African Climate Risks Conference 2019

Africa is vulnerable to natural variations in climate and human-induced climate change. Climate projections for Africa show that the continent may be the second hardest hit by climate change impacts, immediately following polar zones (IPCC, 2007). Climate change impacts are already constraining economic development.

The African Climate Risks Conference (ACRC2019) is therefore an open platform for sharing latest climate research on African climate among researchers, and with policy makers, practitioners and development partners, with the goal to ensure the improved flow of knowledge and interactions among researchers, practitioners and decision-makers; toward greater impact and legacy of completed and on-going African climate research initiatives. The Conference will offer a prime opportunity to promote the uptake of new data, tools and knowledge; brokering new research collaborations and more targeted donor support. It will also stimulate increased contribution of African experts to, and improve coverage of Africa, in the IPCC assessment reports; and bring together development partners to deliberate on how to improve programming to support African-led climate research and service priorities. The theme of the conference is:

Dismantling barriers to urgent climate change adaptation actions.

Please check out their website here for more information and abstract submission

UPGro at Africa Water Week 2018!

Water experts, policy makers, government representatives, UN agencies, donors and nongovernmental organisations kicked off the celebration of the seventh edition of the Africa Water Week in Libreville city of Gabon on 29th October 2018, calling on African governments to reflect on achievements made so far towards availing clean water and sanitation services to all.

The one week long event is convened by the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) in collaboration with UPGro, USAID, AfDB, The Global Water Partnership (GWP) and the International Water Management Institute.

Following Africa Water Week, we are really pleased that groundwater has been explicitly mentioned in AMCOW’s statement:

“…Responding to the need to revitalize AMCOW’s stewardship of a strategic pan-African Groundwater Initiative in partnership with Africa’s active groundwater networks… We, the stakeholders and participants of the 7th Africa Water week resolve to undertake the following actions… vi. urge AMCOW to set up an African Groundwater knowledge sharing and policy coordination desk at AMCOW Secretariat for the promotion of increased understanding and use of groundwater resources in addressing water security in Africa…”

This is a scaled-back alternative to the Africa Groundwater Commission, which has failed to get off the ground during the last 10 years or so. However, many of the key networks involved in groundwater in Africa, including the AMCOW Secretariat, showed support for this initiative as an interim measure that can hopefully demonstrate benefit over the next 2-3 years.

The UPGro sessions at AWW, along with sessions convened by BGR and UNESCO, ensured that groundwater had an extremely high profile at the event. This was a huge achievement that was only possible due to significant efforts from many people.

Organisations and governments seek to invigorate a pan-African groundwater initiative

AMCOW convened a daylong workshop alongside the 2018 Africa Water Week (AWW) in Libreville, Gabon for representatives from different networks, organisations, governments, UN, and the donor community to deliberate on invigoration of a strategic pan-African groundwater initiative.

More than 10 organisations and groundwater networks from across Africa have resolved to work closely with the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) to invigorate a pan-African groundwater programme over the medium-term to demonstrate the benefits of a politically-connected pan-African approach.

To find out more about the AMCOW side event, read the full article by Isaiah Esipisu here!

Going underground at the Africa Water Week

Groundwater is one of the most important sources for drinking water, livestock water and irrigation in Africa, representing 15% of the continent’s renewable water resources, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

However, its hidden presence under the ground has left it largely under-valued and under-utilised both for social and economic gain. But even worse, scientists have confessed that very little studies have so far been done to unlock the potential of this scarce resource.

Therefore, to further this understanding, UpGro in collaboration with the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) convened a daylong session at the 2018 Africa Water Week in Libreville, Gabon, to discuss issues related to groundwater in Africa.

Check out all the information on this session here!

UPGro representatives also interviewed two key people at Africa Water Week:

Dr Tindimugaya is an UPGro Ambassador and a Commissioner for Water Resources in the Ministry of Water & Environment Uganda

Prof. Diene of Cheikh Anta Diop University, Chair of the Africa Groundwater Network and UPGro Ambassador


Original Source Posts: UPGro, Isaiah Esipisu:/
Organisations and governments seek to invigorate a pan-African groundwater initiative
Going underground at the Africa Water Week

2018 Ineson Lecture – Hydrochemistry and Human Health

2018 Ineson Lecture

This year’s Ineson lecture, organised by the IAH British Chapter and Hydrogeological Group of the Geological Society of London, will be given by UPGro Catalyst PI Pauline Smedley. This is a full day event, taking place at Burlington House on Thursday 29th November. Further details can be found here!

