New educational resource developed by the Gro for GooD team launched for secondary schools in Kwale County, Kenya to increase understanding of groundwater and water quality
Outreach to schools teaches girls and boys about water science and management
Event held on 17th March to celebrate the collaboration between the UPGro team, the schools, local government and private sector partners.
“You have a very great opportunity through your water clubs, guided by your teachers who are here and who can support you. We should take this as a very special opportunity for all of us”
The UPGro Gro for GooD project has been delivering a programme of engagement to teach young people in Kwale County about water science and management. Water Clubs at 3 secondary schools have been participating in field trips, practical activities, experiments and conducting their own group research projects. This outreach work aims to develop students’ research and communication skills and showcase career options in the water sector.
In the run up to World Water Day 2018, the Gro for GooD project was delighted to welcome Madam Bridget Wambua, Director of Education for Kwale County, Kenya, to provide opening remarks (extract above) at a special event to celebrate the success of the Schools Water Clubs supported by the project over the last year. As the event got going, students listened with great interest to the keynote speech by Prof. Dan Olago from the University of Nairobi, and then took to the stage themselves for a series of presentations about club activities including water quality testing of school waterpoints, the installation and use of rain-gauges on school grounds, and field trips to the Base Titanium mine to see how the mine manages and recycles water in its operation.
Other students presented their own mini-research projects into topics such as water conservation in agriculture and strategies for keeping water safe to drink, and one group gave an excellent explanation of artesian wells based on an email exchange with Gro for GooD hydrogeologist Mike Lane.
Students also brought practical demonstrations and posters to show in the teabreak, including a solar still demonstration from a group of students who had just heard that they are through the local round and have been invited to show their improved solar still design at Kenya’s National Science Fair for schools.
Madame Wambua and Professor Dan Olago then presented the schools, water clubs and club patrons with certificates of appreciation for their hard work and dedication to water-related environmental education, and 2 laptops were given to each club. The laptops were provided by the UK charity IT Schools Africa and preloaded with water-related environmental education resources collated by the Gro for GooD team.
Students also received print copies of a newly published Water Module Student Resource which was developed by the Gro for GooD research team with input from students and teachers at the schools. Mr Joseph Kimtai, teacher and club patron at Kingwede Girls Secondary School, said,
“I find this module of activities about water so helpful to the students – it complements what we are teaching in class. It also encourages critical thinking and solving problems related to the environment which is in line with one of the competencies of the incoming competency-based curriculum for Kenyan schools.”
The resource has been published under a Creative Commons licence so that other educational programmes in Kenya can make use of the content.
Co-author of the Water Module, Nancy Gladstone, said:
“It has been a privilege to work with secondary school students in Kwale County and help to meet their really encouraging thirst for knowledge about water. Education has a vital role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal for water and we are sure that many of these students will put their learning to good use at school and as they go on to jobs and further education.
“The Water Module event also provided us with an opportunity to thank the teachers, headteachers and local partner organisations such as Base Titanium and Rural Focus Ltd. who have all been critical to the success of the clubs this past year, and to contribute to discussions about building the water module into ongoing education programmes in Kwale County, both formal and informal, so as to reach more students and further enhance learning.”
Groundwater is essential for economic growth and can contribute to human development if resources are used sustainably to benefit the poorest in society. The Gro for GooD (Groundwater Risk Management for Growth and Development) project is striving to help government and groundwater users find a management approach that balances human health, economic growth, and resource sustainability demands and benefits everyone. Project partners are University of Oxford, University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Rural Focus Ltd., Kwale County Government, the Government of Kenya’s Water Resources Authority, Base Titanium and KISCOL.
More information about Gro for GooD, which is funded by UK research councils and the Department for International Development, can be found here.
by Dr Luke Whaley, Professor Frances Cleaver and Felece Katusiime (UPGro Hidden Crisis)
In Uganda, waterpoint committees exist more in name than in reality. Many waterpoints have been ‘personalised’. That is to say, they are under the control of one or a small number of individuals. Moreover, where local management arrangements (of any sort) are effective they tend to rely heavily on the authority of the head of the village council, known as the LC1 Chairperson. Indeed, it is often the LC1 Chairperson and not a waterpoint committee who is instrumental in collecting funds, securing maintenance and resolving disputes. Where an apparently functioning committee is in place, this is usually the result of concerted efforts on the part of particular local NGOs, who cannot guarantee this level of commitment in the longer term.
