Africa

Related Content

Article

Interview with Terefe Hanchiso Sodango, Assistant Professor at Wolkite University

Water scarcity and quality decline is a rapidly increasing challenges and becoming a top concern globally. To wisely manage water and achieve sustainable development, rapid and precise monitoring of water resources is crucial. Earth observation (EO) technologies play a key role in monitoring surface and underground water resources by providing rapid, continuous, high-quality, and low-cost EO data, products, and services. Currently, there are promising efforts in the use of EO technologies for water resource management but there are still huge gaps in the Africa region. The reason for the low utilization of EO technologies can be due to a lack of resources and funding including skilled and motivated human resources in the field and the lack of political commitment to foster EO products, data, and services. Therefore, the use of space technologies and their products to solve water-related problems needs collaborative efforts of all concerned stakeholders from global to local levels.

Interview with Egline Tauya, Head of the Environment and Water Institute at SARDC

Egline Tauya has focussed her career on natural resource management, after growing up in a rural area and learning to value such resources from a young age. Her work has been based in Africa and has included the use space technologies to map flood risks and vulnerable areas around the Zambezi and Limpopo River basins. Egline develops Environmental Outlooks as part of her work, which are reports that provide an integrated assessment of the state and trends of key environmental resources, such as freshwater, forest, and wildlife. Egline strongly believes in the integration of indigenous knowledges into water resource management and the crucial, but currently limited use of remote sensing in groundwater monitoring.

Earth observation data cubes for water resources management

Data has become one of the most valuable resources of the 21st century. Indeed, data can be considered the most important input when it comes to make informed decisions. The recent global pandemic crisis highlighted the vital role of data for reporting accurate case numbers and outbreaks, identifying the most vulnerable demographics, and understanding the most effective vaccines, to mention few. Data also plays a key role when it comes to sustainability.

Monitoring hydrological changes from space in a sparse gauged basin

Africa is endowed with abundant freshwater resources. It has sufficient rainfall and relatively low levels of water withdrawals for three major uses: domestic, agricultural and industrial uses. Changes in Africa’s water resources has been noticed transpiring in changes in water flow and variability, falling groundwater levels, changes in rainfall levels and timing, strongly influenced under climate change. The continent has a huge potential for energy production through hydropower.

Space for Communities: Space-based evidence to support community rights to water

Satellite imagery can be used to identify and monitor environmental and social impacts, and help solve human problems around the world. Despite rapid advancements in space-based technologies, not enough people have access to satellite data and all the insights it offers. Satellite imagery provides an objective way of verifying or validating the testimony of communities who are being impacted by social or environmental harms.

Interview with Ruvimbo Samanga

Ruvimbo Samanga, despite her age, has vast experience in the law, space, and water sectors. She is presently involved in a regional study on the integration of GIS and statistical information in Zimbabwe, working towards the promulgation of GIS standards and legislation to support a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). Ruvimbo is excited by the merging of sustainable development for water management with space technologies because it is scalable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective over the long run. Ruvimbo feels strongly that space technologies have a role to play in policy and legal affairs, and also sees potential especially in the use of emerging technologies such as block chain, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.

Interview with Lukas Graf

Lukas Graf used to take clean drinking water for granted. As he grew up, and conversations around climate change and environmental destruction became increasingly intense, he started to become more aware of the importance and scarcity of water resources. Around a similar time, he became increasingly enthusiastic about space, realising that space technologies could be used to explore many of the pressing topics that he was interested in. He has participated in research projects that used remote sensing methods to study the effects of global change on ecosystems and especially on water availability. Lukas is interested in a range of topics from virtual water and water quality to irrigation and agriculture. He believes that interdisciplinary approaches and mutual dialog with societies and stakeholders need to be deepened for sustained resource management.

Interview with Egline Tauya, Head of the Environment and Water Institute at SARDC

Egline Tauya has focussed her career on natural resource management, after growing up in a rural area and learning to value such resources from a young age. Her work has been based in Africa and has included the use space technologies to map flood risks and vulnerable areas around the Zambezi and Limpopo River basins. Egline develops Environmental Outlooks as part of her work, which are reports that provide an integrated assessment of the state and trends of key environmental resources, such as freshwater, forest, and wildlife. Egline strongly believes in the integration of indigenous knowledges into water resource management and the crucial, but currently limited use of remote sensing in groundwater monitoring.

