Friday, 29 June 2012

Friday Photo (39) - Clean Water in Kenya

KENYA: CLEAN WATER
Professor Paul Younger, Director of the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability, said in his Shell Lecture at the Geological Society of London that the provision of clean water is the "single best thing to reduce infant mortality."  Hudson Wereh Shiraku captures the excitement that a clean water supply brings in this fantastic picture.
Photo (c) Hudson Wereh Shiraku, 2012
(Runner-Up GfGD Blog Competition 2012)

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

CAFOD/GfGD Placement Opportunity

GfGD are delighted to announce a fantastic opportunity to spend one week this September in the Humanitarian Department of the international NGO CAFOD, based in London (download a placement information sheet here). In the space of a week you won’t have time to undertake a specific project or be applying lots of the geology you have learnt – but you will get a highly valuable opportunity to see how disaster risk reduction and emergency response operate within a large NGO and get a preliminary insight into the development sector. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to ask questions, and the opportunity to meet and talk about your experiences with GfGD’s Director.

This opportunity is open to all geoscience students in the UK who are currently coming to the end or have just finished the third or fourth year of their undergraduate course. We are currently not able to offer any funding to cover travel, food or living expenses during the week, and so advise all those applying that they will have to be able to cover these themselves. If you have family or friends in London that you can stay with for a week, this would be helpful. Individuals may be able to apply to their universities for financial support.

If you are interested in this placement, please send Joel Gill, GfGD Director (joel[at]gfgd[dot]org) a copy of your CV and a short personal statement (max. 250 words) outlining why you would like this opportunity and which weeks in September you are available. These will be reviewed and the successful candidate informed. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS – MIDDAY, 23rd JULY 2012.

The successful candidate will be asked to (i) sign a Memorandum of Understanding, confirming that they will behave in a professional and appropriate manner, represent GfGD well and follow any guidelines set out by CAFOD and (ii) write a report for Geology for Global Development describing your work, what you learnt and how it benefited you.

If this placement is a success, we will hopefully have a second opportunity in Easter 2013 for those, who by that stage, will be in the third/fourth year of their undergraduate course.

---
CAFOD is the official Catholic aid agency for England and Wales, working with partners in more than 40 countries across the world to bring hope, compassion and solidarity to communities that are poor, standing side-by-side with them to end poverty and injustice. CAFOD work with people of all faiths and none. Find out more - http://www.cafod.org.uk/.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Top Travel Tips (2) - Alex Stubbings


Alex Stubbings recently held an internship in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for three months, in the field of climate change adaptation and sustainable development. Here are some of life’s lessons he’ll never forget:

1) When in Rome do as the Romans This one I always practice! When you’re in a culture that is diametrically the opposite to yours I find it worthwhile behaving exactly like the locals: Even if you stand out because of skin pixilation! Of course, remember to be yourself which is really important.

2) Don’t change your pounds in the UK; do it when you’re there (if outside the EU) –When I left Manchester I changed all my Sterling into Dollars, this was a big mistake. I ended up losing out on two exchange rates, as Sterling in Bangladesh gets you a lot more bang for your buck than Dollars: So always change your currency when in country. [Editors Note: It's worth checking with the specific country that your going to that they will exchange Sterling, as some of the more remote towns in Tanzania that I've traveled to would only exchange US dollars].

3) Always count your moneyThis ties into the last comment. Always count the money that you're handing over and that you’re given. In some countries, like Bangladesh, this is normal behaviour and well worth getting into the habit of doing.

4) Do you have an umbrella?When I went into the deep south of Bangladesh I was asked if I had an umbrella, I replied no: I’ve got waterproofs! Actually the umbrella was to block out the sun, which was the only day of my life which I actually craved to be inside!

5) Always carry more water than what you think you need I did my BSc mapping project in the Spanish Pyrenees, in an area called Lumbier. Contrary to popular belief, this part of Spain gets up to 40 degrees Celsius relatively frequently. Obviously coming from a cold country like the UK, to one bathing in glorious sun, we don’t think too much about water consumption. Take as much as you can carry, and prioritise over food if on a budget as that’s what I did. Also, don’t be fooled by the widely perpetuated myth that water quality outside of the UK in Europe is bad: It isn’t. It is in Bangladesh. Here boil your tap water if in Dhaka and remember, if you buy bottled water from a street vender make sure the seal isn’t broken and that it’s reputable!

