UPGro Ambassador leads “Groundwater in IWRM” training in Mali

re-posted from Cap-Net newsletter

A Training Workshop on Groundwater Management within IWRM in River Basin Context was held from 21 to 25 November 2017 in Ségou, Mali.  It was organised in collaboration with the Country Coordination of Natural Resources Users in the Niger Basin (CNU-Mali), Regional Coordination of Natural Resources Users in the Niger Basin (CRU-BN) and Africa Groundwater Network (AGW-Net). The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Moustapha DIENE Hydrogeologist at University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (Senegal), AGW-Net Manager and Prof. Amadou Zanga Traoré, retired Professor in Hydrogeology, from ENI (School of Engineers in Bamako, Mali).

Continue reading UPGro Ambassador leads “Groundwater in IWRM” training in Mali

UPGro researcher, Prof John M. Gathenya expands horizons with TU Dresden Fellowship

During 2017 UPGro Gro for GooD researcher, Prof John Gathenya, from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Nairobi (Kenya) was appointed  Senior Fellow at the School of Civil and  Environmental engineering of the Technical University (TU) Dresden.

Prof. Gathenya visited TU Dresden from 15-29 May and 29 October-11 November 2017. In the first visit, he was in a team of staff and PhD students from hisdepartment. He presented a case study on Sasumua Payments for ecosystem services project at the International Dresden Water, Soil and Waste Nexus Conference organized by UNU-FLORES and was also a panelist in one of the forums in the conference.   At the Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology, Prof. Gathenya did presented in seminars and held meetings to advise PhD students.

During the second visit he participated in Centre for International Postgraduate Studies of Environmental Management – CIPSEM 72nd Soil & Land Resources International Course. He presented on Payments for Ecosystem services as a tool to catalyze adoption of sustainable land management.  He had meetings with some professors and university administration such Vice Rector for research and chair hydrosciences department.

Currently the institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology and his department area involved in a project on assessment of sediment deposits in reservoirs using multi-frequency echo-sounding techniques and some staff and PhD students are engaged and we hope to grow our collaboration by writing proposals to German and EU funding agencies. The Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology has good experience setting and equipping field research sites for studies in soil and water management and Prof. Gathenya hopes to draw on this expertise in future especially in connection with our engagement with the Kenyan Upper Tana Water Fund Project.

Bienvenue dans l’équipe BRAVE, Grace! Introducing BRAVE’s New Communications Manager: Grace Labeodan

BRAVE is very pleased to introduce Grace Labeodon as its new Communications Manager.   Grace is originally from Liverpool (Northwest England) and has a background in law and communications.  She brings experience of working with NGOs, grassroots civil society groups and youth advocacy initiatives. Grace is passionate about the SDGs, child’s rights, and sustainable livelihoods.  As a dedicated development professional, she is committed to working in support of resilience strategies necessary for effective response to climate change and evolving resource management agendas. Grace is currently pursuing a Masters in Applied International Development at the University of Reading.

Grace is also a member of the Walker Institute’s Knowledge Management Team, which is responsible for delivering effective and relevant communications to researchers, partners and stakeholders across the Walker Institute’s portfolio.

Grace will assume all BRAVE communications responsibilities from December 1, including the BRAVE Website, Blog, Newsletter, and all Social Media.  Contact Grace if you wish to discuss how you or your organization can be featured across BRAVE or the Walker Institute’s Communications Platforms. grace.labeodan@reading.ac.uk

Welcome to the BRAVE Team, Grace!

BRAVE est très heureux de présenter Grace Labeodon comme son nouveau directeur des communications. Grace est originaire de Liverpool (nord-ouest de l’Angleterre) et a une formation en droit et en communication. Elle apporte son expérience de travail avec des ONG, des groupes de la société civile locale et des initiatives de défense de la jeunesse. Grace est passionnée par les ODD, les droits de l’enfant et les moyens de subsistance durables. En tant que professionnelle dévouée du développement, elle s’engage à soutenir les stratégies de résilience nécessaires à une réponse efficace au changement climatique et à l’évolution des programmes de gestion des ressources. Grace poursuit actuellement une maîtrise en développement international appliqué à l’Université de Reading.

Grace est également membre de l’équipe de gestion des connaissances de l’Institut Walker, chargée de fournir des communications efficaces et pertinentes aux chercheurs, aux partenaires et aux intervenants du portefeuille de l’Institut Walker.