Interview with Terefe Hanchiso Sodango, Assistant Professor at Wolkite University

Water scarcity and quality decline is a rapidly increasing challenges and becoming a top concern globally. To wisely manage water and achieve sustainable development, rapid and precise monitoring of water resources is crucial. Earth observation (EO) technologies play a key role in monitoring surface and underground water resources by providing rapid, continuous, high-quality, and low-cost EO data, products, and services. Currently, there are promising efforts in the use of EO technologies for water resource management but there are still huge gaps in the Africa region. The reason for the low utilization of EO technologies can be due to a lack of resources and funding including skilled and motivated human resources in the field and the lack of political commitment to foster EO products, data, and services. Therefore, the use of space technologies and their products to solve water-related problems needs collaborative efforts of all concerned stakeholders from global to local levels.

Interview with Amin Shakya, PhD Candidate at the University of Twente

We present an interview with Amin Shakya, a PhD candidate at the ITC Faculty of Geo-information science and earth observation at the University of Twente. We delve into Amin’s first engagements with geospatial technologies, his current PhD research on river discharge estimation using earth observation, as well as his prior work on groundwater analysis using space technologies. Further, Amin is engaged with the youth community particularly with the Groundwater Youth Network. We discuss his take on the role of youth in climate change adaptation. Throughout this interview, we touch upon various water challenges across the globe, from disaster risk management in Nepal, to urban water challenges in Mexico, to his current PhD research focused in Europe and in Africa.

Interview with Benjamin Wullobayi Dekongmen

Could you describe how your professional and/or personal experience relate to water? Where does your interest in water resources management come from? What influenced your decision to focus your work on the use of space technology for water management? 

My upbringing on a farm set out the foundation for my interest in water resources, as I used to collect water for domestic and agricultural purposes from the streams.

Interview with Victor Hertel, PhD candidate at the German Aerospace Centre

Victor Hertel is a doctoral researcher specializing in the field of environmental risks and human security. He currently works at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on the development of (physics-informed) deep learning methods in the context of emergency response and disaster preparedness. With an academic background in aerospace engineering, he previously worked with organizations like Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs’ UN-SPIDER program, using geospatial analyses to address environmental and social challenges. His primary area of interest is data-informed decision-making and policy, with a focus on practical and implementation-oriented solutions for humanitarian emergencies caused by climate shocks and conflict.

Interview with Sarhan Zerouali

Sarhan Zerouali became fascinated with water at a young age through learning about water scarcity around the world and about traditional methods for locating groundwater. In a space applications course Sahran then learnt about space-based technologies. He is currently working on a research project on how remote sensing and other technologies can help alleviate global challenges arising from land degradation. As an aerospace engineer, Sahran has worked with various modern technologies in his work including nanosatellites, artificial intelligence, and feature extraction algorithms.

Call for Contributions to the Second Edition of Africa's Voice on Water (AVOW)

Introduction

The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) launched Africa’s Voice on Water (AVOW) magazine in August 2023, during the Stockholm World Water Week.

Target

We welcome contributions from member states, River and Lake Basin Organisations (RLBOs), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the academia, network of development partners, civil societies, private sector and other stakeholders.

Topic Ideas

You can submit items about the following themes:

Interview with Amin Shakya, PhD Candidate at the University of Twente

We present an interview with Amin Shakya, a PhD candidate at the ITC Faculty of Geo-information science and earth observation at the University of Twente. We delve into Amin’s first engagements with geospatial technologies, his current PhD research on river discharge estimation using earth observation, as well as his prior work on groundwater analysis using space technologies. Further, Amin is engaged with the youth community particularly with the Groundwater Youth Network. We discuss his take on the role of youth in climate change adaptation. Throughout this interview, we touch upon various water challenges across the globe, from disaster risk management in Nepal, to urban water challenges in Mexico, to his current PhD research focused in Europe and in Africa.

Interview with Benjamin Wullobayi Dekongmen

Could you describe how your professional and/or personal experience relate to water? Where does your interest in water resources management come from? What influenced your decision to focus your work on the use of space technology for water management? 

My upbringing on a farm set out the foundation for my interest in water resources, as I used to collect water for domestic and agricultural purposes from the streams.

Interview with Victor Hertel, PhD candidate at the German Aerospace Centre

Victor Hertel is a doctoral researcher specializing in the field of environmental risks and human security. He currently works at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on the development of (physics-informed) deep learning methods in the context of emergency response and disaster preparedness. With an academic background in aerospace engineering, he previously worked with organizations like Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs’ UN-SPIDER program, using geospatial analyses to address environmental and social challenges. His primary area of interest is data-informed decision-making and policy, with a focus on practical and implementation-oriented solutions for humanitarian emergencies caused by climate shocks and conflict.

