Striving for Borehole Drilling Professionalism in Africa: A Review of a 16-Year Initiative through the Rural Water Supply Network from 2004 to 2020 – a published paper

Despite its strategic importance, the practical realities of borehole drilling provision in Africa, including driller skills, siting, supervision, drilling standards, drilling procurement and contract management, drilling professionalism and drilling regulation have been neglected by academic research. This paper charts the story, outcomes and impact of efforts by the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) on drilling professionalism and manual drilling for 16 years. At a total cost of about USD 750,000, the profile of drilling professionalism and manual drilling have been raised, providing materials and inspiring action. Thousands of stakeholders have improved their knowledge. Alas, despite the importance of water well drilling, and commitments to SDG 6.1, capacity strengthening in this area remains a marginal issue for national and international political leadership, and arguably for international funding agencies.

Kerstin Danert led this work from 2005, initially as an independent consultant in Uganda, from August 2008 to April 2020 with Skat Foundation and from May 2020 from Ask for Water GmbH. Visit RWSN’s Professional Drilling and Manual Drilling web pages to access materials online.

Knowledge Management Services

The Walker Institute at the University of Reading, UK is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre that supports a Climate Resilient Society. The institute works with communities and organisations, particularly in Africa, to support evidence-based action that sustains both livelihoods and the environment. From June to December 2020, Ask for Water provided knowledge management services to the institute, including structuring, streamlining and quality assuring communications activities. This included co-producing a short film on the work of the Institute in the Sahel region, which is part of an inspiring programme called Adapting for Tomorrow’s Environment by CIWEM, produced by ASN Media.

Unlocking Africa’s Groundwater Potential – a short film to inform and inspire!

Kerstin Danert managed and coordinated the development of a short film about the potential of groundwater in Africa for the UPGro programme. The context and key findings of an interdisciplinary research programme between 2013 and 2020, funded by the UK government, on groundwater in Africa are presented in an engaging, 10-minute video that combines animation with recorded footage.

The collaboration was with academics from five European academic institutions – University of Oxford, University of Reading, the British Geological Survey (BGS), University College London (UCL) and UNESCO-IHE as well as representatives from partner organisations and the film company, Room3. The main film is here; and the series of shorter films are here.

A Turning Point for Manual Drilling in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Co-author of a publication that documents over a decade of pioneering efforts by UNICEF, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and partners to introduce and professionalise manual drilling. Over a ten-year period, manual drilling, using the rota-jetting technique, has gone from a little-known technology in the DRC to an effective technology that has enabled about 650,000 people to be provided with a water service. This publication is available from the RWSN website in English and French.

Theme lead for RWSN – Professional Water Well Drilling

This work strives to ensure that groundwater resources are properly considered and sustainably used for developing drinking water supply sources and ensuring their long-term quality and security. The theme is embedded within the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN). Activities in in 2020 included a managing webinars entitled: Exploring the relevance of Borehole Drilling Associations in English and French. The full late 2020 RWSN webinar series, including all presentations is available here.