Grace assumera toutes les responsabilités de communication de BRAVE à partir du 1er décembre, y compris le site Web BRAVE, le blog, le bulletin d’information et tous les médias sociaux. Contactez Grace si vous souhaitez discuter de la façon dont vous ou votre organisation pouvez être présenté à travers BRAVE ou les plates-formes de communication de l’Institut Walker.  grace.labeodan@reading.ac.uk

Bienvenue dans l’équipe BRAVE, Grace!

BRAVE Student – Échange de Recherche Communautaire

Le projet BRAVE apporte une approche unique d’intégration des sciences sociales et physiques et de travail, en partenariat avec les communautés locales, pour soutenir la traduction et l’adoption efficaces des activités de recherche. Les co-bénéfices donnent aux étudiants et aux chercheurs l’opportunité d’apprendre directement des communautés sur ce dont ils ont besoin et comment le projet BRAVE peut être le plus efficace et bénéfique pour les communautés locales et les partenaires. Un exemple principal de ce travail est démontré par les échanges de recherche étudiants et communautaires de BRAVE. Dans le cadre du projet BRAVE, trois bassins versants ont été équipés d’une infrastructure permettant un suivi détaillé de tous les aspects du bilan hydrique. Sur le site de Sanon au Burkina Faso, le suivi est assuré par Narcisse Gahi, PDRA BRAVE qui siège au sein de l’IRC, et par Jean Pierre Sandwidi à l’Université de Ouagadougou, ainsi que Mahamadou Koita au 2iE. Dans les bassins versants du Vea au Ghana et au Burkina Faso, il est dirigé par le technicien WASCAL, Sammy Guug, avec l’aide du Water Research Institute.

Sur le site du village de Sanon, le projet a loué des logements locaux où les étudiants vivent pendant la saison des pluies. Jusqu’à présent, au cours de deux saisons humides, trois étudiants de MSc et sept étudiants de BSc de l’Université de Ouagadougou et 2iE ont recueilli des données pour le projet. Ces étudiants viennent de cours liés à l’hydrologie et à la biologie. Sur les sites de Vea Catchment, un étudiant au doctorat WASCAL a collecté des données, ainsi qu’un stagiaire et un étudiant BSc. Il est plaisant de voir cette collaboration à la fois améliorer la collecte de données et renforcer les capacités des étudiants locaux.

Pendant ces séjours, les étudiants, les chercheurs et les communautés apprennent les uns des autres à travers des recherches menées et des échanges collaboratifs. Les étudiants et les chercheurs apprennent comment mener des travaux sur le terrain dans les communautés qui acquièrent une compréhension critique et une expérience des techniques de collecte de données, mais aussi le rôle des communautés dans le processus de recherche. Les communautés acquièrent également une compréhension de première main de la recherche menée dans leur communauté ainsi qu’un aperçu du travail important accompli par les universités nationales et de la façon dont ce travail peut produire des bénéfices à l’échelle nationale et communautaire. L’équipe du projet BRAVE est très reconnaissante envers les étudiants, leurs superviseurs et les communautés BRAVE pour ces opportunités.

BRAVE Student – Community Research Exchange

from the latest BRAVE newsletter

The BRAVE project brings a unique approach of integrating both the social and physical sciences and working, in partnership with, local communities to support effective translation and uptake of research activities.  Co-benefits result in the opportunity for students and researchers to learn directly from communities on what is needed and how the BRAVE project can be most effective and beneficial for local communities and partners.  A primary example of this work is demonstrated through BRAVE’s Student and Community Research Exchanges.  Within the BRAVE project three catchments have been equipped with infrastructure that allows detailed monitoring of all aspects of the water balance.  At the Sanon site in Burkina Faso, monitoring is led by Narcisse Gahi, a BRAVE PDRA who sits within IRC, and by Jean Pierre Sandwidi at the University of Ouagadougou, as well as Mahamadou Koita at 2iE. At the Vea Catchment sites in Ghana and Burkina Faso it is led by WASCAL Technician, Sammy Guug, with assistance from the Water Research Institute.

At the Sanon village site, the project has rented local accommodation where students live through the period of the wet season. So far, over two wet seasons, three MSc students and seven BSc students from the University of Ouagadougou and 2iE have gathered data for the project. These students come from hydrology and biology-related courses. At the Vea Catchment sites, a WASCAL PhD student has been collecting data, as well as an intern and a BSc student. It is pleasing to see this collaboration that both improves data collection and builds capacity for local students.

