ARUA Water Centre of Excellence Development: "Water for African SDGs"

Lead Research Organisation: Rhodes University
Department Name: Institute for Water Research

Abstract

Where: SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), U (university), CoE (Centre of Excellence), CSES(Complex Social-Ecological System) & landscape/catchment/watershed: synonymous.
The "Water for African SDGs" project will establish & develop the ARUA Water CoE as an effective, high-performance, hub & network of 8 African Universities' researchers & post graduate students. CoE research development will be based on understanding humans living on earth as the intricate coupling of society with the natural world - CSESs. We will forefront community engagement & knowledge sharing for sustainability. We will use research to catalyse change towards social and ecological justice and sustainability, paying attention to African community water and sanitation needs.
The Water CoE has developed a systemic image of the SDGs as a planning, practice & evaluation tool. The image has SDG 6, Clean water & sanitation, at the centre, linking two primary water cycles: i) Water in a Catchment (rainfall, run-off, ground water recharge, evapo-transpiration, evaporation); & ii) Water Services - supply & sanitation (raw water from the natural resource, often in dams, pipes & pumps to water treatment works, treated potable water to households, waste water to treatment works & discharge into the natural resource).
Several nodes place their water research in a climate change context (SDG 13), and acknowledge that water is integral to SDG 15 (life on land), 11 (sustainable cities & communities), & 12 (responsible consumption & production), Effective water resource management, supply and sanitation requires good water governance by strong institutions (SDG 16). The Water CoE itself embodies SDGs 17 (partnerships to reach goals), 4 (quality education) & 5 (gender equality).
Each CoE node has strengths in different parts of these cycles. This project brings together strengths, so nodes can flexibly link & respond innovatively to research funding calls, & effectively apply research. Capacity-building, exchanges and mentorship will mainly be addressed through the development & delivery of a 3-day course by each node, to 14 participants from 3-5 other nodes. Participants will be doctoral students, early-, mid-career & established researchers. Nodes will host a course on their primary strength, nodes will co-develop courses out of secondary strengths.
In Year 1, the hub (Rhodes U), will deliver a core foundation course to 3 delegates from each node (total 21), on Adaptive Integrated Water Resources Management (A-IWRM), including the CSES concept, transdisciplinarity and water governance. Node courses will run over Years 1 & 2, and an early identification of course areas is: Landscape restoration & catchment water use (Addis Ababa U, Ethiopia), hydrology, geohydrology & hydraulic regimes for IWRM (U Dar es Salaam, Tanzania), optimising benefit from dams (Cheikh Anta Dio U, Senegal), biodiversity, natural resource management, water-energy-food nexus (U Rwanda), urban water pollution (U Lagos, Nigeria), urban water quality design (U Cape Town, South Africa), & water in future cities (Makarere U, Uganda). Course days will include time to work on research proposals. In Year 3, activities will focus on grant applications and a Water CoE delegation attending a relevant international conference to present the outcomes of the whole project.
Over the 3-year period, each node will have one opportunity to invite/visit an international specialist, & by the end of year 3 at least 3 collaborative research projects will be running, each progressing an SDG challenge-area. Spin-off companies in water & sanitation could be emerging, and each node will have community-based water and/or sanitation impact successes. At least 24 early career researchers and 24 doctoral students will be mentored through the CoE. We will demonstrate the clear emergence of an African water research cohort, addressing water-related SDGs, with positive outcomes and impact.

Planned Impact

This UKRI project does not deliver research, it delivers the development of African-African research teams, networks and connections. However the courses each Water CoE node chooses to deliver will be linked to African case studies, and as teams secure funds, impacts in those case-study areas will be indirect impacts arising from this project. The CoE has 8 nodes in 7 countries: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda. (South Africa has 2 nodes) 1) Directs benefits. The project will deliver into the knowledge economy of each country. At least: (8x3) 24 early career researchers, (8x3)24 doctoral students, (8x15) 120 participant places on courses, (8x3) 24 collaborative grant proposals submitted, (8x1) 8 in-country research projects initiated. ; (8x1) 8 on-the-ground African communities with measurable benefits accrued from research initiated as a result of UKRI collaboration and capacity building.
2) Indirect benefits: The research project initiated in each country is likely to be located in the case study used for the course delivered. Each research project will deliver on-the-ground social, ecological and economic impact. At this stage these indirect impacts can only be described in general terms. Ethiopia: Landscape restoration will deliver food security impacts, specifically from increased high-value range/grass-fed beef production. Nigeria and South Africa (i): improved urban water quality management will reduce the cost of water treatment & reduce contamination-related health risks. Rwanda: improved efficiencies in irrigated agricultural crop production will improve food security. Senegal: improved choices for water-use from large dams will mean less water and energy will deliver more food, with less ecological impact. South Africa: ii) Increased participation by civil society in water governance will improve social connectivity and deepen democracy in a water management system and reduce water protests. Tanzania: Hydrological modelling with deliver more efficient water resource planning. Uganda: A community-based water project will deliver a more reliable potable water supply and improved sanitation.
The best assurance that impact will materialise is the research approach and methodology adopted by the CoE. Engaged, transdisciplinary action research methodology means research questions are developed with stakeholder water-users, who will benefit from the research. Researchers will both share their knowledge, and learn from local stakeholders. A systemic approach will guard against unintended consequences. Reflexive praxis means researchers will learn by doing, and adapt to contextual changes, increasing the likelihood of retaining and growing trust and increasing the likelihood of positive social and ecological outcomes. Ethical praxis means careful attention is paid to eliminating extractive research, and ensuring communities actually derive benefit from research-engagement.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title DST Access to water and agriculture in rural communities in Lake Guiers, Senegal 
Description Ms Rokhaya Diop, a Research Assistant from Senegal node, created this short Digital Storytelling (DST) video as part of the skills development DST class for Early Career Researcher held online in August 2021. The course was facilitated by the Rhodes University's Community Engagement unit. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This product is being used for stakeholder engagements under the Adaptive Systemic Approach (ASA) process that underlies the Research Excellence grant. The aim of the Capacity Building exercise was to transfer skills to the node to use storytelling videos for engagement. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leG7U5BaLG0&list=PLVIqMbfShhRpPNH4yUfzjUBbXqIU3Yc4h&index=6
 
