Phase 2 of the Hidden Crisis fieldwork is underway – right on schedule. The work has started in Ejere, a Woreda about 100 km north of Addis in Ethiopia. In this major survey of 50 poorly functioning rural waterpoints, we spend two days dismantling and testing each water point to work out what the main […]
The physical sciences longitudinal studies have kicked off in Uganda this week. The aim of these longitudinal studies is to capture the time-based hydroclimatic and hydrogeological processes of the groundwater system at selected hand pumped boreholes (HPBs). These temporal datasets provide valuable information to understanding HPB functionality that could not be addressed from the two […]
We are pleased to share a new UPGro paper from Luke Whaley and Prof. Frances Cleaver (Sheffield University) of the Hidden Crisis study – “Can ‘functionality’ save the community management model of rural water supply?”
It is primarily a literature review paper so many elements will be familiar to rural water practitioners, however, Whaley and Cleaver are coming from a social science perspective so they highlight that previous analysis has focused on community management of water points as a “techno-managerial exercise” that largely ignores from broader social, political and cultural rules and relations around power – which groups and individuals have power over others and how is that used (or not used).
So what? The author’s suggest that current dialogue on water point functionality is not enough to save Community Based Management, because there is often a wider problem in with the under-resourcing of local government (and governance) and that more work is needed to help develop context-specific management, “rather than attempting to tweak the current blueprint of development the next ‘big thing’”
The full open access paper can be read and downloaded from Science Direct
Please take some time to read this and feel free to discuss – and argue! – about it in the RWSN Sustainable Services community
In a recent Engineering for Change (E4C) article, “Charitable Foundations Have a Unique Opportunity to Change the WASH Sector”, UPGro Hidden Crisis research was cited in making the case for stronger efforts by charities and funders to focus on the sustainability of what they fund:
The Unlocking the Potential for Groundwater for the Poor (UPGro) research project piloted a methodology in Uganda to uncover the causes of water point failure. The pilot study report found that “there is limited data or analysis on why sources are non‐functional and therefore little opportunity to learn from past mistakes” (Bonsor 2015).
The Hidden Crisis consortium project is currently addressing these knowledge gaps in its work in Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda.
E4C, based in the USA, is a global knowledge & media hub for tech & global development that connects and informs more than 1,000,000+ #tech4dev practitioners worldwide.
The UPGro programme, supported by AfriWatSan & ESPRC, conducted a pan-African capacity-strengthening and knowledge co-production workshop at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania from the 10th to 12th of February, 2017.
40 participants from 12 countries in Africa took part and analysed multi-decadal, groundwater-level data (“chronicles”) from 9 countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Sénégal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
reposted from: https://upgro-hidden-crisis.org/2016/12/07/2nd-project-workshop-meeting-edinburgh-21-24-nov-2016/
Overview and aims of the workshop
Since our last project workshop, held in Addis Ababa Ethiopia in September 2015, the first main survey phase of the project (to survey the functionality and performance of a sub-sample of water points and committees) has been completed within each of the three countries, alongside a rapid political economy analysis studies for Ethiopia and Malawi (Uganda to happen within the next few months).
The aim of the workshop was to bring the project team together to foster our growing working relationships, and to:
1. Review Survey 1 – key challenges and successes – and to review the initial analysis of the data and plan for more detailed final analysis
2. Planning of Survey 2 – location and site selection criteria, the research approach and aims, methods and logistics
3. Planning of the Longitudinal studies in the 3 countries for both physical and social science surveys
4. Interdisciplinary research – to review and discuss our approaches to interdisciplinary science in the Hidden Crisis project and lessons learned from other UPGro Projects
5. Discuss ongoing stakeholder engagement and a Publication Strategy – for both the country research teams, and for the project as a whole.
Attendees and meeting programme
The workshop was held at the British Geological Survey (BGS) office in Edinburgh, UK, over four days – from 21st to 24th November 2016. Representatives from all institutions and from each country involved in the research consortium attended the workshop – 23 people in total.
Day 1 was focused to reviewing the work of Survey 1 across the three countries and the initial data analysis; on Day 2 the key logistics and research aims of Survey 2 happening in 2017 were discussed, as well as the political economy work completed so far; Day 3 explored interdisciplinary research in the project, and the key aims and logistics for the longitudinal studies; and, Day 4, was used to identify and review the key priorities and planning actions for the next few months across the project team for the next main research survey phases. Several short “Ted talks” were also given throughout the week.
