stresses have lead to water scarcity and complex protracted negotiations.

The authors share details of this process, demonstrating that scenario thinking can increase the appreciative understanding of a complex problem in a relatively short period of time, surface hidden assumptions, clarify desired futures, and foster trusting relationships among a diverse set of stakeholders and experts by including all points of view. Simon Thuo adds some reflections on his experience as a participant in
the process.

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