Title DST Can Nature Heal Itself? A Tale of a Little Catchment in Franschoek, South Africa 
Description Ms Naledi Chere, a Research Assistant from the University of Cape Town node, created this short Digital Storytelling (DST) video as part of the skills development DST class for Early Career Researcher held online in August 2021. The course was facilitated by the Rhodes University's Community Engagement unit. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This product is being used for stakeholder engagements under the Adaptive Systemic Approach (ASA) process that underlies the Research Excellence grant. The aim of the Capacity Building exercise was to transfer skills to the node to use storytelling videos for engagement. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Z4qg3LDumE&list=PLVIqMbfShhRpPNH4yUfzjUBbXqIU3Yc4h&index=4
 
Title DST Groundwater pollution from a dumpsite in Lagos, Nigeria 
Description Dr Oluwasola Oribayo, an ECR from the Lagos node, created this short Digital Storytelling (DST) video as part of the skills development DST class for Early Career Researcher held online in August 2021. The course was facilitated by the Rhodes University's Community Engagement unit. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This product is being used for stakeholder engagements under the Adaptive Systemic Approach (ASA) process that underlies the Research Excellence grant. The aim of the Capacity Building exercise was to transfer skills to the node to use storytelling videos for engagement. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RN958Zyk-0&list=PLVIqMbfShhRpPNH4yUfzjUBbXqIU3Yc4h
 
Title DST Hope for solving a water crisis in Makhanda City, South Africa 
Description Dr Rebecca Powell, an ECR from Rhodes University node, created this short Digital Storytelling (DST) video as part of the skills development DST class for Early Career Researcher held online in August 2021. The course was facilitated by the Rhodes University's Community Engagement unit. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This product highlights the issues in the town of Grahamstown which hosts Rhodes University, and the video may be used for stakeholder engagements. The aim of the Capacity Building exercise was to transfer skills to the node to use storytelling videos for engagement. 
 
Title DST Participatory governance in the Tsitsa Project, South Arica 
Description Dr Notiswa Libala, an ECR from Rhodes University node, created this short Digital Storytelling (DST) video as part of the skills development DST class for Early Career Researcher held online in August 2021. The course was facilitated by the Rhodes University's Community Engagement unit. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This product maybe be used for stakeholder engagements about the Tsitsa Project in South Africa. The aim of the Capacity Building exercise was to transfer skills to the node to use storytelling videos for engagement. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSdQfDFcUmM&list=PLVIqMbfShhRpPNH4yUfzjUBbXqIU3Yc4h&index=7
 
Title DST Pollution in the Murchison Bay, Kampala City, Uganda: A call to action 
Description Dr Prossie Nakawuka, an ECR from the Uganda node, created this short Digital Storytelling (DST) video as part of the skills development DST class for Early Career Researcher held online in August 2021. The course was facilitated by the Rhodes University's Community Engagement unit. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This product is being used for stakeholder engagements under the Adaptive Systemic Approach (ASA) process that underlies the Research Excellence grant. The aim of the Capacity Building exercise was to transfer skills to the node to use storytelling videos for engagement. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpkj9yGj7Tc&list=PLVIqMbfShhRpPNH4yUfzjUBbXqIU3Yc4h&index=2
 
