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Context of the Nile basin

The citizens of Nile riparian countries constitute more than a quarter of all Africans.

The central challenge that the NILE.journeys is addressing is the dormant water conflict of the Nile, and, around it, the complex web of livelihood, identity, and connection issues which have consequently arisen for communities and population that inhabit the Nile Basin. The region’s societies, water and ecosystems are affected by these dynamics in a very severe way.

Despite no direct violence occurring in the recent history in the basin, the Nile is considered by many water experts as one of the river basins that are most prone to conflict in the world (Tayee 2012, Tvedt 2010, Cascau 2006, Kalpakian 2004). The separation and general lack of trust that characterizes relationships among the Nile countries are shaped by historically-based assumptions that haven't yet been reconciled and restored. These assumptions are deeply rooted in the identity of each of Nile countries and became the lenses by which each society looks at ‘the other’ Nile countries. By disconnecting from a shared identity, all grown from the Nile, we are not giving ourselves the opportunity to flourish in terms of development, livelihood and community.

Across the basin, where the Nile is a central part of our past, present and future, we cannot be ‘whole’ without the Nile being at the center of our sustainable development. Hence, cultivating a deep connection between the people and communities who share this majestic river is fundamental to achieving this wholeness. Without inter-community and trans-boundary trust around the Nile, livelihoods cannot flourish, and a sense of belonging to the ecosystem’s whole is lost, inhibiting all shoots of growth emerging out of the people here.

Currently, issues in the Nile Basin are addressed from a purely hydrological and political perspective. Therefore, sustainable solutions are never implemented because the deeper social, cultural and identity layers are not integrated. Historically, most attempts to deal with the issue have therefore failed, reached stalemate, or reached only very minor success. This said, in the recent years we witnessed progress in Regional political orientations towards Pan-African unity. The NILE.Journeys aspires to complement the business, political and economic progress in ways that strengthen and further weave the grassroots fabric.

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