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.

BRAVE Presents at MOLE XXVIII Conference, Accra, Ghana

Shani Haruna

The BRAVE project participated in the MOLE Conference, held at the Accra International Conference Centre in Ghana, October 2-6.  It was the 28th conference of the MOLE series of conferences. The theme of the conference was “Ghana’s Lower Middle-Income Status: Implications for Sustainable WASH Services Delivery”.  An annual event organised by the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), it brings together participants from Ghana, West Africa and abroad to deliberate on issues affecting the water sector in Ghana. Participants come from different backgrounds including NGOs, CSOs, ministries, government agencies and academia.
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BRAVE Presented at Fifth iLEAPS Science Conference, Oxford, September 11-14

BRAVE was featured in a presentation by Dr Peter Cook at the Fifth Annual iLEAPS (Integrated Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Processes Study Conference.  iLEAPS is a global research project of Future Earth.  This year’s theme, “Understanding the impact of land-atmosphere exchanges,” organised by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology of the National Environment Research Council.

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Reflections on the Joint IAPSO-IAMAS-IAGA Assembly, Experiences in Cape Town

-Dr Peter Cook*

During the week of 28th August and 1st September 2017 I attended “Good Hope for Earth Sciences”, the Joint IAPSO-IAMAS-IAGA Assembly, in Cape Town IAPSO-IAMAS-IAGA- International Associations for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans, of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, and of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy). There was a large contingent from the University of Reading and also many researchers from Oxford University, the University of East Anglia and the British Antarctic Survey.

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