Title DST South African River Connections 
Description Storytelling can take many forms to communicate. In the historical past, this has been primarily oral and written storytelling, both in poetic and prose format. But with digital technologies dominating today's culture, platforms such as youtube, tiktok and instagram have become the modus operandi for the Gen Y and Z to share what is important to them. Some scientists have promoted the use of videos for communicating science, due to their power to connect people to distant places and events that most of us have experienced. The African Research University Alliance (ARUA) Water Centre of Excellence is investigating the use of storytelling videos and digital maps for disseminating the links between freshwater related issues and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with community and government stakeholders. This video focused on the learning from a map of South African rivers that was created by Dr Sukhmani Mantel and that went 'viral' a couple of years ago. With the power of digital technology, maps with a 3D effect can further promote greater understanding of land and water connections. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact Dr Sukhmani Mantel created this video as part of her learning to create digital storytelling videos. This video highlights the use of maps which is talked about in the following article in The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/maps-can-bridge-gaps-between-citizens-scientists-and-policymakers-160374 After learning how to create videos, Dr Mantel then co-facilitated a class with the Rhodes University Community Engagement Unit for the early career researchers from the different African nodes that are funded by the UKRI. The videos created by those ECRs are listed as outputs. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NFsrSr93n8&list=PLVIqMbfShhRpPNH4yUfzjUBbXqIU3Yc4h&index=9
 
Title DST Water allocation sustainability in Rufigi Basin, Tanzania 
Description Dr Augustina Alexander, an ECR from Tanzania node, created this short Digital Storytelling (DST) video as part of the skills development DST class for Early Career Researcher held online in August 2021. The course was facilitated by the Rhodes University's Community Engagement unit. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This product is being used for stakeholder engagements under the Adaptive Systemic Approach (ASA) process that underlies the Research Excellence grant. The aim of the Capacity Building exercise was to transfer skills to the node to use storytelling videos for engagement. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8doCsWetNp8&list=PLVIqMbfShhRpPNH4yUfzjUBbXqIU3Yc4h&index=5
 
Title DST Water quality monitoring using algae as bioindicators in the Akagera River and its wetlands in Rwanda 
Description Mr Alphonse Nzarora, an ECR from the Rwanda node, created this short Digital Storytelling (DST) video as part of the skills development DST class for Early Career Researcher held online in August 2021. The course was facilitated by the Rhodes University's Community Engagement unit. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This product is being used for stakeholder engagements under the Adaptive Systemic Approach (ASA) process that underlies the Research Excellence grant. The aim of the Capacity Building exercise was to transfer skills to the node to use storytelling videos for engagement. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wud8H5plXc&list=PLVIqMbfShhRpPNH4yUfzjUBbXqIU3Yc4h&index=3
 
Description The Capability Grant proposal included capacity-building, exchanges and mentorship and this was envisioned primarily through the development and delivery of a 3-day in-person course by each node. As a result of COVID-19 that put travel to a halt, we conceptualised a shift in the delivery of the Capacity Building project through transferring of in-person courses to online open courseware courses. We worked on this for a few months on a part-time basis, however when funding cuts were announced (with no guarantee of reinstatement of funding in the following year), we had to replan our way forward for both the grants. As indicated in the report last year, the ECRs that were leading the open courseware development were inexperienced in online academic course development and the progress on the courses was very slow. Therefore we had to reorganise our capacity, time and efforts and focus attention on the delivery of the larger Research Excellence grant and streamline the capacity building activities under the Capacity Building grant to support delivery on both projects.

We delivered on various activities related to facilitating and interacting in a social context (Facilitating Social Learning Training of Trainers course), paper writing skills (Writing CoP and Data Management Skills for Research Assistants and Postgraduate Students), creating videos to share our research that address SDGs (Digital Storytelling course for ECRs; videos uploaded on Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4LPOYijM_CsETTKlEF8Kyw), and building a collaborative international network of researchers from Africa and beyond. The CoIs at the node Universities were extremely flexible in generously adapting and looking forward to delivering on the project outputs.

Due to savings from previous years when travel was limited, we reallocated Capacity Building grant funds to Research Excellence Grant to support the research-intensive activities of the larger grant and adapted majority of the capacity building activities using online interaction.

Skills development: The digital storytelling videos were led by early-career researchers.
Exploitation Route The Water CoE has dealt with the difficult situation of COVID, loss of a CoI and funding cuts with constant adaptation to continue the work of building capacity of the spoke Universities to deliver on the Research Excellence grant. We have shifted to Online and Blended events, and there is greater expectation that nodes will step into the role of leading the workshops with the Hub team supporting them through multiple pre-planning meetings and travel by Early Career Researchers (postdocs) from the Hub team.

We have integrated the work conducted under the two grants to ensure maximum capacity building and supported equitable partnerships within nodes and external stakeholders. The restrictions due to COVID-19 and the threat of funding cuts in the short and long term have resulted in the Water CoE working overtime on adjusting our interactions with the CoE members and stakeholders (under the Research Excellence project) while still aiming for the project to have impact in line with our project aims. This has led to the CoE being ambitious and setting a high density of work through interactions and training. For many researchers in the Water CoE network, this has led to some fatigue and frustration.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL https://www.ru.ac.za/iwr/aruacoe/
 