Interview with Sarhan Zerouali

Sarhan Zerouali became fascinated with water at a young age through learning about water scarcity around the world and about traditional methods for locating groundwater. In a space applications course Sahran then learnt about space-based technologies. He is currently working on a research project on how remote sensing and other technologies can help alleviate global challenges arising from land degradation. As an aerospace engineer, Sahran has worked with various modern technologies in his work including nanosatellites, artificial intelligence, and feature extraction algorithms.

Interview with Ruvimbo Samanga

Ruvimbo Samanga, despite her age, has vast experience in the law, space, and water sectors. She is presently involved in a regional study on the integration of GIS and statistical information in Zimbabwe, working towards the promulgation of GIS standards and legislation to support a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). Ruvimbo is excited by the merging of sustainable development for water management with space technologies because it is scalable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective over the long run. Ruvimbo feels strongly that space technologies have a role to play in policy and legal affairs, and also sees potential especially in the use of emerging technologies such as block chain, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.

Interview with Lukas Graf

Lukas Graf used to take clean drinking water for granted. As he grew up, and conversations around climate change and environmental destruction became increasingly intense, he started to become more aware of the importance and scarcity of water resources. Around a similar time, he became increasingly enthusiastic about space, realising that space technologies could be used to explore many of the pressing topics that he was interested in. He has participated in research projects that used remote sensing methods to study the effects of global change on ecosystems and especially on water availability. Lukas is interested in a range of topics from virtual water and water quality to irrigation and agriculture. He believes that interdisciplinary approaches and mutual dialog with societies and stakeholders need to be deepened for sustained resource management.

Capacity Building and Training Material

Digital Earth Africa: Agriculture and Food Security

Digital Earth Africa learning platform

This learning platform helps users understand the significance of Earth observations, explore Digital Earth Africa datasets through an interactive map, and get started on the basics of python coding for spatial analysis.

Digital Earth Africa makes Earth observation (EO) data readily available, delivering decision-ready products to the African continent. Data generated by Digital Earth Africa will provide valuable insights for better decision-making across many areas, including resource management, food security and urbanisation.

Digital Earth Africa: Water Resources

Digital Earth Africa learning platform

This learning platform helps users understand the significance of Earth observations, explore Digital Earth Africa datasets through an interactive map, and get started on the basics of python coding for spatial analysis.

Digital Earth Africa makes Earth observation (EO) data readily available, delivering decision-ready products to the African continent. Data generated by Digital Earth Africa will provide valuable insights for better decision-making across many areas, including resource management, food security and urbanisation.

UN SPIDER Recommended Best Practice: Exposure Mapping

Overview:

Mapping the extent of a natural hazard (e.g., assessing areas with a high risk) or disaster is a first step in disaster risk management and emergency response. Subsequently, exposure mapping enables the estimation of the impact of hazards or disasters, for example, regarding the number of affected inhabitants or infrastructure. The following practice shows the use of Quantum GIS to analyze a disaster extent map in combination with auxiliary data such as population or land cover data.

UN-SPIDER Best Practice: Disaster Preparedness Using Free Software Extensions

Overview:

Remote sensing technologies can support all stages of the disaster management cycle. In the prevention and preparedness phases, they often find their application in risk assessments, scenario modelling and early warning. This UN-SPIDER Recommended Practice explains how remote sensing data about recurring floods, information about infrastructure and socio-economic data can be integrated using free and open source software to support prevention and preparedness efforts.

Afri Alliance Knowledge Hub

The AfriAlliance project aims to better prepare Africa for future climate change challenges by having African and European stakeholders work together in the areas of water innovation, research, policy, and capacity development. Rather than creating new networks, the 16 EU and African partners in this project are consolidating existing ones, consisting of scientists, decision makers, practitioners, citizens, and other key stakeholders, into an effective, problem-focused knowledge sharing mechanism.

Digital Earth Africa: DEA101 - Introduction to the Digital Earth Africa Sandbox

Digital Earth Africa learning platform

This learning platform helps users understand the significance of Earth observations, explore Digital Earth Africa datasets through an interactive map, and get started on the basics of python coding for spatial analysis.

Digital Earth Africa makes Earth observation (EO) data readily available, delivering decision-ready products to the African continent. Data generated by Digital Earth Africa will provide valuable insights for better decision-making across many areas, including resource management, food security and urbanisation.

