AfriAlliance Newsletter no. 4

  • INBO Edouard Boinet
    Edouard Boinet
    Project Manager - International Cooperation
  • Newsletter
  • Update

8 December 2017

Dear reader,

Welcome to the fourth AfriAlliance newsletter! We have a full and productive couple of months behind us, and with this newsletter, we would like to update you about our latest activities.

AfriAlliance partners represented the project at various events. ITC participated in the Boston Open Data event. As announced in the previous newsletter, AfWA’s 77th Scientific Council meeting hosted an AfriAlliance workshop that was well-attended by staff of African utilities and other African stakeholders. Now you can find out how it all went.

INBO attended the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bonn, Germany, where they co-organized the “Water Action Day”. Read further to find out what this day was about, why it was important and what will happen now.

Did we only go to events, you may wonder? No, we also produced some very interesting outputs! In this newsletter, you can find out about the first series of our Social Innovation Factsheets focused on the theme of monitoring. Also, a “teaser” of our demand-driven outlook of research & innovation opportunities can be found in this newsletter. And we look ahead to our second Innovation Bridge Event, to be held in early 2018.

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

All the best,

Uta Wehn

AfriAlliance Partners Were There!

AfriAlliance Workshop in Ghana: one step closer to finding solutions

From 17-21 July 2017, the AfWA Scientific and Technical Council (STC) meetings, entitled ‘Improving WASH Sector Performance in Africa', took place in Accra, Ghana. During the opening plenary session, WE&B presented the objectives and aims of the AfriAlliance project. With 200 delegates from over 30 countries, this session provided a great opportunity for AfriAlliance to reach out and inform delegates about its activities to better prepare African stakeholders for the impacts of Climate Change.

At the STC, the AfriAlliance partner WE&B with assistance from AfWA and BothEnds ran the workshop designed by partners IHE Delft and OIEau on ‘Identifying the needs and priorities of water managing organisations’ . 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 workshop provided 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 new challenges. The 30 participants identified their own organisations’ water-related needs due to climate change as well as priority areas for action and knowledge creation.

Apart from presentations and workshops, the AfriAlliance partners used the event to gather valuable insights for the project. With the support of partners BothEnds and AfriWater COP, WE&B conducted interviews and focus groups at the Water Resources Commission in Accra. The focus groups were held with key target groups, such as NGOs, women’s groups and traditional leaders, to better understand the reasons for the existing knowledge fragmentation of water and climate actions in Africa. Participants expressed the needs and challenges from organisational and personal points of view, which helped to establish links between different types of stakeholders working on climate action at different levels. These insights will be used in the next call for AfriAlliance Action Groups.

Following these five successful days in Ghana, the AfriAlliance partners produced a comprehensive analysis of the information gathered which will become available soon. Keep an eye on the AfriAlliance website for more news on this topic and stay tuned for the next call for Action Groups early next year!

Contact: David Smith,


AfriAlliance at the International Conference for Free and Open Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G), 14 - 19 August 2017, Boston, USA

FOSS4G is an annual conference for open source geo-software development, organized by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation ( The 2017 version attracted 1100 developers, researchers, students and practitioners from over 40 countries for 250 talks and 56 workshops. The full program can be found here:

Of specific interest for AfriAlliance were the following workshops:

Metadata Creation for Geospatial Resources. Descriptions of geodata (geo-metadata) can be created with a complete suite of open source tools, based on OGC’s open standards for catalog services. The workshop deployed GeoNetwork, providing the means to create, integrate and view geo-metadata in a web interface. GeoBlacklight was presented as an additional tool for incorporating semantics in the discovery interface, and so creating a powerful search engine.  

OGC SensorThings API with GOST. The OGC SensorThings Application Programming Interface (API) is an open standard which connects devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) and links them to applications on the web. In the workshop, the participants used the server application GOST to configure a few sensors and integrate their data. 

Field data collection in disconnected environments: Portable OpenStreetMap (POSM) from start to finish. In situations where data has to be collected and internet connections are not available, POSM can be used as a mini field server, providing a combination of OSM editing tools. Although the configuration of the hardware is not yet straightforward, the workshop showed that the collected field data can be easily managed in a portable instance of a spatial database.

FOSS4G is the pre-eminent conference for the latest developments of the ever-growing open source geo-software market. FOSS4G 2018 will be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and AfriAlliance will seek this opportunity to present progress with its triple sensor approach for improved monitoring and forecasting.

Contact: Rob Lemmens,


AfriAlliance at COP23, November 6 - 17, Bonn, Germany

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) was held in the city of Bonn (Germany) from the 6th to the 17th of November. Partners of AfriAlliance have participated in COP23 and have contributed to the organization of its water and climate related events.

As part of the Global Climate Action Agenda – GCAA (successor of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda – LPAA), a program of concrete climate initiatives lead by non-State actors, and in recognition of its role as secretariat of the Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAfWaC), the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO) was appointed back in August by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as co-organizer of the “Water Action Day” of Friday 10th November, in partnership with the WWC, IUCN, the French Water Partnership and SIWI/AGWA.