Description In last year's MEL and ResearchFish report, we had indicated continuation of work on to online open courseware courses, which was a shift in the delivery of the project from in-person courses conceptualised in the original proposal. However, due to the cuts in the funding for 2021/22, we had to reorganise our capacity, time and efforts and focus attention on the delivery of the larger Research Excellence grant. The nodes will hopefully continue work on the online courses on their own time. With limited travel possible, we have conducted various activities online for building capacity of the CoE's Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and Research Assistants (RAs), including a course on creating storytelling videos highlighting the Sustainable Development Goals and links to local issues. These collaborative activities are aimed at building a CoP of African Scholars and a Water Research Cohort (a project outcome). The videos were launched during the Third ARUA Biennial Conference and these are being shared with the stakeholders during workshops under the Research Excellence project. We have also placed the videos on the Water CoE YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8fCNAyWNSQ
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Environment
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Title Adaptive Systemic Approach: A novel methodology for driving shifts towards sustainable and equitable water development 
Description The Adaptive Systemic Approach (ASA) is the methodology that underpins the Research Excellence project, which is being applied in six case studies, supported by 3 learning sites. Engaged research facilitates relationship-building among project researchers and stakeholders, who are the beneficiaries. The stakeholders include local residents and communities, non-governmental organisations, civil society, private enterprise, and formal water management institutions at all levels of government. The ASA steps ensure stakeholder benefit: Step 1. As each Case Study is BOUND, the researchers' team and stakeholders decide on the problem scope. This means stakeholders have clear, realistic expectations of project benefits, and reduces the risk of extractive research. Step 2. In the ADAPTIVE PLANNING PROCESS, stakeholders recognise they have a shared future, and collectively build a vision of resolving the selected water problem, and a pathway to reach that desired future. Thus, benefits of addressing the problem in a clear agreed manner, using research expertise, are formally agreed. Indicators of progress are agreed, embedding accountability. Step 3 involves concurrent processes: 3.1 The RESEARCH activities that will provide findings to address the problem. 3.2 PARTICPATORY GOVERNANCE DEVELOPMENT is the focused process of linking local people facing the problem, with the people mandated to manage the problem. 3.3 STRATEGIC ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT is an essential tool for stakeholders, because the context of complex problems changes through time, and there are multiple causal loops. This tool provides a mechanism for responsively moving towards the agreed desired future. Step 4. In PARTICIPATORY MONITORING AND EVALUATION FOR REFLEXIVE LEARNING, both researchers and stakeholders monitor the indicators selected in Step 2. At each project engagement, participants reflect on and learn from progress in terms of these indicators. When local people "own" the process of positive change the chances are local people will continue to collaborate accountably after the project. The ASA methodology has been adapted during the current Research Excellence grant due to issues related to COVID-19. This is one of the strengths of this methodology. 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The ASA methodology is in the process of review and should be published in a peer-reviewed journal in the upcoming year. All the project activities and outputs listed in the different tabs of ResearchFish and the MEL report are all related to the application of the ASA methodology. The Theory of Change in the MEL report of March 2022 provides an overview of the impacts. The following five project outputs are the focus of implementation of the Theory of Change through research, workshops and value creation activities: 1. Bound reports for each CS identifying the local land and water management issue to address and the key stakeholders involved 2. Adaptive Planning Process (APP) reflection / outcomes report for each CS 3. Policy briefs and academic publications 4. Participatory governance capacity development and SAM objectives hierarchy for each CS 5. A Value Creation report on co-learning outcomes. So far, the project has delivered on Outputs 1 (complete) with partial delivery on Outputs 2, 3, 4 and 5. 
 
Title Value Creation questionnaire for evaluating benefits from ASA workshops 
Description Output #5 reported in the MEL report for the Research Excellence project (March 2022) is a Value Creation report on co-learning outcomes. Dr Matthew Weaver of the Hub team is leading evaluative research with and of the RESBEN project. The research he is leading is entitled: "Exploring the impact of learning catalysed from participation in the Resilient Benefits Project: A value creation approach". This project output aims to explore the value catalysed for coordinators, facilitators, participants and stakeholders from their participation in the Project. We understand value as individual and collective experiential, potential, application, impact, enabling, transformative and strategic benefits gained by participants through their engagement in the Project. The method for gathering the input is based on the Value Creation Framework created by Wenger, Trayner and others. The purpose of the Value Creation reflection forms that are administered after each workshop is to gather information on how the participants (all stakeholders) benefitted from attending the workshop. The form also provides the project team with feedback to help improve how we run similar workshops in the future. The identity of the individual remains anonymous in any publication and reporting of contributions. 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact To date, a total of approximately 200 value creation survey reflections have been collected from project engagements. Currently, the research team is in the process of conducting additional key informant interviews and concurrent data analysis, and a draft manuscript is in the process. Data analysis is also in process in terms of value creation theory. The following paper is in preparation: Weaver MJT, Henriksson R, Nxumalo N and Palmer CG (in prep) Exploring the impact of learning catalysed from participation in the Resilient Benefits Project: A value creation approach. 
 
