Widening the deltas' scope

Deltas are highly dynamic landscapes that support diversified livelihoods adapted to their flooding patterns.

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

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

·      to develop research methodologies adapted to 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 establish a sustainable regional cooperation for the development of an observatory of the dynamics of the deltas of the Western Indian Ocean.


We aim at comparing the contemporary evolution of the deltas of the Western Indian Ocean, in their hydrological, ecological, social and economic dimensions and at analyzing the various national land-use policies. Studying the dynamics of these very specific socio-ecosystems requires a multi-disciplinary approach. The project supports the development of methods and tools that help 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 (Masters and PhD level), mentoring, and through participation in thematic methodological schools on various research topics.


WIoDER aims at developing a regional scientific research network on delta studies, bringing together researchers, practitioners, and the general public to discuss and share new ideas and analyses

Thematic schools

methodological training in the Western Indian Ocean region deltas

Livelihoods in the Rufiji delta, Tanzania, October 2017

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

Biodiversity in the Tana delta, Kenya, March 2018

This thematic school focused on fisheries and biodiversity in the Tana delta, allowing participants to share methodologies for fish biodiversity assessments. Participants learnt methods of fish referencing and curation at the National Museums of Kenya and participated in a field trip to the Tana River delta to observe the landscapes and to interact with the fishers.

Hydrology in the Limpopo delta, Mozambique, December 2018

The "Hydrology" thematic school studied the surface and groundwater interactions and their management. The focus was on some basic and sound methods that can be used to collect data on these variables for both water assessment and monitoring.

The field school was in the lower portion of the Limpopo River where it intersects a large Holocene dune system holding large quantities of shallow ground-water.