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AfriAlliance Newsletter no. 3

7 July 2017

Dear reader,

It’s been 3 months since our Launch Conference in South Africa. The dust has settled and our partners are back home to continue their work. Seeing each other in South Africa reminded us about the power of meeting face to face. One gets to develop personal relationships or ‘working friendships’ which helps create a team.

Therefore, we’re trying to meet F2F more frequently, plenary and also in smaller constellations, as opportunities arise. For example, last month, representatives from OIEau came to IHE Delft to work with IHE staff on concepts and definitions of social innovation. These were great and productive days. Read more about social innovation in this newsletter.

If you would like to see us in action, please join us mid-July in Ghana: AfWA’s 77th Scientific Council meeting is hosting an AfriAlliance workshop. You can also meet more than half of the AfriAlliance partners at the forthcoming Stockholm World Water Week.

What else is new? We’ve introduced a blog. Every month, one of the AfriAlliance partners will take a turn. As such, we hope to provide you with a better understanding of who we are and what we do. The June blog edition was written by IHE Delft, and a “teaser” for the July edition, by WE&B, can be found in this newsletter. WE&B is also featured this time in the ‘Get to know’ section.

Read further for details - for daily updates, follow us on Twitter @AfriAlliance1.

All the best,

Uta Wehn

Upcoming Events: Meet AfriAlliance Partners!

Coming up: AfriAlliance workshop in Ghana. Identifying the needs and priorities of water managing organisations

Water utilities and other water managing organisations are facing new challenges from the increasing manifestation of Climate Change. Some of the existing activities of these organisations are being affected and even entirely new tasks may arise. But what exactly is the nature of these needs? And which are most pressing? Water managing organisations will require staff with relevant skills and resources, (new) technological approaches as well as appropriate organisational structures to face these challenges.

This dynamic and interactive AfriAlliance workshop, hosted by AfWA’s 77th Scientific and Technical Council (STC) meeting in Accra, Ghana, provides utilities (and other organisations) with the opportunity to better understand the water-related needs arising from Climate Change and to exchange experiences and ideas with their peers on how to deal with the challenges presented by Climate Change. Participants will identify their own organisation’s needs as well as the priority areas for action and knowledge creation. The identified needs will be followed up by the AfriAlliance project by matching them with existing solutions after the meeting. Also, participants will have the chance to prioritise the themes that the next set of AfriAlliance Action Groups should address. This workshop presents an opportunity for participants to join the AfriAlliance community of stakeholders, shaping and benefitting from the platform’s demand-driven activities and outputs.

The AfWA STC meeting takes place from 17-21 July 2017. For the latest, detailed programme, visit the AfWA website.


AfriAlliance Partners Were There!

AfriAlliance at Water Innovation Europe 2017

On 14-15 June, Brussels set the stage for the annual Water Innovation Europe (WIE) Conference organised by AfriAlliance partner WssTP. This years’ edition was themed ‘The Value of Water: The case for Innovation & Investment in Water’. The WIE2017 had over 220 participants and was opened by Jyrki Katainen, EC Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness who stressed that water is the key factor for the sustainability of our economy and societies.


The WIE2017 conference explored the need and means for investment in water innovation and the value of water-smart industries, agriculture as well as cities. Social innovation – the focus of AfriAlliance - was a salient and recurrent theme throughout the day. In the concluding session of the day on Water-Smart Governance, Dr. Uta Wehn (Project Director of AfriAlliance) ‘moderated the moderators’ in a panel with the facilitators of the previous session and with representatives from the OECD and the European Commission. This discussion highlighted that it is crucial to create strong mechanisms for multi-stakeholder engagement, since water crises are often governance crises and: successful innovation in the water sector requires carefully embedding in relevant governance structures.


Training on how to prepare bankable projects for financing climate change adaptation in transboundary basins Dakar, Senegal, 21-23 June 2017

The workshop was hosted by the Senegal river basin organization (OMVS), Secretariat of the African Network of Basin Organizations (ANBO). It was organized by UNECE, in partnership with INBO, the African Water Facility, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Dutch Ministry of infrastructure and the environment and the Swiss Development Cooperation.

It gathered more than 30 participants, including representatives of bilateral and multilateral donors (World Bank, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, French Development Agency, European Water Facility) and of Transboundary Basin Organizations –TBOs (from Africa of course, but also from Europe and Asia).

The workshop provided a practical training on how to prepare and finance climate adaptation projects in transboundary basins.

As representatives of the AfriAlliance project, INBO and ANBO promoted the Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate as an initiative boosting research and innovative actions for the preparedness of Africa to climate change.


Workshop of AfriAlliance at the African Great Lakes Conference, Entebbe, Uganda, 3 May 2017

This AfriAlliance workshop aimed at obtaining insights into the needs of water managing organisations arising from Climate Change impacts for their water-related activities.

The workshop gathered some 40 participants with a wide range of different profiles (scientists, conservation practitioners, resource managers, etc.), mainly working in basin organizations, multi-lateral agencies, academic institutions, the private sector and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on the management of the region’s major lakes (Lake Albert, Lake Edward, Lake Kivu, Lake Malawi/Nyasa/Niassa, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Turkana and Lake Victoria).