6) Always carry a photocopy of your passport/ID this is very true in Spain and Bangladesh. In both countries you’ll need to be able to prove who you are, and believe me when I got stopped for photographing the US Embassy in Dhaka, and couldn’t prove who I was: I starting panicking big time!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Top Travel Tips (1) - Introduction

Over the summer, many of our readers will be travelling to far-flung places to carry out fieldwork, volunteer or carry out placements. Working, living and travelling in a different country and culture can be hugely exciting, but can also bring many challenges. Over the next couple of months the GfGD blog is going to publish some 'Top Travel Tips' from students, recent graduates and experienced professionals who have all worked overseas. They will be giving you insights into things you may wish to take that you wouldn't necessarily think of, things they wish somebody had told them, things to do beforehand to prepare well, and things that will help you get the most out of your trip.

If you're going to do your mapping project in far-flung places, or undertaking a placement overseas and want to write a blog about your work - of if you've worked overseas and have tips to share then why not get in touch and help others.

Look out each Tuesday, starting tomorrow, for your regular dose of our Top Travel Tips!

GfGD Blog Competition (Runner-Up): Natural Disasters - The importance of education in long term recovery


Our second, and final, runner-up in the GfGD Blog Competition was Daniel Sharpe, a geology student at the University of Leeds. Dan writes here about the importance of education in long-term recovery from natural hazards. You can read more of Dan's work here:

The bridge between short and long term recovery is rarely crossed in developing nations. Even in economically prosperous countries it is difficult, with aftershocks of Hurricane Katrina still rumbling through the U.S. and the more recent tsunami that ruptured the coast of Japan still having significant impacts on communities. Surely more can always be done?

Through personal experience I have seen how recovery can be slow and emotionally strenuous. In 2007 I visited the south-west coast of Sri Lanka, a region devastated by the tsunami of 2004. Two and a half years on, the entire coast was still ruined. Broken houses sat derelict, an unceremonious reminder of the lives lost. Rusting train tracks, flowers lying roadside, and crumbled memories encapsulated within the polished memorials ran parallel to the re-surfaced highway.

After the publicity subsided so did the financial aid and little could be done to continue to assist those who needed support. To protect developing communities for generations a natural response needs to be instilled in people's minds. Educating people on how to deal with hazards should be at the forefront of aid efforts. As I write this news has sparked about a magnitude 8.7 earthquake that has struck near Sumatra, very similar to that of 2004. The news now is not about the loss of life but the reaction of the local people. Granted, fortunately no tsunami proliferated from this earthquake but the immediate reaction of people was to flee to high ground. Evacuation schemes were efficient and people climbed hills and onto roofs in the knowledge that they would be safer. It can be assumed that should a tsunami have formed many lives would have been saved as a result of past experience and teaching, and this knowledge now needs passing down to younger generations; a continuation of experience and learning.

A classic case study is that of Japan. A nation that regularly suffers earthquakes, they have developed and become more educated in natural hazards and the loss of life has significantly reduced. Before 1950 the average number of deaths per earthquake was 13,000 compared to just 1,200 after, despite the average magnitude of the events being almost identical. The high level of construction quality in Japan is greatly responsible and sets an example to everyone, but with an increasing population this decrease in fatalities can also be attributed to the education of citizens. Regular earthquake drills act like fire drills in the UK, and it is now rooted in their minds how to respond should shaking ensue. 

These are two examples of how developing and now developed regions have reacted to the need for education, reducing fatalities both short and long term. China has also recognised the need for educating its citizens. In a country where deaths from natural disasters have actually increased since the millennium, the government is set to improve monitoring systems, raise public awareness and train 2.75 million people for a new disaster rescue and relief scheme. This is the attitude needed in order to reduce the loss of life in developing nations. Educating people on how to prepare, respond and relieve themselves and others from natural disasters is crucial. Coupled with a continued support from governments and NGOs the loss of life from natural disasters can be dramatically reduced; as we have seen across the Indian Ocean and Japan.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Friday Photo (38) - Victoria Falls

ZIMBABWE: VICTORIA FALLS
A stunning photo from the EGU's 'Imaggeo' archive of the highest waterfalls in Africa, located on the Zambezi River between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
(Mercedes Rodriguez , Ribeira - Spain

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

GfGD Blog Competition (Runner Up): Successes Of Geoscience In Development

A runner-up in the GfGD Blog Competition, Hudson Wereh Shiraku gives an interesting overview of the many ways in which geoscience can, and has, made a positive contribution to the lives of communities around the world. Hudson is based in the Environmental Sciences Department at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya.