Description CoE - Cardiff University 
Organisation Cardiff University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Prof. Tally Palmer has agreed to be on the panel for two upcoming international Webinars being orgniased by Dr Adrian Healy. These are titled: • A discussion of novel methodologies for remote research and collaborative research where partners are distanced from each other and what this means for equitable partnerships (April 2021) • A discussion event to discuss the future of the resilience agenda in debates around the GCRF and UKRI (to which we'll invite the UKRI Resilience challenge leads) (July 2021)
Collaborator Contribution Dr Adrian Healy is an economic geographer, and a distinguished researcher from Cardiff University with interest in political economy of urban water, and the more specific context of household resilience in the face of uncertain, inadequate and/or absent service provision of safe potable water. Cardiff is a member of the research-strong Russell Group of UK universities. Dr Healy has connected with the ARUA Water CoE to explore the possibilities of collaboration. He has accepted a place on the ARUA Water CoE Board. He is also organising various webinars in which Water CoE members and also the ECRs will be involved in a future symposium possibly in November 2021`.
Impact Dr Healy has accepted a place on the ARUA Water CoE Board. We met with him online in December 2021.
Start Year 2020
 
Description CoE - UK N8 Universities 
Organisation N8 Universities
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Water CoE has engaged actively with UK N8 University Research Managers and researcher in Ghana, Kampala and Nairobi from 2017. As a result, 20 delegates travelled to Sheffield University for a collaborative N8-ARUA Water CoE Research Workshop, 14 October 2018. We shared research profiles and areas of common interest and the N8 subsequently agreed to make funding available for N8 researchers to collaborate with Water CoE capacity development and research. As a result, four UK researchers participated in the first Capacity Building grant training / core course. Since late 2021, we have been in discussion with Dr Claire Walsh about a Virtual Seminar Series which will be started in April 2022. The first event will include a presentation by the Water CoE Co-Director, Dr Jane Tanner.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Claire Walsh, from Newcastle University invited Prof Tally Palmer to present a Plenary Paper at the Newcastle University H7O Global Water Security Symposium 23-24 January 2020. Second, Dr Anna Brown who is an International Research Development Manager at Durham University, met Prof Tally Palmer through the UK N8 University meetings. Dr Walsh recently informed us about the Newcastle Centre for Water which has recently been recognised as a University Centre of Research Excellence. This Centre will span across all our faculties and will build upon 70 years of research strength and impact in water research. The launch of the Centre will be on 25th April and it will be attended by both Dr Tanner and Dr Mantel.
Impact Dr Claire Walsh, from Newcastle University, invited Prof Tally Palmer to present a Plenary Paper at the Newcastle University H7O Global Water Security Symposium 23-24 January 2020. The paper was entitled: A learning journey of research, policy and practice, the pathway to the Adaptive Systemic Approach. On 22 January 2020, Dr Walsh convened and chaired the first N8-Water CoE colloquium: Developmental research as a catalyst of change towards social-ecological justice. There were 14 delegates present, and 14 participants from five nodes engaged virtually. After a discussion of the ethical implications of developmental research, participants were groups into 3 separate virtual discussions for an hour to pursue a discussion of research interests, before returning to plenary. We have agreed such Colloquia will become a regular feature of N8 Water CoE collaboration. Dr Claire Walsh has invited Dr Jane Tanner to be the first presenter of the Virtual Seminar Series starting in April 2022.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Makerere University - University of Liverpool collaboration 
Organisation University of Liverpool
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Makerere University (Prof Noble Banadda) Collecting water samples for Mass Spectrophotometry profiling
Collaborator Contribution Partner is developing a portable mass spectrophotometer
Impact Draft manuscript submitted. Multi-disciplinary collaboration including electrical engineering; chemical engineering; agricultural and biosystems engineering
Start Year 2019
 
Description UCAD - Development Research Institute 
Organisation Institute of Development Research (IRD)
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Module development for open courseware to be offered by UCAD as one of the outputs of the Capacity Building grant. The UCAD research team developed the overall course map for the course
Collaborator Contribution IRD partner is contributing to the contents of the basic hydrology course
Impact Hydrology, Ecohydrology
Start Year 2020
 
Description UCT - Building policy tools for water- and waste-based urban soil remediation 
Organisation Coventry University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution UCT - The treatment of contaminated water and risk analysis water reuse - determination of the impact and risk on soil and human health, and benefit to community.
Collaborator Contribution UCT - Field scale analysis of water treatment and soils, and the assessment of risk.
Impact Currently developing a paper and reports for completion. Partnership with industry - with practitioners in soil / compost / waste management Multidisciplinary: soil, environmental, social and economic scientists and practitioners
Start Year 2021
 
Description UCT - Building policy tools for water- and waste-based urban soil remediation 
Organisation Shared Assets
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution UCT - The treatment of contaminated water and risk analysis water reuse - determination of the impact and risk on soil and human health, and benefit to community.
Collaborator Contribution UCT - Field scale analysis of water treatment and soils, and the assessment of risk.
Impact Currently developing a paper and reports for completion. Partnership with industry - with practitioners in soil / compost / waste management Multidisciplinary: soil, environmental, social and economic scientists and practitioners
Start Year 2021
 
