Widening the deltas' scope

Deltas are highly dynamic ecosystems that support diversified livelihoods adapted to the flooding patterns.

The research carried out within the framework of the WIoDER network aims at understanding the functioning of these particular socio-ecosystems, describing their recent evolutions and at analyzing the impacts of the current public policies (conversion of the floodplains or on the contrary the creation of protected areas).

In this context, the members of the WIoDER network have the following objectives:

  • to develop research methodologies adapted to the delta studies;
  • to acquire, analyze and compare data at the regional level;
  • to share and disseminate appropriate scientific approaches and tools;
  • to connect students, researchers, decision-makers and delta inhabitants, in order to better understand the functioning of these socio-ecosystems in their different dimensions (hydrological, ecological, socio-economic, etc.).

A long-term goal is to set up a sustainable regional cooperation for the development of an observatory of Western Indian Ocean deltas dynamics.


We aim at comparing the contemporary evolution of the deltas of the Western Indian Ocean region, in its hydrological, ecological, social and economic dimensions and at analyzing the various national land-use policies. Studying the dynamics of these very specific.socio-ecosystems require a multidisciplinary approach. The project supports the development of methods and tools that help at creating reliable indicators of change and that could facilitate comparative studies.

International science cooperation

WIoDER is an international multi-disciplinary team of researchers from Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique) and Europe (The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, France).

Capacity building

We support postgraduate students and young researchers through fieldwork grants (Master and Ph.D level), mentoring, and participation to “thematic methodological schools” on various research topics.


WIoDER aims at developing a regional scientific research network on deltas studies, bringing together researchers, practionners, and the general public to discuss and share new ideas and analysis.

Thematic schools

methodological training in the Western Indian Ocean region deltas

Livelihoods in the Rufiji delta, Tanzania, October 2017

This thematic school focus was on the various methodologies and tool to study livelihoods : analyzing the discourses versus observation of the practices, land-use analysis with remote-sensing, the SLA approach and on implementation of techniques such as: focus group and individual interviews, participatory mapping and landscape transect. Examples were taken from a field study conducted in Kipo village, in the Rufiji floodplain.

Biodiversity in the Tana delta, Kenya, March 2018

Thematic school focused on fisheries and biodiversity in the Tana delta,allowing participants to share in methodology for fish biodiversity assessments. Participants learnt methods of fish reference material curation at the National Museums of Kenya and participated in a field expedition in the Tana River Delta to appreciate the biodiversity in the rich ecosystems of the delta and interact with communities that rely directly on nature for livelihoods.

Hydrology in the Limpopo delta, Mozambique, December 2018

The "Hydrology" thematic school aims at refreshing the unifying theory of surface and groundwater interactions and management, applying theory, methods and tools of sampling and monitoring of surface - and groundwater. We focused on some basic and sound methods that can be used to collect data on these variables for both assessment and monitoring.

We carried on the field school in a lower portion of the Limpopo River that intersects a large Holocene dune system holding large quantities of shallow ground-water.