Dr Smedley is a principal hydrogeochemist at the British Geological Survey and leader of the BGS Groundwater Protection and Risk team. Dr Smedley will be supported by leading UK speakers on the theme of hydrochemistry and human health. The meeting will also include presentations for the John Day Bursary, the Whittaker Medal and IAH 2018 Applied Hydrogeology Award

Please note: the final day for registration is 21st November 2018

UPGro Consortium Publishes Three New Papers!

There have been three new papers published by members of our UPGro Consortium! These are all definitely worth a read so check them out!


Please take a look at these great new posters released by UPGro.

Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor is a seven year international research programme funded by DfID, NERC and ESRC. UPGro’s knowledge broker team recently released four brand new posters on groundwater and boreholes in Africa to raise awareness of African groundwater issues among a wide audience of decision-makers and practitioners to start conversations that lead to interest and uptake of UPGro research.

These informative and vibrant posters are free for download and available in English & French, please use the following links and share them within your own networks:

– Making boreholes to last / La realisation de forages de longue durée
– Keeping boreholes working / Le maintien du bon fonctionnement des forages
– Groundwater in Africa / L’eau souterraine en Afrique
– Groundwater in African cities / L’eau souterraine dans les villes Africaines


The BRAVE Policy Roundtables and Synthesis Day were held in Accra, Ghana on the 14th May – 16th May and brought together government ministers, journalists, researchers and civil society to tackle one crucial and important question.

How can we unlock the potential of groundwater for the poor?


The policy roundtables provided an opportunity for dialogue and conversation on best practice for groundwater management and adoption and how to support decisions being made around the adaptation of groundwater. While the synthesis day was an opportunity to consolidate ideas, cement actions on the advocacy plan and agree on specific outcomes for each organisation represented.

The BRAVE policy roundtables and synthesis day were organised by the Walker Institute with support from British Geological Survey and Water Research Institute.

Professor Ros Cornforth opened the policy roundtable, emphasising that the BRAVE project is not a top-down project, instead, it seeks to ensure that local people are at the forefront of change and improvement, that communities are empowered to make informed decisions about how to use water resources  and the next generation of researchers are educated and equipped.

Professor Ros Cornforth challenged the attendees to think about their work and scope of influence and what changes they hope to see in respect to groundwater in Ghana by 2030 and what do they think needs to be put in place to ensure that change happens. Asking participants to consider their role in unlocking the potential of groundwater for the poor ensured that a more focused and dynamic conversation was had about both the physical and financial capacity of organisations, the need to work collaboratively as opposed to in silos and importance of knowledge and information sharing and management.


Martin Dery from the Coalition of NGOs in the Water and Sanitation Sector (CONIWAS) stated that “advocacy is needed to bring the argument for groundwater to the table of decision makers” and moving forward there is to be an advocacy action plan put in place which will consolidate the ideas and key points which were discussed at the roundtables and can then be presented to decision makers in Ghana to encourage them to improve policy on groundwater use.

Farmer field listening groups are set up in Jawani and Tariganga

In February, the Lorna Young Foundation, CARE International, Ura Radio presenters from Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and the BRAVE team travelled to Jawani in East Mamprusi district and Tariganga in Garu Tempane to meet with the local Village Savings and Loans associations (VSLs) groups and to record the first programmes from the farmer field listening groups. They were joined there by project partners from Burkina Faso, Radio la Voix du Singue, Reseau MARP and the women leaders of the UGF.

The listening groups will help to develop radio outreach information for communities from drought-affected areas on four key issues:

  1. Improve Sustainable Land Management
  2. Improve Water Harvesting and conservation of resources
  3. Improve health and nutrition
  4. Improve yields and crop production

In Jawani, the group which is composed of 14 members (11 women and 3 men) has called its radio programmes “Pukpar’ ni Kom” in Mampruli ‘Farmer and Water’.

In Tariganga, the group has 10 members (4 women and 6 men) and every week they will meet to discuss what they have learnt and to compile the questions which they want to ask.

Every month, the farmer field listening groups will be meeting with radio presenters and local agricultural extension staff from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and specialists from  CARE International’s Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) to select the 5-6 key subjects developed in line with a seasonal and agricultural calendar. The subjects will be selected based on their relevance and on high-risk issues which communities feel need to be addressed in the coming month. The aim is to help the local communities prepare for the challenges related to climate and water in the coming months. Once a week, the group leaders will collect key learnings from the group and send any questions to the radio presenters, so that MoFA extension staff can provide timely support to the communities and help them to prepare for extreme weather shocks and potential emergencies in a timely manner.