During these stays, students, researchers and communities learn from each other through research conducted and collaborative exchanges.  Students and researchers learn how to conduct fieldwork in communities gaining critical understanding and experience in data collection techniques, but also the role of communities within the research process.  Communities also gain first-hand understanding of the research being conducted in their community as well as an insight into the important work being done through national universities and how that work can produce benefits nationwide and at community levels.  The BRAVE Project Team is very grateful to the students and their supervisors and BRAVE communities for these opportunities.

A+ for UPGro

Each year we have to provide a detailed progress report on how UPGro is doing to the Programme Executive Board (comprising NERC, DFID and ESRC). The scoring system works as follows:

A++      Substantially exceeds expectations
A+       Exceeds expectations
A        Met expectations
B        Moderately did not reach expectations
C        Substantially did not reach expectations.

From 2013 to 2016, UPGro scored “A” so we are delighted that DFID have confirmed  that for this year the score is “A+”, and within that Output 4 “Current and potential groundwater users participate and influence the UPGro research and are presented with the findings” scored “A++”

 The final draft review report noted “This is an improvement on the A rating awarded in previous years, reflecting largely an improvement in the demonstrable uptaking of UPGro research, influencing stakeholders”  The final public version of the report will be posted here https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-203774/documents in the coming weeks, alongside the reports from previous years.

A huge thanks to all 137 UPGro researchers, plus students and research partners.

Investigating water governance arrangements in Balaka District, Malawi – news from the field

by Naomi Oates, Grantham institute, UPGro Hidden Crisis

My first impressions of Malawi? It is hot! Temperatures are reaching 37°C in Balaka district at the moment. Around midday it is particularly difficult to move around in the scorching sun – much preferable to sit under a shady tree until the heat dissipates a little (usually it becomes bearable by 3pm).

The landscape is very dry. Sometimes there is a gentle cooling breeze, but that can also kick up a lot of dust. Fortunately, the rains will be starting in November, which will cool things down and allow the crops to grow.

Power cuts are a frequent occurrence at that moment, as the country cannot generate enough to meet demand and electricity has to be rationed. The main energy source is hydropower – reservoirs are at their lowest at this time of year.

MalawiJoint1
From L-R: The landscape around Alufeyo village, Balaka; Households pay 300 kwacha a year to use this waterpoint.

My first week in the field was spent settling in to the District Water Office in Balaka, getting to know the staff members. This will be my home for the next 4-5 months (with a break to return to the UK for Christmas).

The office is located just behind the market in Balaka town. It has four rooms and lots of storage containers for equipment and spare parts. I sit in the same room as the District Water Development Office – the boss – but he is often away for meetings.

There are around 49 staff employed by the office in total. Many are based at the treatment works and dam in Ntcheu (the neighbouring district) which supplies Balaka with piped water. There are far fewer staff working on groundwater supplies – namely, the boreholes with handpumps provided to rural communities. It is the latter that my research is focussing on.

In my second week the UpGro Hidden Crisis survey team arrived – the project my PhD is linked to. The team are investigating the multiple causes of waterpoint failure. This includes the functioning of mechanical components in the hand pump, borehole characteristics (e.g. siting and yield) and various aspects of water quality. Discussions are also held with communities to discuss the history of the waterpoint – its construction, breakdowns and repairs, and local arrangements to collect fees and maintain the handpump.

Every waterpoint has a different set of problems – in the case of Alufeyo the community were contributing money for repairs, and showed willingness to pay, but the borehole has been badly sited and produces a low yield.

MalawiJoint2
From L-R: The UpGro researchers carry out a pumping test to measure the water yield of this borehole; Measuring water temperature, pH, conductivity and salinity.

Next week I hope to accompany the Water Monitoring Assistant (Mr Nkwate) on a Red Cross project that will be drilling and rehabilitating boreholes, and training Water Point Committees (community volunteers).

The objective of my research is to understand the role of different actors at the district-level in developing and sustaining rural water services – how they get their jobs done and the networks of relationships on which they draw. One aspect of this is to explore the interface between the district government offices and the communities they support.