Description UCT - Building policy tools for water- and waste-based urban soil remediation 
Organisation University of Ghent
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution UCT - The treatment of contaminated water and risk analysis water reuse - determination of the impact and risk on soil and human health, and benefit to community.
Collaborator Contribution UCT - Field scale analysis of water treatment and soils, and the assessment of risk.
Impact Currently developing a paper and reports for completion. Partnership with industry - with practitioners in soil / compost / waste management Multidisciplinary: soil, environmental, social and economic scientists and practitioners
Start Year 2021
 
Description ARUA Water CoE Workshop at the 3rd ARUA Biennial Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The ARUA Water CoE hosted a workshop at the third ARUA Biennial conference, a virtual event held on the 19th of November 2021. The theme was 'Digital Storytelling of African Water Challenges' linked to human health and well-being and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Digital Storytelling (DST) is an approach to the ancient art of storytelling that uses modern technologies to create short stories comprising different elements of multimedia - photo, video, and audio. DST has multiple uses within the research environment, such as collecting stories, data, monitoring and evaluation, reflection and learning.

The goal of the CoE workshop was to showcase how digital storytelling can enhance science communication with civil society in relation to the work Early Career Researchers (ECRs) of the Water CoE are conducting under the ARUA-UKRI Grants.

The workshop was attended by 34 people including representatives from our Water CoE African Nodes and other international guests (see Figure xx below). The main successes and outcomes of the workshop included:

a. Showcasing our work as Water CoE on an international front to generate awareness and foster potential future collaborations. During the workshop there was an expression of interest of collaboration on research work between two of the African Nodes?
b. Showcasing how our work as an ARUA Water CoE links to the SDGs, contributing particularly to SDG6 - improved and equitable water supply.
c. Demonstrating the use of digital storytelling as an innovative and accessible tool to generate awareness around local water challenges and to communicate scientific research findings to civil society and local water managers.
d. A rich discussion was generated around how digital storytelling could be used in future work of the Water CoE to forefront the voices of local communities usually marginalised in local water management decision making. In particular, each Node ECR was given advice on how they could improve the use of digital storytelling in this regard from other more experienced practitioners in the water sector.

In conclusion, the Water CoE workshop generated excitement and presented an opportunity for our partners to further explore the use of the tool in their water related work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://arua.org.za/arua-2021-biennial-international-conference/
 
Description Cardiff U: Research at a distance: novel approaches and equitable partnership workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research at a Distance: Changing Approaches and Equitable Partnerships workshop was hosted by Dr Adrian Healy, UKRI Future Leader Fellow, Cardiff University on 12 April 2021. The workshop was 2 hours and 30 min long and comprised a formal working group with a number of experts such as academics, NGOs and research practitioners from different countries who are part of the collaborating partners of Cardiff University UK. Members of the Water CoE including Prof Ezechiel Longe, Ms Sandra Mutesi, Ms Rokhaya Diop, Prof Zerihun Woldu, Dr James Akanmu, Dr Sukhmani Mantel and Dr Bukho Gusha were among more than 30 people who attended this workshop.

The workshop was organised as an interactive event, with breakout rooms for facilitating outcomes of the workshop that highlighted some of the good practices identified, the opportunities presented by different methodologies and pitfalls to be avoided. During the workshop it was clear that researchers are facing a lot of challenges in conducting research due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is especially so for researchers that are required to collect qualitative data as 'lockdown' regulations have restricted the opportunities for face-to-face contact. As a result, it was mentioned that this has led to researchers exploring alternative methodologies that do not require the physical presence of the researcher. This is occurring at both the local scale and more globally, as international collaborations are moved online and undertaken at a distance. These novel approaches offer both opportunities for new working relationships, but they may also present challenges. The workshop was divided into 2 parts to unpack and identify new methodologies while conducting ethical and equitable research.

Rob Meckin spoke about adaptations in research approaches in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. In his presentation, he mainly focused on undertaking social research during Covid-19 times where social and physical restrictions are the major restrictions and requires change in the methodologies and practices in order to keep going. However these changes need more funding support. This presentation was followed by facilitated breakout room discussions using a method of Research Rivers which was an opportunity for participants to share their experiences of undertaking, or developing, approaches to research at a distance. The breakout rooms ended up discussing way forward and how to carry on during Covid-19 times. Some participants highlighted that the situation also presents opportunities such as using online technology, using champions within groups to facilitate research, create resources for participants and connect more people since not travelling.

Prof Tally Palmer gave a presentation on 'Ethical and Equitable Research Partnerships in a Covid-19 era'. She started her talk by introducing the ARUA Water CoE, its founding principles and its partners. Some of the principles she mentioned are to protect the most vulnerable (push the system) and what type of seeds of innovation can explode out of it, and how to shift landscapes to make them less about self-interest. She noted how the CoE has been affected by the UK funding cuts and mentioned that the situation has shown that sometimes principles are more useful than rules. She also mentioned the radical learning experience of allowing the nodes to lead the research in the spirit of the original proposal.