For the month of March, the farmer field listening groups selected their programmes based on the seasonal calendar on key themes of water harvesting, livestock health, storage of foods and prevention of illness. The programmes that were recorded addressed issues that are faced by the community in their respective areas.

In Jawani, where charcoal production is rife and deforestation is a major issue, the radio group sung a song about deforestation and protecting the trees, their radio shows for March focused on land preparation (avoiding burning, ploughing techniques, proper use of agrochemicals, mulching and encouraging planting of shade trees to provide crop cover).

In Tariganga, the community asked about techniques for building water harvesting facilities, and to prevent contamination of rainwater and harvested water. A community water specialist Nicholas Fielmua, from the University for Development Studies from Wa provided advice on the selection of materials, cleaning of recipients and treatment of water.

Both communities chose focused on similar themes around water collection and livestock health ahead of the rain seasons which are due to arrive in May. Farmers were supported with expert advice from MoFA agricultural workers, who supervised the interviews to provide radio extension advice on these issues:

  • Construction and maintenance of rainwater harvesting facilities for farming activities and households for washing and vegetable production
  • Type of harvested water that can be used for dry season gardening, domestic and livestock watering
  • Safe use and handling of agrochemicals to prevent water contamination
  • Prevention of illness of livestock (routine vaccinations change when moving from dry to wet seasons and wet to dry seasons)
  • Housing for livestock: floor (dried leaves, sawdust to absorb rain/ urine) non-crowding and proper ventilation of livestock, roofing (local thatching also allows ventilation)
  • Food storage of vegetables for the wet season: the use of Neem leaves to repel insects and avoid infestations of foods. The use of Neem can help keep crops safe for various months during the rainy season.

Meanwhile, Reseau Marp from Burkina Faso was accompanied by the Director of the Radio station La Voix du Singuee, and Elie from the Union des Femmes.

We worked on translating the transcripts on sustainable land management, livelihoods and transferred the methodology. And we were able to put together the first radio show on Shea butter cultivation and production.

Radio frequency for URA FM




Upcoming events for BRAVE and the UpGro Programme

There are a number of events, conferences, and courses which are due to take place over the course of the year all relevant to the BRAVE project and the UPGro programme as a whole.

Below is a non-exhaustive list, should you be interested, do register or sign up.

BRAVE Policy Round Tables – May 16th – May 18th 2018 

This year the BRAVE Policy Round Tables will be held at key stakeholder institutions first in Ghana and then in Burkina Faso.
Please keep the dates 14th May – 16th May 2018 free in your diary as further information is to follow regarding the agenda, the venue, and a separate email will be sent out to invitees.


3rd Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy Week in Ghana

The Agriculture, Nutrition & Health (ANH) Academy will hold its 3rd Annual Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy Week from 25 – 29 June 2018 in Accra, Ghana. We invite the global community of researchers and research users to participate in this event.

The ANH Academy invites the submission of abstracts for the Scientific Conference on research at the nexus of agriculture-food systems and nutrition and health to be held in Accra, Ghana from 25-29 June 2018. The conference programme will include invited papers for oral presentations in various formats as well as poster sessions. We welcome papers from all relevant disciplines.

Deadline: 11 February 2018.


RWSN 2018 – Online Course 

Registration is now open for an online course: Professional Management of Water Well Drilling Projects and Programmes
This course is designed for those with a technical and non-technical background. Participants should have a college diploma or bachelor’s degree qualifications and at preferably at least three years of work experience in water supply service delivery (social or technical aspects), civil engineering, rural development or water/environmental management. For further information and to apply, please follow the link.

Registration closes on the 14th February. 


This year ends on a high for the UPGro programme, which the BRAVE project falls under. Since the programme began, the programme executive board has required that reports are produced for the Department of International Development (DFID). Upon review of these reports, the programme is graded.

This year UPGro was awarded a grade A+, which means that the programme is exceeding its expectations and funders are pleased with the results which it has been producing.

This is good news for the programme as it means that it is meeting its expectations and a good grade could encourage funders to invest more in this field of research.

The BRAVE project and its partners are proud to be a part of the UPGro umbrella and has contributed to the UPGro programme by hosting events, training sessions and supporting local research students.

We hope that the research carried out by the UPGro consortium projects continue to ensure that the hidden wealth of Africa’s aquifers benefits all its citizens.