Webinar: Groundwater for Water Security in Africa

Overview

This webinar is meant to contribute to the AMCOW Pan African Groundwater Programme (APAGroP) and its various capacity building actions. The webinar is intended to support African Member States and other relevant stakeholders to develop and implement evidence-based groundwater policy and practice in Africa for improved lives and livelihoods. 

Event

Project / Mission / Initiative / Community Portal

Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate

The AfriAlliance project aims to better prepare Africa for future climate change challenges by having African and European stakeholders work together in the areas of water innovation, research, policy, and capacity development. Rather than creating new networks, the 16 EU and African partners in this project are consolidating existing ones, consisting of scientists, decision makers, practitioners, citizens, and other key stakeholders, into an effective, problem-focused knowledge sharing mechanism.

Stakeholder

UK Space Agency - International Partnership Programme

The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) is an award-winning >£150 million space for sustainable development initiative which utilises the UK space sector’s capabilities in satellite technology and data services to deliver measurable and sustainable economic, societal and/or environmental benefits in partnership with developing countries.

Kenya Space Agency

The Kenya Space Agency (KSA) was established under the Ministry of Defence, as the successor to the National Space Secretariat (NSS), by Executive Order through Legal Notice No. 22 of 7th March 2017 with the mandate to promote, coordinate and regulate space related activities in the country.
Vision: The vision of the Agency is to be the premier Space Agency in promotion of access and effective utilization of Space Economy for national sustainable development.

European Organisation for Meteorological Satellites

EUMETSAT is an intergovernmental organisation and was founded in 1986. Our purpose is to supply weather and climate-related satellite data, images and products – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – to the National Meteorological Services of our Member States in Europe, and other users worldwide.

Digital Earth Africa

Digital Earth Africa is empowering countries across Africa with Earth observation to enable climate adaptation and mitigation, greater food security and more sustainable development.

DE Africa offers an operational data infrastructure making current and historical, analysis-ready satellite data freely available and openly accessible for the entire continent. This further enables turning raw data into decision-ready products to inform policy and drive action.

The United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

The United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) is a research and training institute of the United Nations University. UNU is a global network of institutes and programs engaged in research and capacity development to support the universal goals of the UN. It brings together leading scholars from around the world with a view to generate strong and innovative knowledge on how to tackle pressing global problems. UNU-CRIS focuses on the study of processes of global cooperation and regional integration and their implications.

Water, Peace and Security Partnership

WPS is a partnership of research and civil society organizations that work together towards identifying water-related risks of human insecurity, fragility and conflict, and towards developing analytical and dialogue tools for preventing and mitigating such conflicts. WPS is a collaboration between the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a consortium of six partners: IHE Delft (lead partner), World Resources Institute (WRI), Deltares, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS), Wetlands International and International Alert.

University of Energy and Natural Resources

The University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) was established by an Act of Parliament, Act 830, 2011 on December 31, 2011. The University is a public funded national institution which seeks to provide leadership and management of energy and natural resources and be a centre of excellence in these critical areas.

Université Chouaib Doukkali

The Chouaib Doukkali University (CDU) [www.ucd.ac.ma] in El Jadida, Morocco was founded in 1985. It is a public institution of higher education and scientific research. At present, in the Chouaib Doukkali there are 6 faculties, and has more than 507 teachers, 255 administrators, and more than 25 000 students. Training is provided for bachelor degree and master degree. In terms of research, the University has established two centers for doctoral studies, with 25 laboratories involving 82 research teams.

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna

Founded in 1872, the Universität für Bodenkultur Wien / University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, also known by its acronym "BOKU" is an education and research institution for renewable resources in Vienna, Austria. Today, BOKU comprises of 15 departments located at two sites in Vienna and one in Lower Austria, as well as several external research and teaching facilities in Austria. There are currently approximately 11000 students enrolled at BOKU in study courses at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels.

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education is the largest international graduate water education facility in the world and is based in Delft, the Netherlands. Since 1957 the Institute has provided water education and training to 23.000 professionals from over 190 countries, the vast majority from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Also, numerous research and institutional strengthening projects are carried out in partnership to strengthen capacity in the water sector worldwide.

Rural Water Supply Network

The Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) is the global network for rural water supply professionals, with 11,000 members in more than 150 countries. RWSN is a strategic global platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration in the water sector with a central focus on the achievement of universal access to safe, affordable water supplies.

Community water and Sanitation Agency

The Organisation is a Government agency in charge of providing portable drinking water and water related sanitation services to rural communities. The agency is incharge of achieving WASH related SDGs by 2030 at the remote communities in Ghana.