Meeting Kenyan girls’ thirst for groundwater knowledge through ‘Water Clubs’

by Nancy Gladstone and Saskia Nowicki, Gro for GooD project, November 2017

Red dye spreading through a model ‘aquifer’ helps girls from Kingwede School in Kwale County, Kenya understand how pollutants travel in groundwater. The students are part of a school water club supported by the Gro for GooD project in partnership with mining company Base Titanium Ltd. Maji (water in Swahili) clubs  at 3 secondary schools within the Gro for GooD study area are proving to be an effective outreach mechanism for the groundwater research project. Almost 100 students are involved and over half of them are girls. The focus is on learning through activities, which have included hands-on sessions about groundwater recharge, storage and pollution using aquifer kits; practical experiments using water quality tests to demonstrate simple water filters and safe water storage; installing and gathering data from rain gauges; and field trips to see industrial water use and borehole drilling.

We asked the girls at Kingwede Maji to write a short paragraph on why they signed up to the club. Their responses indicated just how aware they are of the problems associated with inadequate water management – the risk of disease, time-consuming treks to waterpoints, seasonal water scarcity — and just how motivated they are to find solutions.

collecting samples
Students at Mivumoni School collecting samples for water quality testing during a club activity led by Geofrey Wekesa (teacher and researcher, also pictured above)

 

“Where I live we have rivers and also other sources of water. Our water get polluted especially the river water mainly from animal waste. I am in this club so that I can know how to treat the water so that it can be safe for use.” Munirah R.

“I am so eager to know how that water from the river may reach nearer where we can easily get it. Reason being that from our homes to the river is quite a long distance and it usually takes us almost a whole day looking for the water. Which is time wasting and also tiresome.” Jackline K.

“The reason as to why I am interested in this water project is to know why some of the areas in Kwale County and all other parts in our country have scarce water supply? And what causes this? And what are the things which we can do to avoid this?” Halimah A.

The clubs are now working on group projects with remote support (via WhatsApp groups!) from staff and students at the University of Oxford. Meanwhile, Gro for GooD researchers and the clubs’ champion teachers are preparing material for a resource package that will capture the learning from the programme. We are also working on developing partnerships and networks for wider dissemination of the resources in Kenya.

visit.png
Students from Kingwede Girls School learning about industrial water use on a trip to Base Titanium mine. A major goal of the initiative is showcasing career options and pathways in environmental science and management.

It is inspiring how much these students want to deepen and share their understanding of water. Whether they decide to pursue careers in water management or simply become better-informed members of groundwater-reliant communities, the knowledge they gain through the water clubs will help them have a positive impact.

“When the club was introduced to my school I saw it as a big opportunity and decided to join it because I knew I would get ideas that would help back at home. My hope is that I will learn several ways to purify water which will bring an impact back to my home county.” Fatma M.

Weblinks:

 

“Groundwater is the key to Unlocking Green Growth in Africa”

On 25th October, the prestigious keynote Ineson Lecture 2017 at the Geological Society in London was given by Dr Callist Tindimugaya, head of Water Resource Planning and Regulation in Uganda’s Ministry of Water & Environment, and one of four UPGro Ambassadors. In his speech he highlighted the importance understanding and managing groundwater well, not for its own sake but because it is a natural resource that underpins most, if not all, African societies and economies.

However, he expressed his frustration that the economic contribution of this resource has not yet been properly quantified so that its invisible contribution is made plain to all, from ordinary citizens to political leaders. Nevertheless, he was encouraged by the many initiatives across the continent to address the knowledge gaps and to improve the visibility and use of groundwater – in particular the importance of the UPGro programme and GRIPP. He concluded: “You cannot milk a cow, if you do not feed it”, likewise if the potential benefits of Africa’s aquifers are to be realised, then investment is needed in research, monitoring, regulation and – most of all – in education and training.

The day-long event was well attended and as well as a lively debate and a presentation by Guy Howard, DFID WASH policy team leader, there were numerous inputs from across UPGro, including: presentations by Prof. Richard Taylor about GroFutures and the Chronicles Consortium; from Brighid Ó Dochartaigh about the Africa Groundwater Altas; from Prof. Alan MacDonald about the Hidden Crisis project; and an array of posters from UPGro Catalyst and Consortia research, including a poster on the AMGRAF project by David Walker (Newcastle University) supported by UPGro and REACH, which had won the award for best Early Career Researcher poster at the recent 44th IAH Congress in Dubrovnik.

A huge thank you to Brighid Ó Dochartaigh and all the organisers at  IAH BGS, and Geol. Soc.

 

UPGro takes advice from leading African experts

The day before the 2017 Ineson Lecture, a meeting was held in the Council Chamber of the Geological Society in London at which the project leaders, programme board members from NERC and DFID, and the Knowledge Broker team met with three of the UPGro Ambassadors: Dr Callist Tindimugaya, Ministry of Water & Environment, Uganda; Prof. Moustapha Diene, U. Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal; Prof. Muna Mirghani, Technische Universität Berlin.