Following OIEau’s presentation of the AfriAlliance project and the objectives of this workshop, 4 break-out groups were formed to go through three main questions: (1) Climate Change: what does it mean for your organisation? (2) ‘Pain’- what outcomes to avoid? (3) ‘Gains’- what outcomes to achieve?

OIEau facilitated the break out groups with the support of INBO.

The participants enthusiastically engaged during the break-out groups and shared their views and experiences on how Climate Change is affecting their respective organisations. The interactive format of the workshop and the support of the facilitation were much appreciated.. The next step for AfriAlliance is  to identify and prioritize organizational needs from the workshop outputs in order to  match these with potential solutions.

Also, the AfriAlliance team held several face-to-face interviews with some of the participants later during the conference. These interviews provide additional insights into the barriers and bottlenecks that African stakeholders are experiencing in the adoption of innovative solutions. All in all, the team gathered plenty of rich insights that we will analyse and then share with you in future updates, so stay tuned!


Update on AfriAlliance Activities

AfriAlliance Social Innovation Factsheet: upcoming first issue on Monitoring


The overall objective of the AfriAlliance Social Innovation Factsheets (SIFs) is to highlight innovation opportunities for scientists, managers, policy-makers, NGOs and SMEs, in order to foster short-term improvements in the preparedness of African stakeholders for water and Climate Change challenges. Each SIF aims to provide illustrations of social innovation through concrete examples for each of the four dimensions of social innovation defined by AfriAlliance (see box).

Over the duration of AfriAlliance project (2016-2021), four sets of five SIFs will be produced. Each set will cover one main theme, emerging from interviews with African practitioners, workshop, conferences and the activities of the demand driven Action Groups.

‘Monitoring’ is the theme of the first set of SIFs that will be published early September 2017. To cover as many monitoring-related issues as possible, the following five (out of eleven) themes have been selected:

  1. Monitoring "drinking water" quality to protect people from diseases
  2. Monitoring water availability (quality & quantity) to ensure food & nutrition security in irrigation
  3. Monitoring climate to develop early warning systems to prepare for extreme weather events
  4. Monitoring groundwater quantity to ensure sustainable use of this resource and avoid conflicts
  5. Monitoring water pollution from industries & urban areas to protect human health and ecosystems

The SIF will be available on

Sand Mining in West Africa: The Devastating Impacts on Coastal Communities

In the July edition of the AfriAlliance Blog, the AfriAlliance partners will explore the emerging problem of beach sand mining in West Africa: why it is such a problem?, how it has come about? and how is beach sand mining exacerbating the impacts of climate change, water management and sea level rise of the coastal communities of West Africa? You can find the AfriAlliance blogs in our news section.


Get to Know the AfriAlliance Partners

This edition: WE&B


Water, Environment and Business for development (WE&B) is a consulting company based in Barcelona, Spain, focused on the Water and Environment sectors, offering services in Social and Business Innovation. Our highly educated and globally experienced team participates in research projects to remain at the cutting edge of innovation while processing the skill and expertise to adapt to and enhance these innovations to bring them to our clients in the development sector.

It covers two sectors:

  1. Water (Integrated Water Resources Management – IWRM; Water management in rural areas; Governance and policy)
  2. Environment (Climate change; Green growth and ecosystem services; Rural development)

It provides services for:

  • Social innovation (Socio-environmental site characterisation and analysis; Communication and stakeholder engagement strategies and implementation; Science – practice interface)
  • Business innovation (Sustainable Business and Economic Models; Market Studies / Analysis; Cost – Benefit Analysis; Circular Economy and Economic Analysis)


WE&B are members of the European Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP), founding members of the WssTP working group on InternationalCooperation and Administrators of the Network for Water in European Cities and Regions (NetwercH20). WE&B are also members of the International Water Association and more specifically as active members of the specialist group Ecosystem Services. In addition, WE&B is part of the business networks The Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business, Global Network on Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Global Network on Sustainable Lifestyles.

In AfriAlliance WE&B are leading WP1: Demand Driven Action Groups. The main objective of WE&B’s contribution is to promote and implement enriched and strengthened coordination within Africa and between Africa and the EU through the creation and realisation of specific needs-based and demand-driven action groups. WE&B will also generate an understanding of the barriers to the fragmentation of communication on water and climate issues between Africa and the EU and within Africa.

AfriAlliance Project and Partners

The Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate (AfriAlliance), is a 5-year project funded by the European Union’s H2020 Research and Innovation Programme. It aims to improve African preparedness for climate change challenges by stimulating knowledge sharing and collaboration between African and European stakeholders.

  • African partners: 
    AfWA, ICLEI, GWP, 2iE, WRC, CSIR, INBO, WASCAL, WaterNet (lead partner in charge of knowledge sharing and technology transfer), AfriWater CoP
  • EU partners:
    WE&B (lead partner in charge of the Action Groups), UNESCO-IHE (project leader and lead partner in charge of project management), OIEAU (lead partner in charge of identification and matching of innovation needs and solutions), Akvo, ITC (lead partner in charge of improving water and climate monitoring & forecasting), WssTP, BothEnds