According to the IWA in a research study conducted in 2012 – 2014, funded by the governments of USA, UK and Australia,
“Many developing economies are lacking significant numbers of water professionals, and the necessary knowledge, experience and specialist skills to meet the rising demand for water and sanitation services. Low levels of access to and inadequate coverage of tertiary education institutes is a significant bottleneck to meeting human resources demands; female professionals are underrepresented, particularly in technical fields; operation and maintenance of water and sanitation systems are chronically neglected, with human resources inadequately allocated; education and skills development requirements have not been appropriately assessed; and the dependence on communities, volunteers and semi-skilled workers in rural areas is not sustainable.”
Rough estimates indicate that in 2015, 240,000 technical professionals are in need in Africa. While working diligently to address these issues by working with existing universities in Sub-Sahara Africa, we anticipate we will only be able to scratch the surface of the need. What is required is a paradigm shift in how education is addressed in the region.
The entire paper can be viewed here:
The Sustainable Development Goals were rolled out last September with Goal 6: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” directly pertaining to our work. It includes these targets:
6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.
6.a By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programs, including water harvesting, desalinization, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies
6.b Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.
In addition, there are also the cross-cutting themes that are influenced by what we do, namely:
1.1 eradicate extreme poverty
2.3 small-scale food producers
9.a sustainable and resilient infrastructure
13.1 resilience and adaptive capacity
17.1 domestic resource mobilization
Michael Frind, groundwater modeller, has agreed to join the UniWater team of volunteers. Michael will be leading our Camel Caravan Team, who are responsible for the redistribution of reference textbooks around the globe. The books will go from the bookshelves of the many professionals (who don’t use them) in the developed world to the departmental libraries in the universities where UniWater is starting MSc programs in Africa. Our intent is to have volunteers in different cities who will pick up the books, store them, catalogue the books into a cloud-based database, and pack them up as needed. The delivery part of the camel caravan is the diaspora in our country who travel to Africa to visit family. UniWater will pay any extra baggage charges associated with this endeavour, and will do what it takes to ensure the books are transported in an effortless manner by the person travelling. Please contact Michael if you wish to help with this initiative.
Solving water issues in Africa through education.
According to the Water Project, 290 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are drinking contaminated water. That’s almost a third of the local population that doesn’t have access to safe, clean water and Laurra Olmsted wants to change all that.
Through her non-profit Uniwater Education, Laurra provides local universities the knowledge of water resource management through an innovative Master’s program in Hydrogeology.
Pitching her idea at the Social Innovation Challenge in October, she made it to the final round with her revolutionary project. Read more …
UniWater presented a 3 minute pitch to a group of 9 panelists at the SNEF Lion’s Den Finals….unfortunately, we did not make the top 3 but we certainly came away from the experience with many excellent ideas. Check out our presentation!
UniWater’s powerpoint with voice Oct 2015 (Power Point viewer)
At the Soul of the Next Economy Forum in September, our team presented a ‘pitch’ to the Lion’s Den. There were 5 panelists and UniWater made the top 12 presenters. This was a 90 second pitch – a difficult task!
On behalf of Meta Meta, Dr Frank van Steenburgen and Mr. Matthijs Kool agreed to openly collaborate with UniWater on the sharing of training modules in the specialty of Spate Irrigation and Water for Roads. These two areas are expected to improve the use of flood irrigation in the dryland areas of the Horn of Africa in the years to come. This is a valuable resource for UniWater in the capture and use/reuse of surface water. Meta Meta is a private company with a social objective to share information related to water resources, based in the Netherlands.
UniWater has forged a new collaborative relationship with ASAL Consultants Ltd in Nairobi, Kenya. ASAL has been operational in Kenya for 41 years, working on low-cost water supply in the Arid and Semi-arid Lands of Africa. MetaMeta and ASAL won an international tender on ‘Roads for Water’ recently and have just completed their first workshop on this subject in Mekele, Ethiopia. They have a number of handbooks available on their website for the public that are incredibly useful. Please see http://www.waterforaridland.com/publications.html
When Tony Cowen and Terry Dash of the PFRA discovered that their technical library was to be dismantled, they thankfully thought of UniWater. Several boxes of texts and PFRA published documents (in paper form and on USB cards) have been donated for use in African geology departments hosting the UniWater program. Many thanks!