Her presentation was followed by panelists who spoke about framing the issues and their perspectives. The panelists were Sana Contractor (chsj), Artwell Kadungure (Training and Research Support Centre, TARSC) and Sabrina Rasheed (iccdr'b). During the discussions, it emerged that a challenge still exists on who gets to the field to collect data during this time of Covid-19 and who benefits from the data. Therefore, discussions were seeking to explore potentially new methodological approaches in the framework of decolonising research and the need for an ethical and full transition towards meaningful equitable partnerships with 'local' and national researchers. One of the positive takeaways was that grassroot communities have shown resilience, flexibility and creativity through this time, and there is opportunity to collaborate and shift research approaches.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.ru.ac.za/iwr/latestnews/researchatadistancenovelapproachesandequitablepartnershipworksho...
 
Description Cardiff U: Virtual event on "AU-EU-UK collaborations: emerging opportunities and prior learning for water and resilience research" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof. Tally Palmer, from Rhodes University, Institute for Water Research (IWR) and the Director of the ARUA Water Centre of Excellence (CoE), was involved as a contributor in an event that shared emerging lessons on themes of resilience, water security and multinational interdisciplinary research partnerships in the context of UK and EU funding programmes on 6th July. The event was organized by Dr Adrian Healy, a Future Leaders Fellow at Cardiff University. The event included presentations from existing projects in order to learn from previous programmes promoting resilience under UK funding. With a focus on practical examples of AU-EU-UK collaborations the event shared knowledge of past activities, future potentials and the opportunities emerging from national and European Union funding programmes. The event raised awareness and built prospective research communities.

The programme included presentations from representatives of European Commission and Welsh Government and on-going collaborations under Horizon 2020. Fadila Boughanemi (European Commission) introduced the Horizon Europe programme and highlighted the opportunities for cooperation with partners in Africa. Calum White (Welsh Government) introduced the new International Learning Exchange (ILE) that has been launched by Welsh Government. Amongst other things this can support the development of new collaborations through staff mobility (including the development of projects with international partners and strategic partnerships).

Mark Pelling (Kings College London), Tally Palmer (Rhodes University) and Esther Diez Cebollero (Water JPI) provided insights based on their own experience. Tally Palmer highlighted how research funding tends to be relatively short-term (3 years or less) and asked whether a different approach is needed to help develop sustainable impacts. Building relationships and working collaboratively takes time. Mark Pelling outlined some key principles for collaborative working that have emerged from the experience of Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) funded projects in the construction of co-production and interdisciplinarity, namely: communication, sharing values and language; being problem-focused and focus-led (helps to organise multiple view points and to avoid assumptions about role/contribution); be flexible and be prepared to fail and learn (and know when to change direction) - how do we build monitoring and evaluation systems so that we know when to change direction and perhaps partner in ways that are not destructive; ownership of incentives and framing of incentives (recognise value of publications as an incentive don't dismiss them); relationships take time, understanding and empathy (and we must think differently about remote working).

Mark and Tally both also highlighted the moral and ethical elements to sustaining partnerships and relationships, as the GCRF cuts have brought to the fore. We should also not overlook the significance of transdisciplinarity (respecting different knowledges) - the opportunity to engage in participatory actions involving a range of actors (boundary spanning). Who has the skillset to connect and combine the networks of knowledge that are needed to shift problems? A common theme was the importance of spending time to build shared expectations of the roles everyone has, to ensure equity and to lay the foundations for open and transparent working practices (including open (and devolved) budgets). A valuable approach is to not assume that English will be the default language (with translation to English).

Looking to the future, there is likely to be a push for a global shift towards adaptation approaches in response to climate change. Speakers noted their expectation that this will promote research agendas (and funding) and include connections to social and economic justice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Lancaster U: Social Science and power 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The main purpose of the Social Science Methods group is to build capacity on qualitative methods and theories of power. The group is led by the Lancaster U postdoc supported by the Research Excellence grant, Dr Ana Porroche-Escudero.

http://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/people/ana-porrocheescudero(ed61266f-042e-46e0-9b2c-7e6ebf6a3f00).html

The group has been meeting periodically since July 2021. The plans to collect social science data on power in relation to water governance in the different nodes is progressing well. Challenges: (1) he overarching theme is power and water governance. However each node is taking a slightly different angle to investigate power (e.g. in relation to pollution or participation in water governance). (2) The Research Assistants have different skills and confidence conducting qualitative research means that we had to design an accelerated workshop on methods (SOLUTION); (3) Poor internet connection has been a real problem to engage and ease communication. SOLUTION: whatsapp groups, individual meetings and phone calls, etc
"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Makerere U, Uganda Presentation: The fate of personal care products in water systems in Kampala, Uganda 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 18 graduate students attended which led to a greater discussion on water quality management and how we can contribute to the water week conference run by the Ministry of Water and Environment
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://gorilla.mak.ac.ug/call-abstracts
 
Description Rwanda U: Training workshop on sampling and identification of algae as biological indicators of water quality 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 5 postgraduate students attended the training on sampling and identification of algae. The main purpose was to equip participants with skills and knowledge to integrate biological indicators in water quality assessment. The location was around Akagera river, Rwanda.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Rwanda's wetlands conservation: A webinar organized in line with the celebration of the World Wetland Day 2022 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February. Its aim is to raise the global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and the planet. This day also marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands signed on 2 February 1971 in Ramsar city, Iran. In this regard, the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management (CoEB), based in the College of Science and Technology, University of Rwanda hosted a webinar to discuss the current status of wetlands conservation in Rwanda, and to explore the challenges and opportunities.