Prof. Richard Carter made opening remarks on behalf of the Knowledge Broker team welcoming everyone to the event followed an icebreaker exercise so that everyone in the room got to know each other.

The aim of the workshop was to bring together representatives from the UPGro Consortia, the Knowledge Broker team, the Programme Executive Board (PEB), and the UPGro Ambassadors to reflect on the progress of the UPGro programme to date and to set the priorities for maximising the impact of the research over the next 2 years. It was the first opportunity for the Ambassadors to share their experiences of the challenges and opportunities facing groundwater resources across Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in relation to improving opportunities for the poor.

The three UPGro Ambassadors who were present gave a short overview of their backgrounds, their current role and their personal and professional interests in African groundwater research, development and management. They were all co-founders of the African Groundwater Network.

Prof. Dr Moustapha Diene

  • Senior Assistant Professor
  • Started in surface water
  • Interested in capacity development and practical knowledge of groundwater (manager of AGW-Net)
  • Groundwater is mysterious and difficult to illustrate

Prof. Dr Muna Mirghani

  • Visiting Professor lecturing in IWRM and runs WaterTrac consultancy in Sudan
  • Started in civil engineering
  • Interested in groundwater within IWRM implementation and governance (including catchment frameworks and transboundary issues) and drought governance.

Dr Callist Tindimugaya

  • Commissioner for Water Resources Planning & Regulation
  • Has worked for the Government since 1990 on water and groundwater in particular.
  • Interested in getting groundwater high on the agenda of political leaders and funders.

Each Ambassador presented an overview of what they see as the key issues facing the understanding, use and management of groundwater in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Using posters that had been created at a previous UPGro workshop (in Montpellier, Sept 2016), members from each of the five projects, plus Brighid from the Africa Groundwater Atlas, gave concise overviews of what each study is trying to achieve and summary of some of the early findings that are emerging.

After the presentations in the morning, the afternoon focused on discussions that pulled together the various strands of the conversation so far and some important questions to the Ambassadors on ways that the UPGro research can create more impact:

How do we move beyond conventional dissemination pathways and in what form do we deliver that information?

  • Be ready to share now what is being done, not waiting until the end. Otherwise, there is a danger that stakeholders think you have an agenda. Use national fora like Joint Sector Reviews and sector working groups to get some feedback and build appetite for your research. Remember to use simple language but not to over-simplify your message.
  • Politicians need to be approached indirectly. Decisions are made at a technical level. Build confidence in the results. Politicians learn through their assistants.

Other observations on research into action:

  • An important role for the Knowledge Broker is to interpret results and make them as non-technical as possible, without misrepresenting the extent to which the results answer the questions that decision-makers may have;
  • Corruption: can lead to evidence being completely ignored, and is difficult to deal with;
  • Political leaders have to make socially acceptable trade-offs, and are aware that citizens en masse have power through votes and demonstrations;
  • It is important to be neutral and not to frame evidence to push a specific gender;
  • Where are the influencing opportunities on the horizon?
  • Peer-to-peer learning between countries, River Basin Organisations, governments, donors can be an important uptake mechanism for new evidence;
  • Good short, punchy stories are important because they can be used as anecdotes to explain why UPGro is a great programme. These stories should not be afraid to cut-across projects where there is a common topic, such as finance, gender, climate change or governance.

Sum-up by Richard Carter

1. Integration of social and physical sciences : each project is taking a slightly different approach;

2. Synthesising: We need to get the messages right; there are some assumption about groundwater responses to wider changes (population growth, climate change) that shouldn’t be taken for granted;

3. There are variety of non-specialist audiences and we need to cater for that, from school children to senior government advisors;

4. We need to elevate the conversation beyond groundwater to the wider issues around food security, environment, industrialisation and employment.

5. We should be more confident about the positioning of groundwater – most of the world’s fresh water is groundwater so our communication should be too shy about that.

From the left – Moustapha Diene; Brighid Ó Dochartaigh, Muna Mirghani, Callist Tindimugaya, Richard Taylor, Alan MacDonald, Rob Hope, Kirsty Upton, Mohammad Shamsudduha, Tom Doyle, Michelle Truman, Jan Willem Foppen. (Not in the picture: Richard Carter, Ken Wright, Ken de Souza, Sean Furey)