As a prefix, geo is derived from a Greek word which loosely translates to “earth” usually in the sense of ground or land. Geosciences would therefore include all sciences that deal with the earth and to this end, the list is long – geology, mineralogy, paleontology, stratigraphy etc.

Talking of how geosciences, used in the context of development has brought about positive and sustainable change, the earth is the foundation upon which development depends. Development is either driven by resources from the earth or by land as a resource like in the case of agriculture. Success of a development process and sustainability of the same requires meticulous intervention of a geoscientist to define the balance between society’s demand for these resources, their sustainable use and need to sustain healthy ecosystems.

Success stories of how geosciences have played a fundamental role in development dates back to many years ago. In the early 1930s, a small village in western Kenya was the scene of a gold rush fueled partly by the reports of the geologist Albert Ernest Kitson. In its place now, we have a beautiful town called Kakamega which is the economic hub of the region. Elsewhere, gold has transformed South Africa and its commercial hub Egoli – the city of gold to a heaven for gold diggers and investors to its undisputed status as the continental economic heavy weight – thanks to geoscientists.

Water has brought happiness to these women (Hudson Wereh Shiraku)
If there is no water due to drought, children will miss school because they must help their mothers to fetch water. One can only imagine what implication this has to development but thanks to hydrologists, children from a village in Maralal in Northern Kenya won’t miss school again for this reason. Under the auspices of an international non-government organization (NGO), this class of geoscientists has worked tirelessly to indentify underground water sources and avail water to local communities.

Courtesy of geoscientists, Kenya is tapping into geothermal energy and generating electricity. With the potential of 2000 MW, there is a total of 127 MW installed capacity and the plant meets 11% of the total national electricity supply (MoE, 2008). As a result, geothermal use in Kenya has led to significant socio-economic benefits for the country; a workforce of 493 persons is deployed at the Olkaria power stations considerably contributing to poverty reduction. In Naivasha, a geothermal heat resource is being used in a horticultural farm to control night-time humidity levels in order to reduce the incidence of fungal diseases – a successful instance where Geoscience has drawn from other fields to create a positive change.

Away from home, geothermal power has also been successfully exploited in northern African countries, using geothermal fluid for irrigation of oases as well as heating and irrigation of greenhouses. 

In Israel, the fact that agricultural production continues to grow despite severe water and land limitations is no accident. It is due to a close and ongoing cooperation between researchers, extension workers, farmers and agriculture-related services and industries. Geoscience has been tapped into by agriculture to ensure availability of water and suitable soils for farming.  

Finally, in Kenya we have what has been humorously referred to as “Oil Mania”. Kenyans have run a mock with oil exploration all over the country since oil was recently discovered in the north western town of Turkana. Though we have to wait for some studies to determine its economic feasibility, prospects are high and surely geoscience is an important ingredient of development.

In view of all these success stories, what would my neighbor who threatened to disown his son for wanting to pursue a course in geology against his wish for an educational course do? I suppose he would cover his face in shame.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Archive: Resources & Links

In the past we've posted links to a number of useful resources, including interactive tools, open access journals, external blogs, reports and databases. You can find this archive of blog posts here

You can also find a brief list of useful links relating to geology, development, NGOs and more on the main Geology for Global Development website. If you know of any good online resources, blogs or websites relating to any of the various applications of geoscience to development then please do let us know via our contact form.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Friday Photo (37) - Rock Tourism

CANARY ISLANDS: ROCK TOURISM
Unusual rock features such as this one on the island of Tenerife can generate significant tourism and visits to important geological sites. Whilst this has obvious benefits to the local economy, care must be taken to preserve and conserve sites from significant human influence.
(c) Geology for Global Development 2012

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

GfGD Blog Competition (Overall Winner) - Water of Life Project: Safe Drinking Water in Burkina Faso

As mentioned in Monday's post, Christopher Barry is the overall winner of the GfGD Blog Competition 2012. 

Christopher considers Canterbury to be home although his family has lived overseas throughout his life.
 He is currently approaching the end of his third year of studies in Earth Sciences at Cambridge and takes particular interest in geophysics and the deep Earth.


Although not decided on long-term plans, he intends to continue his studies next year to complete a MSci, which will include a project modelling chemical processes at the core-mantle boundary. When not studying, Christopher enjoys playing music, running, bird-watching and is a member of the Christian Union and the Zero Carbon Society at his university.

