Document Type : Research Paper
Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Extension, Communication and Rural Development, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran
Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Extension, Communication and Rural Development, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran
PhD student, Department of Agricultural Extension, Communication and Rural Development, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran
Due to the critical conditions of lake Urmia, the plan of “modeling local community participation in lake Urmia restoration via establishment of sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation” began in 2014 in the villages of the provinces of West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan. One of the main objectives of this plan was to identify and extend livelihoods with low water needs, which has been implemented in recent years in the form of the "diversifying the livelihoods of rural households" (DLRH) project. Considering the importance of the project and the various barriers facing its implementation, the main purpose of this applied research was to identify internal and external factors affecting the implementation of DLRH project and formulate diversification strategies for rural households in order to revitalize lake Urmia. The statistical population of the research was 27 relevant experts and specialists in the Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project Office, Agriculture-Jihad Organizations, Departments of Environmental Protection and Agricultural Technical-engineering Firms in the provinces of West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan. In this research, first, internal (i.e., strengths and weaknesses) and external (i.e., opportunities and threats) factors affecting the implementation of DLRH project were identified using SWOT technique. Then, the quantitative strategic planning matrix (QSPM) technique was employed to prioritization of acceptable strategies for the development of the DLRH project. The results of the SWOT technique showed that the DLRH project was in a competitive strategic position (maximum-minimum) in West Azerbaijan province, implying that efforts should be made to avoid threats by using strengths; while the strategic position of the project was in a position of change of direction (minimum-maximum) in East Azerbaijan province, and consequently, it is recommended to take advantage of the opportunities to eliminate the weaknesses of the project. Eventually, according to the results of this study, the two main strategies to diversify the livelihoods of rural households in West Azerbaijan province, respectively, were included "professional empowerment and promotion of villagers' cognitive and skill areas" and "emphasis on the use of female facilitators in the structure of administrator firms of the project; these strategies in East Azerbaijan province also were included "development of production clusters in order to integrate and synergy rural small businesses", "more attention to facilitating the marketing of products".