ISGEAG project kick-off


Kenneth (Amref) and Stefan (Acacia Water) receive a VIA Water certificate

The “Improving Sustainable Groundwater Exploration with Amended Geophysics” (ISGEAG) project has successfully kicked off over the past months. On the 2nd December the project partners Acacia Water, SamSam Water, Amref Health Africa and KenGen, came together in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss the planning for the coming months as well as preparations for the first field experiments. In spite of some logistical issues (such as: getting WalkTEM geophysical instrument from Europe to Kenya, little response or cooperation from local authorities at some of the locations), the project team has managed to come to some important planning agreements:

• 1st two week field experiment: envisaged for early 2017 (February or April) in Kajiado, which will be linked closely to VIA Water’s Sponge City project;
• 2nd two week field experiment: envisaged for June 2017 in Kwale County (South of Mombasa);
• 3rd two week field experiment: envisaged for October/November 2017 in Kakuma, Turkana County
• KenGen will provide most of the required geophysical equipment during the field experiments;
• ABEM, manufacturer of geophysical instruments, in Sweden will provide a WalkTEM during the project for research purposes;

Besides, representatives of the project team had a meeting with the CEO of Kenya’s Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) on Wednesday 14th of December. The CEO recognized the importance of the research and capacity building component of ISGEAG and pledged his support for the project. He would also introduce and link the ISGEAG project with regional and county officials to get their cooperation.

At the end of November representatives of Acacia Water and Amref Health Africa also joined VIA Water’s Sharing Skills Seminar just outside Nairobi. During the seminar there was a focus on project management, intercultural dimensions, and leadership skills needed for successful project implementation. The seminar trainings were highly interactive in order to learn from each other’s experiences, skills and invited to discuss the challenges being faced.

Stefan de Wildt, from Acacia Water and project leader of ISGEAG, encountered many similarities with other VIA Water projects: “Discussions with other project owners confirmed my image that the challenges we face at Acacia Water are shared globally. Whether it concerns smartphone based water meters or reuse of fecal sludge, for effective solutions (water) systems thinking is crucial and the key to success.”

The seminar was closed by one minute elevator pitches by all 30 project leaders to high-level representatives active in the Kenyan WASH sector. “Our ISGEAG project attracted much attention” says Stefan. “To increase the success rate of borehole drilling they see research into new geophysical methods for interpretation and exploration as important and crucial part of groundwater exploration. From the conversations I had expressed a clear need for that. A need that ISGEAG with this research can fulfill.”