At least, these are the impressions of Felece Katusiime, a social science field researcher working on the UPGro ‘Hidden Crisis’ project, concerned with the sustainability of rural groundwater supply in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Malawi. They are field insights (preceding full data analysis) from someone who has spent many months in the field undertaking research in roughly 200 rural Ugandan villages. The discussion that follows is intended as a provocation and not a promulgation of project findings. We are interested in the extent to which the points made here accord or contrast with the experiences of you, the readers, and we welcome dialogue on these matters.
So, why might it be that in Uganda waterpoint committees,as envisaged on paper, seldom exist as such on the ground?
Roads for Water is integrating road construction and small water infrastructure to harvest rainwater from small catchments for productive use, while reducing road damage and simplifying road maintenance. Improving road drainage design is reducing soil erosion and increasing groundwater recharge. Furthermore, using roads for resource capture can prevent dangerous and inconvenient flooding, and in some cases pave the way for sand harvest and dune management, tree planting and protection of other natural resources.
Starting as an UPGro Catalyst Project, Roads for Water is now scaling up across Ethiopia, Kenya, Bangladesh, Malawi, Uganda and elsewhere with support from the Global Resilience Partnership (USAID, Rockefeller Foundation, SIDA and the Zurich Foundation) and the World Bank. The Roads for Water Learning Alliance was established to bring researchers, implementers, policy makers, trainers, donors and other stakeholders together to share knowledge and to support roadwork for natural resource management and climate resilience. The initiative recently received the second-place prize in the Zilient 2017 Resilience Awards.
MetaMeta and Mekelle University encourage those interested to become part of the learning alliance to contact MetaMeta at email@example.com
The Sustainable Development Goals have set an agenda for transformational change in water access, aiming for secure household connections globally. Despite this goal, communal groundwater supplies are likely to remain the main source of improved water supplies for many rural areas in Africa and South Asia for decades to come.
Understanding the poor functionality of existing communal supplies remains, therefore, a priority. A critical first step is to establish a sector-wide definition of borehole supply functionality and a standard method of its assessment.
Groundwater plays a central role in Increasing safe water access – particularly in Africa and Asia, but has there are long-running challenges in keeping such supplies working.
“Functionality” is term often used as a measurable indicator of whether a water point is working or not.
The most common definition of “functionality” is a binary “is it working at time of inspection? Yes/No” However, this is just one of six approaches to defining water point functionality.
A tiered assessment is recommended based on flow quantity, quality and downtime period(s) over the previous year
Having a standardised approach to assessing functionality is important to allow data from different locations and different times to be compared so that the deeper, systematic complexities and failures can be better understood and addressed.
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2018
We invite you to consider submitting your current, previously unpublished work to this special edition.
Special Issue Information
The Sahel-Soudano zone that spans North Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia, has experienced pronounced climatic variability (and conflicts) for millennia. This home to 250 million people—one quarter of Africa’s population—is a fragile transition zone in environmental and human terms. From south-to-north, rainfall decreases from around 30 inches per year on average to essentially nothing. Back-to-back contrasting rain years (deficits in 2011, floods in 2012) left over 18 million people in the West African Sahel threatened by food shortages between 2012 and 2013, highlighting yet again the strong the dependence between livelihoods on rainfall in the region. Ironically (tragically, even), the stakeholders within the Sahel have less access to, and therefore use less, instrumental rainfall information for planning and management than almost anywhere else in the world. Furthermore, short-term weather and seasonal climate forecasting have limited skill for West Africa. Whilst many of the National Hydrological and Meteorological agencies are making impressive efforts to produce tailored climate forecasts for their stakeholders, most appear to be country specific.
Recognizing these constraints, this Special Issue presents the latest understanding of African rainfall variability and on-going efforts to translate this into useable information through knowledge co-production and dissemination, to assure content relevance and accuracy for intended purposes. Stakeholders must establish practical innovations to anticipate impending crises and work collaboratively across the region to share information and strengthen supporting infrastructure. Within this framework, timely access to user-relevant climate information, access to relevant and reliable forecasts, and the ability of stakeholders to act on that information through effective strategic partnerships will prove the difference between coping proactively with emerging climate challenges and perpetuating the cycle of climate triggers and crisis.