Nile Citizen Science News Update.

In this news update, we interview George Sanga, Regional Coordinator and Head of the Secretariat for Global Water Partnership East Africa (GWPEA), to learn more about their commitment to restoring the ecosystems within East Africa. We also introduce the Education4Schools program that aims to reach out to school teachers, children and local communities across the River Nile Basin to transform and ignite a passion for citizen science. We also discuss the numerous projects across the Nile Basin that aims to achieve restoration.

Working in partnership with Global Water Partnership East Africa (GWPEA) to restore ecosystems.

Interview with George Sanga, Regional Coordinator GWPEA. Head of the Secretariat.

Q1: What is your name, and what role do you play in Global Water Partnership East Africa (GWPEA)?

A: George Sanga, Regional Coordinator GWPEA. Head of the Secretariat.

Q2: Global Water Partnership East Africa (GWPEA) state their fundamental mission is to build alliances and strengthen the institutional capabilities of its members to encourage and reinforce the research, expertise, and information networks on IWRM. Does this fit into the overall mission statement of the GWP network that is to advance integrated water resources management at all levels for sustainable and inclusive growth? Do you think citizen science has a role to play in this mission?

A: Definitely. Citizen science contributes to the vision and mission of GWPEA in our focus areas of water, climate and transboundary using the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach.

Q3: Gender Sensitivity - What is gender sensitivity from the perspective of GWPEA, and do you have any good practice to share?

A: We are mainstreaming gender in all our projects by promoting Gender Transformative Actions at all levels - for policy and governance to practice. Through our Water Climate & Development (WACDEP-G) project, we are conducting Capacity Needs Assessment and Capacity Gaps of Women and Women Based Organizations Agency in decision Making in water and climate services in the Eastern African region. GWPEA is also offering technical assistance to the Government of Uganda to finalize the Draft Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) Report for Review of the Uganda Gender Policy (UGP) 2007. We are also mapping existing institutional norms, systemic barriers, practices and power imbalances in all planning and implementation of climate-resilient water investments. We aim to integrate the findings of this research to design target strategies and capacity building plans to address social norms, attitudes, beliefs systems.

Q4: Capacity Building - How do you conduct capacity building concerning communication, education, participation and awareness and do you have any good practice to share?

A: We combine capacity building workshops with experiential learning visits to selected sites. As an example - GWPEA is implementing a project titled 'Enhancing Resilience of Communities to Climate Change Through Catchment-Based Integrated Management of Water and Related Resources in Uganda (EURECCCA)'. In May 2021, we facilitated an Experiential Study Tour for Key Government Sector Staff to EURECCCA Project Sites in the Awoja Catchment. The group consisted of more than 100 members from various Water management zones in Uganda.

All who participated learned about the management of fragile ecosystems such as riverbanks, lakeshores, and wetlands. GWPEA has developed knowledge materials such as brochures, leaflets and reports for various audiences.

Q5: Young Water Professionals - How do you work with young professionals, and do you have any good practice to share?

A: We have a Young Water Professionals Program currently supporting four young Water Professionals. Three of these young professionals are working within the field of practice in their countries, whilst one other is working within the regional office. Last year, two were actively engaged in October 2020 via philanthropic support and the other two young professionals were supported by the Africa Water Investment Program WACDEP-G. The GWPEA YWP Program aims to mentor youths in water and climate and utilize their efforts towards achieving the related SDGs.

Q6: Comprehensive monitoring and evaluation - Monitoring and evaluation are essential for ensuring that the current management of water resources is managed in order to identify the needs for adjusting management strategies. How do you work to ensure comprehensive monitoring and evaluation and how do you think citizen science can assist in this endeavour?

A: We have a dashboard through which we keep track of progress for our projects. Citizen Science can assist in building cases for joint development and implementation of bankable projects in the Eastern Africa water catchment areas. Focus on gender and youth integration would be a good area in terms of cross-cutting issues. At the end of the day, we must ensure sustainable livelihoods while at the same time preserving the integrity of our ecosystems.

Education4Sustainable Schools 2030 aims to contribute towards a fairer and more sustainable world through strengthening sustainable education in primary and secondary schools and furthering the achievement of the 17 SDGs. Objective To incorporate sustainable education and the 17 SDGs into policies, learning environments, educational resources, promoting the empowerment and mobilization of local level action.

We are twinning European Schools with African Schools within the River Nile to learn from each other about combating climate change.

Please click here to complete the form if you are a school and would like to participate.

How to use this resource This resource forms part of our citizen science program to promote education, communication, participation and awareness of sustainability and ecosystem restoration. To open lesson plans and teaching resources, click on the sustainable development goal that you are interested in. To gain full access to these free resources you need to register your school.

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