Southern African Research and Documentation Centre

SARDC is an independent regional knowledge resource centre that seek to enhance the effectiveness of key developmental processes in the region Southern African Development Community (SADC) region through the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of information and enabling the capacity to generate and use knowledge.

GEO AquaWatch

AquaWatch is an Initiative within the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) that aims to develop and build the global capacity and utility of Earth Observation-derived water quality data, products and information to support water resources management and decision making.

Goal

The goal of the AquaWatch Initiative is to develop and build the global capacity and utility of Earth Observation-derived water quality data, products and information to support effective monitoring, management and decision making.

Objectives

The objectives to achieve this goal are:

Botswana International University of Science and Technology

The Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) is a Government of Botswana supported institution established through the BIUST Act (CAP 57:05) as a research-intensive University that specialises in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) at both undergraduate and post-graduate level.

National Space Research and Development Agency

The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), is the national space agency of Nigeria. It is a part of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and it is overseen by the National Council on Space Science Technology. The agency is based in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre

The International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) facilitates and promotes international sharing of information and knowledge required for sustainable groundwater resources development and management worldwide. Since 2003, IGRAC provides an independent content and process support, focusing particularly on trans-boundary aquifer assessment and groundwater monitoring.

Deepwaters.ai

DeepWaters AI uses satellite data and AI to find underground drinking water and pipe leaks. It has created a map of the Earth’s underground water, with up to 98% accuracy. It was awarded a European Space Agency AI Kickstart contract in 2018. DeepWaters AI is supported by Esri, Amazon and Nvidia startup programs. It is a UK based social impact startup, that donates 51% of profits to water philanthropy. DeepWaters AI combines neural networks with ESA Sentinel 1 & 2 satellite data.

International Water Management Institute

IWMI is a research-for-development (R4D) organization, with offices in 13 countries and a global network of scientists operating in more than 30 countries. For over three decades, our research results have led to changes in water management that have contributed to social and economic development. IWMI’s Vision reflected in its Strategy 2019-2023, is ‘a water-secure world’.

Groundwater Relief

Groundwater Relief is a charity that provides specialist groundwater support to the humanitarian and development sectors. The support is delivered through staff and a global membership of groundwater experts.

University of Zimbabwe: Department of Construction and Civil Engineering

The Department of Construction and Civil Engineering at the University of Zimbabwe is one of the 8 departments in the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment.The department is already a major center for water and sanitation engineering through its MSc programmes which have produced graduates from eastern and southern Africa. The department also boasts of soil and material and timber research facilities which can be used to benefit the country at large.

RSS-Hydro

Diverse and dynamic R&D company operating across geospatial fields for a more sustainable future - Earth Observation, remote sensing, drones, and modelling of water risks. We are determined to make the world a more sustainable and resilient place, including the SDG targets 1, 2, 6, 13, 15, and 17 in our mission and daily activities. We offer:

Egyptian Space Agency

Egyptian Space Agency is a Governmental Organization that's aiming at acquiring Space Technology and Satellite Launching capabilities towards the accomplishment of The National Sustainable Development Strategy "Egypt-SDS 2030" objectives.

UN Environment

The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. Our mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

Flemish Institute for Technological Research-Remote Sensing

VITO is an independent, research, technology & service leader in cleantech and sustainable development. Our goal? To accelerate the transition to a sustainable world, consulting & supporting public organizations, researchers & industry. VITO Remote Sensing has a long-term expertise in the development of Earth observation (EO) instruments, technologies and services. VITO plays a primary role in collecting and processing Earth observation data into objective and useful information and insights, that are actively made available and promoted.

Institut des Regions Arides

The Institut des Regions Arides (IRA) (Arid Regions Institute) was established in 1976 and it is currently under the umbrella of the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries. It is headquarted in El Fje, Médenine with regional stations in Gabes, Ben Guerdane, Kebili and Tataouine in southern Tunisia. The main mandates of IRA are:

African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environnement

The African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE) was founded in 1992 and was incorporated as an international NGO under Section 21 of the South African Companies Act (Act 61 of 1973). AARSE is a partner of many international organizations such as the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) and the IEEE Geosciences and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS), and a participating organization of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

African Ministers' Council on Water

AMCOW is an intergovernmental organization created by member states of the African Union with a mandate to promote cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty eradication among the member states through the effective management of the continent’s water resources and provision of water supply and sanitation services.

Person