GroFutures was launched in the transboundary Iullemmeden Basin at a workshop held at Abdou Moumouni University (UAM) of Niamey in Niger on 23rd August 2016. The workshop was opened by the Vice Chancellor, Hon. Professor Amadou Boureima, and welcomed by the Director General of Water Resources in the Ministry of Hydraulics and Sanitation of Niger, Mr. Abdou Moumouni Moussa; Engineer Koné Soungalo representing the Niger Basin Authority; Dr. Oumarou Malam Issa, Country Representative of IRD in Niger; and the Deans of Faculties of Sciences and Agronomy (UAM).
The workshop was hosted by the GroFutures team from UAM (Professor Yahaya Nazoumou, Dr. Ouassa Tiekoura), the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria (Professor Ibrahim Baba Goni, Dr. Shettima Abba Gana), and IRD (Dr. Guillaume Favreau). Over 40 participants participated and included representatives from agricultural cooperatives (Coopérative périmètre irrigué in Maradi, Coopérative agricole in Gaya), regional (Maradi, Dosso) and national offices of the Ministry of Hydraulics and Sanitation, and local universities (Mardi, Diffa).
The event kicked off with the playing of the Serious Groundwater Game, led by Daniela Benedicto van Dalen of IGRAC on 22nd August 2016, which helped all participants better understand the benefit of groundwater development for irrigation, the challenges of sharing a common resource, and the adverse environmental consequences due to lack of cooperation and unsustainable use of groundwater. Following the presentation of GroFutures project, the participants discussed the history, challenges and opportunities in groundwater use and development in the Iullemmeden Basin, and transboundary issues associated with groundwater policies and governance. The event was featured on national television news (Télé Sahel) in Niger and leading newspapers (Le Sahel).