Picture above: The Lesotho session
The project officially commenced on 15 September 2017. As part of the implementation, the project team (IGRAC and IGS) is required to visit SADC Member States and obtain an overview of the full chain of data and information collection and management relevant for groundwater governance (including groundwater development, use, protection, management and policy development and implementation), and also ccollect extensive meta data on relevant documents (reports, protocols, manuals, monitoring plans, policy plans, etc), databases (including web-portals) andorganisations/stakeholders who may be able to supply additional information.Obtaining such groundwater data will provide information that is fundamentally important for decision making for the management of groundwater resources as well as for groundwater development in the region.
This exercise will also assist SADC-GMI to develop a well-informed capacity building and training programmes that responds to the deficiencies identified during the project implementation. The relevant collected data and information will also be uploaded and shared on the SADC Groundwater Information Portal (SADC-GIP), www.gip.sadc-gmi.org.
The project team commenced with country visits in November 2017, and thus far they have managed to visit 10 countries (Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo,Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique,Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe). Using semi-structured interviews, they were able to discover different dynamics of data collection and management that exist in each Member State.The results of this first round of visits will be communicated through a report that will be published soon on the SADC-GMI website.
The project also includes the engagement of two young professionals from each SADC Member State. The purpose of engaging young professionals is to capacitate them on relevant aspects of data and information management relevant for Groundwater Governance (groundwater development, groundwater management, groundwater policy development, etc.), whilst at the same time exposing them to international cooperation and allowing them to build a network of groundwater professionals. Recruitment of young professionals is currently underway and is done through the Focal Persons in each Member State.
The project team hopes to complete the country visits before the end of March 2018 and advance to the next phase of implementation which entails benchmarking, gap analysis and capacity building.