Christopher was privileged to be able to visit Burkina Faso recently, a very rural country where a great number of people are dependent on drilled wells with hand pumps for clean water. In Ouagadougou he met Mark Collier, where they talked at length about hydrogeology in the country. Here Christopher presents the brilliant work of Mark and his colleagues:

Burkina Faso, located in sub-Saharan West Africa has a population of 16 million, of which 80% live in rural communities.  28% of its rural population live further than a kilometre from a source of clean water [1]. These people are often forced to use near-surface water which can be a long walk away and contaminated by human and animal excrement. The annual rainfall is plenty to provide for the population’s usage, but for much of the country safe drinking water can only be found in bedrock requiring drilling equipment.

Fig. 1: A wet well.  
Mark Collier is third from right.
Mark Collier, who has worked for Friends in Action (FIA) in Burkina Faso since 2005, takes several volunteer teams each year along with a drilling rig to these isolated villages. They work in the dry season to ensure a year-round water supply. In the far west, deep groundwater can be found reliably in the sandstone with little exploration work.  However, for most of the country, groundwater is in fault zones in granite. During the wet months, Mark uses resistivity surveys to locate water-bearing faults, which show up as a negative anomalies in resistivity [2]. Connected fault systems are important because isolated faults are often not sustainable water sources.

The teams use a mobile rig (Figs. 1,3) to drill down as much as 100m if necessary. Using casings and local materials, they protect the upper parts of the well from contamination whilst allowing deep ground water in (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: General cross section of a well drilled into granite in Burkina Faso

Technical expertise in the construction is vital, but FIA also recognises the importance of the relational side of development work. There are several steps that Mark and his team take to address these issues.

Before drilling a well, they carefully consider its location, collaborating with the locals. The drilling site is marked out for some time before work begins. This ensures, for example, that the proposed well is not in sacred ground where it would be unused and possibly offensive. Careful planning is necessary to make sure the well is as easily accessible as previous, unclean water sources.

It is essential for the locals to understand that the well is their property and responsibility after the construction. They are encouraged to help with the manual labour, including the making of the well cover (Fig. 2), a visible sign of their contribution. Mark encourages the locals to take ownership through the formation of a well management committee in the village to ensure good maintenance and sustainability.

During the work, the team camps in the village and share the locals’ food. A Burkinab√© – from Burkina Faso – pastor accompanies the team who helps with communication, as mostly tribal languages are spoken in rural areas, and explains the compassionate motives for drilling the well. Through building personal relationship, the locals trust that the well is a good and necessary gift. The volunteers receive gifts from many villages, often local produce such as chickens.

FIA started drilling wells in Burkina Faso in 2005, and have drilled almost 200 holes. Their success rate has increased with better surveying. This last year they had twenty-five wet wells from thirty holes (83%) compared to the national average of 60%. Since 2005, only one of their wells has stopped functioning. In the village of Zitonosso, an existing well (not drilled by FIA) had silted up.  FIA offered to replace it if the village could cover the cost of the hand-pump, about $1500. Overnight, the village provided the funds, and the well was replaced in March (Fig. 3); a testimony to the sense of value and ownership of these wells among the Burkinab√© people.

Fig. 3: Drilling in Zitonosso (photo courtesy of Mark Collier)



[1] http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/burkina-faso/
[2] Resistivity Methods, United States Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov/epahome/index2.html


Christopher Barry was the overall winner of the GfGD Blog Competition 2012, winning a 1:50,000,000 Geological Map of the World with explanatory notes, and a 1:40,000,000 Map of Global Groundwater Resources .

Monday, 11 June 2012

GfGD Blog Competition Winners

A couple of months ago we held our first GfGD Blog Competition, and I am delighted to announce the overall winner was Christopher Barry, a natural sciences student at the University of Cambridge, UK. Christopher wrote an interesting and informative piece about the work of a small charity called 'Friends in Action'. The piece not only described the geoscience in an accessible and helpful manner, but also highlighted the importance of community engagement skills for making their work in Burkina Faso a success. Runners up were Hudson Shiraku, an environmental scientist from Nairobi, Kenya, and Daniel Sharpe, a geology student at the University of Leeds, UK. You can read all three of their articles over the coming days and weeks on the GfGD Blog, starting with Christopher's blog this Wednesday.

The winner and runners up have, or soon will, all receive a Map of Global Groundwater Resources, and the overall winner, Christopher Barry, also received a copy of the impressive 1:50,000,000 scale, Geological Map of the World with explanatory notes.



