@engineer4change : Charitable Foundations Have a Unique Opportunity to Change the WASH Sector

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.

Piecing together Africa’s groundwater history

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.

Continue reading Piecing together Africa’s groundwater history

Hidden Crisis team reveal themselves in Edinburgh

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.

joint-picture

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.

classroom

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.

malawi

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.

planning

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.

UPGro at the RWSN Forum

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:

We look forward to seeing you there!

Awards for UPGro researchers

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.

New El Niño research grant awarded to UPGro investigators

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.

Continue reading New El Niño research grant awarded to UPGro investigators

How do you solve a problem like a broken water pump?

World Water Day 2016 article on The Guardian by Katherine Purvis, 22/03/2016

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.

Read more on the Guardian website

 

The magic and mystery of groundwater data

To be effective, drinking water programmes relying on groundwater need good quality and well managed groundwater data. Unfortunately this is an overlooked, “techy domain”. The presentations and discussants on this webinar explain the typical problems of groundwater data collection, management and use. They draw on first hand examples of: groundwater data use in Uganda and the United Kingdom; groundwater databases in 15 African countries (Benin, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Zambia) and work on transboundary aquifers in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana) followed by of the current realities in Mozambique. There is need for training, quality assurance of data, and for groundwater data collection to become part of drilling contract management.
Presentations and reflections from Lawrence Brown from Hafren Water (UK), Helen Bonsor of the British Geological Survey – BGS (UK), Fabio Fussi of the University of Milano Bicocca, Italy and Andreas Antoniou of the International Groundwater Centre – IGRAC (the Netherlands). Reflections from Brighid O Dochartaigh, British Geological Survey – BGS (UK) and Samo Chirindja Farisse – Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique).

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Pour être efficients, les programmes d’approvisionnement en eau potable ayant recours aux eaux souterraines ont besoin de données sur les eaux souterraines de bonne qualité et bien gérées. Malheureusement il s’agit d’un domaine jugé trop technique et souvent négligé. Lors de ce webinar les présentateurs et commentateurs mettent en exergue les problèmes typiques concernant la collecte, la gestion et l’utilisation des données sur les eaux souterraines. Ils se basent sur des exemples personnels : utilisation des données des eaux souterraines en Ouganda et au Royaume Uni ; bases de données sur l’eau souterraine dans 15 pays africains (Bénin, Burundi, République Centrafricaine, Tchad, Guinée, Côte d’Ivoire, Libéria, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger, Sénégal, Sierra Leone, Togo et Zambie). Il y a des besoins en formation, en assurance qualité des données et en ce qui concerne la collecte des données sur les eaux souterraines la nécessité de devenir partie du contrat de forage.
Présentations et réflexions de Lawrence Brown de “Hafren Water” (UK), Helen Bonsor du “British Geological Survey” – BGS (UK), Fabio Fussi de l’Université de Milano Bicocca, Italie et Andreas Antoniou du Centre International sur les Eaux Souterraines – IGRAC (Pays-Bas). Commentaires de Brighid O Dochartaigh, “British Geological Survey” – BGS (UK).

Stop the Rot – helps us stop the scandal of pump corrosion

This week RWSN/UPGro hosted a webinar on:

      • Overcoming the Rural Water Supply Scandal of Handpump Corrosion (RWSN) – Recording (English)
      • Dépasser le scandale de la corrosion des pompes manuelles dans l’approvisionnement rural en eau (RWSN) – Recording (French)

The key points are:

  • handpump corrosion has been known about for 30 years,
  • it is avoidable
  • yet every day, well-meaning organisations are funding or installing the wrong pumps, poor quality pumps or making false savings by not having independent drilling and installation supervision.
  • This can leave water users a usable without safe water within 6 months.

In this webinar, Bony Etti and Jacinta Nekesa from WaterAid Uganda describe their shocking findings from investigating boreholes and pumps (in partnership with  Mitzi Erin Brett, a MSc student from Mercer University and linked to the UPGro Hidden Crisis catalyst study) some of which have failed or become unusable within 6 months of being installed.

Jake Carpenter, a consultant and former Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda describes the history, theory and practice of corrosion issues and provides practical solutions for resolving the issue.

Our discussants, Dr Peter Harvey (UNICEF) and Jess MacArthur (iDE) add their comments on why this avoidable problem is still around and in a lively Q&A session, some positive ways forward are discussed.

Although the examples in the presentation are from Uganda, we know that this problem is happening in at least 25 countries in Africa and Asia and many more.

If you would like more information to help inform and influence either your own organisation or those that you know of that are still installing inappropriate materials, then please let us know.

Overcoming the Rural Water Supply Scandal of Handpump Corrosion

Handpump corrosion has been known about for over 30 years, the fact that it is a common problem in over 25 countries is a scandal and reflects badly on donors, implementers and governments.
In this webinar, Bony Etti and Jacinta Nekesa from WaterAid Uganda describe their shocking findings from investigating boreholes and pumps (as part of the UPGro Hidden Crisis study) some of which have failed or become unusable within 6 months of being installed. Jake Carpenter, a consultant and former Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda describes the history, theory and practice of corrosion issues and provides practical solutions for resolving the issue. Our discussants, Dr Peter Harvey (UNICEF) and Jess MacArthur (iDE) add their comments on why this avoidable problem is still around and in a lively Q&A session, some positive ways forward are discussed.

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Le secteur est au courant depuis plus de trente ans des problèmes de corrosion des pompes manuelles. Il est scandaleux que ce problème soit encore récurrent dans plus de 25 pays, et cela nuit à la réputation des financeurs, des chefs de projets et des gouvernements.
Dans ce wébinaire, Bony Etti et Jacinta Nekesa de WaterAid Ouganda présentent les résultats choquants de leur évaluation de forages et de pompes (dans le cadre de l’étude UPGro Hidden Crisis) dont certains sont tombées en panne ou ne sont plus utilisables 6 mois seulement après leur installation. Jake Carpenter, consultant et ancien bénévole des Peace Corps en Ouganda, reprend lui l’histoire, la théorie et les aspects techniques des problèmes de corrosion en général, et propose des solutions simples et pratiques pour les résoudre. Dans la session Questions/Réponses les participants discutent de ces alternatives à mettre en place pour améliorer la situation.
Dans la version anglaise du wébinaire deux intervenants, Dr Peter Harvey (UNICEF) et Jess MacArthur (iDE), apportent aussi des précisions sur les raisons pour lesquelles ce problème pourtant évitable continue d’exister.