The program of the “Water Action Day” was structured as follow:

  • One high level opening plenary session, which was an opportunity to present the actions carried out since COP22 and the new commitments made during COP23 by the Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAfWaC: the Alliance of Basins for Climate, the Business Alliance for Water And Climate Change – BAFWAC, the
  • One high level “Water Dialogue” on improving water and climate financing, which focused on the questions of access to climate finance by non-State actors, and how to bridge the gap between project holders and donors through innovative tools such as the Incubation Platform of the Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAWCIP)
  • Three Breakout Sessions :
    • Breakout Session 1. “Water knowledge to respond to climate uncertainty”
    • Breakout Session 2. “Water for urban resilience”
    • Breakout Session 3. “Water for sustainable agriculture and food security”
  • One closing plenary session.

This thematic structure aims to address issues that are considered a priority at global level. It mirrors some of the issues identified as a priority as well in Africa by the AfriAlliance project (in particular “knowledge” and “food security”, as illustrated in the focus of the first set of AfriAlliance Action Groups and in the first set of Social Innovation Factsheets).
Among AfriAlliance partners and beyond INBO, GWP and ICLEI also attended the event.

At the end of the “Water Action Day”, recommendations were produced in the form of an “Outcome Document” submitted to the Moroccan and Fijian high level climate champions for consideration by Parties to the UNFCCC. The recommendations included:

  • Strengthening collaboration across sectors (in particular the sectors of food and water) for climate adaptation and sustainable use of water resources,
  • Creating and strengthening of regional, transboundary, national and basin Water Information Systems to forecast the effect of climate change on water resources and extreme weather events and design strategic planning that includes adaptation component,
  • Facilitate the preparation of water adaptation projects of high quality fulfilling donors technical and financial requirements, with a greater consideration of non-infrastructural projects (institutional and technical capacity building) in both transboundary and national basins, through innovative tools such as the Incubation Platform of the Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAWCIP).

As one of the main take-away points of the “Water Action Day”, the Ministry of Environment of Italy explained it will use the 5 million euros it pledged following the International Summit of Rome on Water and Climate to finance both a second phase of the Incubation Platform and the implementation of three projects incubated in 2017: one project of Water Information Systems at the level of the transboundary basin of the Senegal river to monitor climate change impacts on the Diama dam (Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal), one project of adaptation strategy for the transboundary Sava river basin (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia), one project of hydrometeorological monitoring at the level of the transboundary basin of the Congo river.

Finally, the Declaration on Nature Based Solutions was launched by the French Water Partnership (FWP) and the Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAfWaC) as a major contribution to the Global Climate Action Agenda – GCAA. It will promote the implementation of nature-based solutions as efficient no-regret adaptation measures that deliver multiple benefits.



Update on AfriAlliance Activities

The first set of AfriAlliance Social Innovation Factsheets is out now!

The Social Innovation Factsheet (SIF) is a specific format to communicate solutions for societal needs on climate change and water-related issues in Africa.

In AfriAlliance, social innovation means tackling societal, water-related challenges arising from Climate Change by combining the technological and non-technological dimensions of innovation. In this specific context, the SIF aims to present the innovation opportunities on specific themes, enabling short-term improvements in the preparedness in Africa to address water and climate challenges.

The theme of this first series of SIFs was identified after interviews and workshops held in Africa (in Botswana, Morocco, Uganda and Ghana) during the initial phase of the project (2016-2017). Monitoring was highlighted as one of the main themes. Five sub-themes were detailed to provide a good understanding of the different dimensions and opportunities of monitoring: (i) Monitoring « drinking water » quality for improved health (ii) Monitoring of water availability in terms of quality and quantity for food security (iii) Monitoring climate for early warning systems to prepare for extreme weather events (iv) Monitoring groundwater quantity to ensure its sustainable use and to avoid water conflicts (v) Monitoring water pollution from industries and urban areas to protect human health and ecosystems.

You can access these Social Innovation Factsheets here. Each Factsheet includes a description of its sub-theme, an analysis of their four dimensions (technological solutions, governance, capacity development and a business roadmap) and recommendations.

Contact: Natacha Amorsi,


Demand-driven Research & Innovation Outlook: analysis of local needs related to water and climate challenges

In order to better prepare African stakeholders for climate change challenges in the short, medium and long term, AfriAlliance tries to match their knowledge needs with existing solutions and innovations. Identifying specific needs is therefore of crucial importance. In one of our latest reports, we focus on the needs related to climate change challenges of water managing organisations in Africa, such as public utilities and (small) private water operators, water authorities and civil society organisations. The needs of water using organisations will be addressed in a follow-up report in 2019.

The report uses both, a top-down and a bottom up analysis. The top-down analysis points to the challenges that African countries face for the food-water-energy nexus in the face of Climate Change. The societal challenges in Africa in the short term are to ensure food security, water security and energy security, and the balance among them. In the long term, the challenge is to transform into a low-carbon, resilient and sustainable society. This is complemented by a bottom-up approach for identifying needs at local level. The bottom-up investigation found that the needs and problems are distinctly different per stakeholder group, reflecting their different roles in water management.

The report also analyses the perceived barriers and bottlenecks that may hamper the uptake of existing solutions by African stakeholders, as well as the enablers for innovation uptake. The identified barriers include a lack of environmental education and awareness of climate and water issues, lack of financial support as well as lack of access to innovation and knowledge & technology transfer, among others. Community-based and multi-disciplinary approaches that integrate indigenous knowledge emerge as important enables of innovation uptake.

Through this extensive analysis AfriAlliance has obtained valuable insights into the needs of water managing organisations. The results will be used as the starting point for other project activities, such as matching the identified needs with existing solutions, the Social innovation Factsheets (see item in this newsletter) and Policy Briefs.

Contact: Uta Wehn,

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