Getting ahead of the game: experiential learning for groundwater governance in Ethiopia

The goal of this study is to assess the potential of game-based experiential learning in raising awareness and stimulating discussions about groundwater resource systems, the social dilemma in groundwater management, and the need for institutional arrangements (rules) governing this shared resource, as well as whether such awareness and community discussions lead to actual change in groundwater governance in Ethiopia. Groundwater management is highly complex, with many users sharing the same resource often without realizing their interconnectedness. Behavioral experiments (games) that simulate real-life common-pool resource use have shown promise as an experiential learning tool for improving resource governance. This study pilots an experiential learning intervention in Ethiopia using a groundwater game to help raise awareness of groundwater over-extraction and improve understanding of the importance of collective action in governance.