Summary of discussions
Presentations were made by Dessie Nedaw (Ethiopia), Michael Owor (Uganda) and Evance Mwathunga (Malawi) of the successes and challenges in completing Survey 1 across the three countries. The project database and QA process which has been developed to store all the data collected by the project (both physical science and social science) from Survey 1, and subsequent surveys.
A preliminary analysis of Survey 1 data from Ethiopia was presented by Dessie Nedaw and Seifu Kebebe. The analysis used the project approach of examining the impact of using different definitions of water point functionality. These include: working at the time of visit, having an acceptable yield, passing national inorganic chemistry standards, and whether they contained total thermal tolerant coliforms.
The initial results of the rapid political economy analysis (PEA) work from Malawi and Ethiopia were presented by Naomi Oates and Florence Pichon of ODI, respectively.
There were detailed discipline group discussions and wider project team discussions to identify the main methods, key criteria for site selection and the main challenges and logistics for planning Survey 2. Discussion was given to logistical and ethical challenges of repair of water points visited, risk of damage of the water points, and management of community expectations and follow-up during the mobilisation phases. Key timescales for planning were identified by the project team.
A half day of the workshop was focused on a wider project team discussion of our approach to interdisciplinary science – and the key challenges and opportunities of doing this in the next phases of the project. Kirsty Upton (of the UPGro programme co-ordination group) gave a presentation of an external MSc research paper, which has reviewed the different approaches to interdisciplinary science across the 5 UPGro consortium projects. Lissie Liddle (PhD student Cambridge University) presented the systems dynamics analysis she will be conducting for the Hidden Crisis project, bringing together physical and social science data, as part of her PhD within a Bayesian network analysis; and, Richard Carter then led a facilitated project discussion on our different perceptions of physical and social science factors to HPB failure.
Groundwater is critical to rural water supply – for many uses and in many parts of the world, not just in Africa. Therefore understanding of aquifers and how to use them sustainably is essential to tackling rural poverty.
So that is why we will be at the 7th RWSN Forum next week in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to present the work of UPGro and to network with delegates from all over Africa (and the world) on how interdisciplinary research in African groundwater can deliver tangible benefits.
Highlights to look out for:
- Tuesday (2A) The Fundifix rural water service delivery model, in Kenya (Gro for GooD)
- Tuesday (3E) Properties of shallow thin regolith aquifers in sub-Saharan Africa: a case study from northwest Ethiopia  David Walker (AMGRAF – catalyst)
- Wednesday (5A) Mapping of suitable zones for manual drilling. An overview of the method and the application as decision tools  Fabio Fussi (Remote Sensing for Manual Drilling – catalyst)
- Friday Sponsored Seminar: Tips for Groundwater Success – including the Africa Groundwater Atlas
- UPGro exhibition booth
- UPGro researchers and Ambassadors will be attending and available to answer questions throughout the event and at the Rock Café on Wednesday afternoon.
- BGR-Africa Groundwater Network training on groundwater on the Monday before the Forum
We look forward to seeing you there!
During the first day of the 43rd IAH Congress in Montpellier, France the 2016 Awards of the International Association of Hydrogeologists were announced:
“At the Annual General Meeting in the evening, the new Applied Hydrogeology Award was presented to Dr Richard Carter (pictured) in recognition of his life time research in applied hydrogeology in Africa and elsewhere, his support for NGOs working in groundwater and his enthusiastic guidance and of students for many years at Cranfield University in the UK.
Finally, the 2016 President’s Award was given to John Chilton the current Executive Manager of IAH.” – source: https://iah.org/news/43rd-iah-congress-montpellier
Richard is a member of the UPGro Knowledge Broker Team, and both Richard and John are involved in the UPGro “Hidden Crisis” project.
A research team, led by Prof. Alan MacDonald of BGS, has been awarded research funding by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for a study entitled “Monitoring the impact of the 2015/16 El Nino on rural water insecurity in Ethiopia: learning lessons for climate resilience“
El Niño is a prolonged warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and east-central Pacific that occurs irregularly at 3-6 year intervals. El Niño weakens the trade winds and alters the monsoon pattern which affects global weather patterns and typically results in drought conditions in Southern Africa and Southeast Asia and enhanced rainfall in Eastern Africa and South America.
Long considered a symbol of development aid, up to 40% of handpumps in sub-Saharan Africa are broken at any one time. Technology is offering smart solutions.
Over the past few decades, the humble handpump has become the go-to option for rural water supply in developing countries. They’re used to extract groundwater which is mostly clean, easy and cheap to access, and available year-round. Handpumps are usually a better option than open wells – which are highly vulnerable to contamination – and piped schemes or motorised pumps, which require the skills, finances, and management that’s often lacking in remote, rural areas.