We will be running other competitions in the future - so do check out the blog and our website (www.gfgd.org) for the latest information. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Friday Photo (36) - Celebration in the Commonwealth

This week the Commonwealth has been celebrating sixty years of leadership from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Many of our readers will be members of Commonwealth nations and you may be interested to know that the Commonwealth offers funding for Masters and PhD studies, as well as academic fellowships, both in the UK and in other Commonwealth nations. Some applications have closed for 2012, but have a read and keep an eye on this webpage over the coming months.

UK: DIAMOND JUBILEE CELEBRATION
HM Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, with close member of her family at a celebration at Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom
(c) Geology for Global Development 2012

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Interview: Edward Joy (PhD Student)

Collecting market samples for 
composition analysis in Malawi
(Photo courtesy of Edward Joy)
In a first for the GfGD Blog, today we are publishing an interview with Edward Joy, a first year PhD student working on a project in Malawi that is combining agriculture and soil research to address malnutrition. The project is a collaboration between the University of Nottingham, the British Geological Survey and the Malawian Ministry of Agriculture…

Edward, thank you for agreeing to share some of your work with the Geology for Global Development blog community. Perhaps you could start by telling us a bit about your background and what you did before starting your PhD…

Thanks Joel for this opportunity to discuss our work. I read Human Sciences at New College, Oxford before completing an MSc in Agriculture and Development at Reading University. Agriculture is about crop and soil science, but it’s also about communities, societies and cultures, so the fact that both these courses are interdisciplinary has been very useful for my PhD. Between my MSc and PhD I worked for six months on a Permaculture farm in Konso, Southern Ethiopia, which taught me a lot about subsistence farming in a dry-land area, including the practical difficulties and the way individuals, households and communities cope.

Your PhD is looking at various ‘agricultural interventions to address dietary mineral deficiencies’ – Could you expand a little on what that means and what the project you are working will examine?

The challenge we have set ourselves is to examine how agricultural systems can be adapted to optimise the supply of minerals to a population. Minerals such as calcium, iodine, iron, selenium and zinc, are essential for human health. Dietary supply of minerals depends on what crops/livestock are eaten, and on the soil. Other important factors include cooking method and health, particularly diarrhoeal diseases. In Malawi, our case-study country, the diet is predominantly maize-based. Due to its crop physiology, maize is good at providing energy (and some minerals such as magnesium), but is not as mineral dense as vegetables, fruit, fish or meat. When your diet consists of maize porridge 2-3 times per day and little else, you’re likely to suffer mineral deficiencies.

Native Selenium (USGS)
So one agricultural intervention is to promote dietary diversity. See this article for example. Another option is to try to increase the mineral content of crops, through crop-breeding, fertilisers or soil management. So far our project has looked mainly at selenium (Se). There’s evidence to suggest that Se deficiency is widespread in Malawi. Se has many functions in the human body, including in thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defence and the immune system. The transfer of Se from soil to maize is dependent on soil pH – at low soil pH, Se is highly unavailable to the maize root. Our research in Malawi has found that women living in villages on low (c.4.5) pH soils have poor Se status, whereas women living on high (>6.5) pH soils have a generally healthy Se status. This shows that soil mapping can be a useful tool for estimating variation in dietary mineral supply.

Cassava grown on dark Vertisol –
 Is the mineral composition different 
to cassava grown on common red soils?
(Photo courtesy of Edward Joy)
We’re now working to expand our dataset to look at a wide range of crops, and see how their mineral content varies spatially and according to the soil. I will also conduct field trials next year in Malawi, adding lime to maize in order to test how increasing soil pH alters maize grain concentrations of multiple minerals, and whether it might be a feasible nutrition strategy for particular soils types or under certain contexts, such as locally available lime sources.

Average population Se intake is low in the UK and this is linked to low levels of Se in our soil. Population average intake has declined since the 1970s, and it’s suggested that this is because we used to import much more of our wheat (c.45%) from N America than we do now (c.15%). Soils derived from selenifrous parent material (including shales, sandstones, limestones, slate and coal series) are widespread in parts of the US and Canada. China has areas of very high Se soil concentrations, and areas of very low, leading to problems of Se toxicity (characterised by loss of hair and nails) contrasting with Se deficiency (Keshan and Kashin-Beck diseases).

I think the work on Se highlights how important it is to better understand the relationship between human health and soils. There’s a huge need for geologists’ skills in mapping and soil studies to inform agriculture and health. BGS is at the centre of this in the UK (http://www.bgs.ac.uk/gbase/AdvancedSoilGeochemicalAtlasEbook/index.html#/1/).