The webinar was organized on 2 February 2022, where six speakers from three institutions participated. These were Mr. Alphonse Nzarora (Research Assistant for the UKRI-funded ARUA Water CoE project titled 'Unlocking Resilient Benefits form African Water Resources' [RESBEN] https://www.ru.ac.za/iwr/aruacoe/ and Assistant Lecturer at the University of Rwanda), Professor Elias Bizuru (Research Associate of the CoEB and lecturer at the University of Rwanda),Mr. Jean Ferus Niyomwungeri (Community Conservation Programme Manager at Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association), Dr. Deo Ruhagazi (Senior Programme Manager and Veterinarian at Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association), Mrs Christelle Suavis Iradukunda (Bugesera Landscape Manager at Albertine Rift Conservation Society, ARCOS) and Mrs Brigitte Kanyamugenge (Head of Community Development Programme at ARCOS). The webinar was attended by 104 participants and took place on google meet. Participants came from different disciplines across the planet.

Alphonse Nzarora in his presentation stressed the importance of using biological indicators in water quality monitoring. He specified that one of the benefits of the use of bioindicators is their ability to indicate some of the indirect effects of pollutants that cannot be indicated by physical and chemical measurements. He also added that biological assessment of water quality is comparatively cost-efficient and requires basic equipment compared to the use of physicochemical properties. He concluded that biological indicators could be an answer where financial limitations are an issue for monitoring water quality.

Elias Bizuru presented about the sustainable use of wetlands in Rwanda. He highlighted different ecosystem services provided by wetlands and mentioned some of the opportunities and challenges faced by wetland conservation in Rwanda. The opportunities include the availability of water for irrigation and the rich biodiversity while challenges include invasive species and pollution from inorganic pollutants from agriculture.

Christelle Iradukunda and Mr. Brigitte Kanyamugenge presented about the efforts made by ARCOS to restore the Amasangano wetland located in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. The Amasangano wetland is located at the confluence between Akanyaru and Nyabarongo Rivers. This wetland was recently impacted by unsustainable agriculture, invasive species, unsustainable fishing, and quarries for clay extraction. Additional challenges in the area include droughts and floods while opportunities include tourism activities.

Jean Ferus Niyomwungeri and Mr. Deo Ruhagazi shared a pre-recorded video about the work of RWCA to protect wetlands that are home to endangered grey crowned cranes. According to the video shared during the webinar, RWCA has restored Umusambi village, a privately owned touristic wetland located at Kabuga, in Kigali city. The restored wetland is now home to cranes. Further, the video revealed an almost doubling in the number of cranes in Rwanda from 487 in 2017 to 997 in 2021.

In the open discussion, Dr. Deo Ruhagazi mentioned that wetlands in Rwanda are divided into three classes. He said that some wetlands are fully protected, others are conditionally used while others are unconditionally used. Fully protected wetlands are only for conservation and no activity should take place there except conservation activity. Wetlands which are used conditionally can be used for limited activities such as organic agriculture while wetlands which are used unconditionally can be used for any activity according to preferences of the owner.

Conclusion: This webinar was an opportunity to share experience among different researchers working in different organizations and those who have a stake in wetland conservation. All discussions were intended to guide future research and restoration activities. The webinar stressed the importance of checking the class of the wetland, whether it is to be used conditionally or unconditionally or if it is fully protected before any intervention. The other recommendation is to look back at the wetland's history and check the original status of the wetland. This information will then guide restoration activities especially when choosing which plants need to be planted in a given wetland. The other importance of this information is to be able to set realistic targets when planning restoration interventions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ54yLtHg1I
 
Description Water CoE Hub team: TWENTY65 conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Following is the workshop presentation description: High quality public and community involvement and engagement (PCIE) can make a real difference to research, policy and practice. Yet, while PCIE is becoming an important framework guiding many disciplines, funding bodies and studies, discussions across the water sector (WS) lack a sufficient focus on this. The net result is often inadequate, ineffective and inefficient outcomes that impact the environment, the economy, public health and society. For the ARUA Water Centre of Excellence and UK partners, PCIE matters. The workshop introduced the Adaptative Systemic Approach (ASA) framework. The ASA is the result of a decadal iterative-collaborative learning process between members of the public, universities, and a wide range of agencies and practitioners across Africa. The ASA framework recognises that, along with transdisciplinarity, a focus on PCIE is the golden thread that must run through all the stages of the research. Using the ASA four-step methodology, the workshop gave real examples of constructive ways to engage with PCIE in applied research regarding water use inequity and contestation. The workshop format combined expert-led discussion with participant reflections and breakout rooms.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://twenty65.ac.uk/