You’ll be travelling to Malawi as part of your research to undertake fieldwork – what made you select this country?

Soil sampling team in Malawi
(Photo courtesy of Edward Joy)
The project is a collaboration with the Malawian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA). Much of the project’s data up to now results from field work done by Allan Chilimba, who recently completed his PhD here at Nottingham and has now returned to his senior research post at the MoA. It’s a safe country, with quite good political stability. Importantly for our work, the MoA has a good structure for disseminating research through its regional Extension Planning Areas, and local agricultural advisors who regularly meet and discuss with farmers.

What skills, other than the agronomic and geological, are you expecting to need to undertake the work effectively?

Although the field trials will be conducted at MoA research stations, there remain lots of logistical challenges such as sourcing, crushing and incorporating the lime before planting and the onset of the rainy season. So I need to plan ahead but also be flexible.
  
Finally, what made you decide you wanted to do a PhD, and why this PhD in particular?

My decision to do a PhD largely depended on the project specifics including the topic, the opportunity to do in-country fieldwork, and the supervisory team. But most importantly, I think the project benefits from linking with the Malawian MoA, Department of Health, and Bunda College of Agriculture. Our discussions with them help form our research topics, ensuring that our research is relevant to their needs. We can also directly communicate our findings to them, minimising the barriers that can hinder scientific research from benefitting people.

We will be hoping to catch up with Edward and interview him again during and/or after his fieldwork, where he can share more first-hand experience of what it’s like to conduct research in a developing country and the lessons he has learnt. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Alex Stubbings: Lessons Sorely Not Learnt, Or Heard Of, On A Geology Course

Alex Stubbings, GfGD Climate Change Correspondent, writes...

Recently I was reading an interesting book called The Vulnerability of Cities (Professor Mark Pelling, King’s College London) and would like to share a number of interesting lessons learnt based on a few quotes from Chapter 4 – Urban Governance and Disaster. Sharing these quotes presents GfGD readers with the opportunity to:

1) Have a discussion based on these extracts
2) Consider examples and lessons learnt, to enhance our capacity to provide information and knowledge

So, in a rather short entry here goes:

QUOTE 1 = “...The World Bank’s Disaster Management Facility (here and here), established in 1998 to provide a mechanism for feeding disaster prevention into development planning and to improve emergency response lending. The World Bank recognises that rapid urbanisationgreatly increases disaster risk and has sought to integrate disaster management within its urban development project lending.” Extract from p72

QUOTE 2 = “...one such scheme, which has met with some success, was the Maharashtra Emergency Earthquake Rehabilitation Programme, launched in response to the 1993 earthquake in the Indian State of Maharashtra, which damaged 230,000 houses in rural and small urban settlements. The programme gained financial support from the World Bank and has been managed by two national NGOs. It encouraged community participation at the village level, with beneficiaries consulted throughout the programme cycle, although the programme fell short of handing over decision making responsibility to local groups. Whilst project managers were initially sceptical of the community participation process, they later came to recognise it as an effective tool for dealing with difficulties that arose during implementation. It is reported that for grassroots actors, involvement in the reconstruction process helped in overcoming the trauma. The participatory process also opened many informal channels of communication between the people and the government, improving adaptation potential.”  Extract from p73

I think this next quote is very helpful. It goes to show what can be accomplished when numerous actors work together, and I’m sure could also be scaled-up, or used in other areas of disaster: urban, rural or geophysical in origin,

QUOTE 3 = “The media can be usefully brought to increase popular awareness of risk and of promoting preparedness. One particularly innovative use of the media comes from the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO)’s work in Central America, and soap operas as the most-listened-to programmes. PAHO has teamed up with NGOs to broadcast an educational soap opera before and during the hurricane season.” Extract from p75

And lastly a rather poignant and hard-hitting truth,

QUOTE 4 = “...Disasters are often linked to failures in the dissemination of information from expert or non-expert sources that could have provided a space for mitigation, preparation or evacuation...” Extract from p77


What are peoples thought’s concerning these quotes? Are there any that you would like to add to, disagree with, or agree with? It would be interesting to hear what you have to say regarding this matter. Feel free to use this blog as a discussion forum (the quotes above are all numbered to make referring to them easier).

Friday, 1 June 2012

Friday Photo (35) - Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

UGANDA: LAKE BUNYONYI
A beautiful location in Uganda, close to the border with Rwanda. Lake Bunyonyi  is popular with tourists due to its stunning location and water activities.
(c) Geology for Global Development 2012