Le Forum RWSN – une opportunité qui n’arrive qu’une fois tous les cinq ans!

forum_frIl ne reste maintenant plus que deux mois avant le 7ème Forum RWSN à Abidjan. La plupart des auteurs des présentations, posters et films ont maintenant été informés du statut de leurs soumissions, et nous progressons bien du côté de la logistique également. Je dois également remercier notre cinquantaine d’évaluateurs qui ont fait preuve d’un superbe esprit d’équipe, ainsi que les organisateurs des séminaires sponsorisés qui ont su collaborer ensemble. Et un grand merci à nos généreux sponsors du Forum pour faire en sorte que nous puissions organiser cet évènement. Je suis vraiment ravie de voir une telle ouverture entre organisations pour organiser des sessions conjointes à travers lesquelles les participants du Forum seront en mesure d’apprendre les uns des autres et partager leurs expériences.

C’est vous – les participants qui ont soumis des contributions, ainsi que les organisations développant le programme des séminaires sponsorisés du vendredi – qui êtes en charge du programme. Il y aura des sessions sur la durabilité des services; le développement des eaux souterraines et des puits; l’égalité, la non-discrimination et l’inclusion; l’auto-approvisionnement et la cartographie et le suivi. Nous allons mettre les articles en ligne au fur et à mesure que le programme se consolide, donc continuez à aller vérifier le programme sur notre site. Le Forum RWSN est aussi une plateforme pour construire son réseau. Les réservations des stands pour l’exposition continuent à progresser, donc n’hésitez pas à nous contacter si vous aimeriez avoir un stand. Nous avons permis à des petites organisations de partager un stand dans le passé, donc si cela peut être une option pour vous, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter.

Vous vous demandez peut-être – qui sont les participants du Forum RWSN? Nous attendons entre 300 et 600 participants. Le nombre de participants dépend de vous – les 8500 membres du réseau RWSN, et des autres qui pourront nous rejoindre par la suite. Près d’une centaine de participants ont déjà confirmé et payé leur inscription. Cela inclut des membres de haut niveau du gouvernement, des professionnels du secteur du développement, de la société civile, du secteur privé et de la recherche. Le Forum RWSN est le seul évènement ou vous pourrez rencontrer un tel kaléidoscope de personnes et de perspectives sur l’eau en milieu rural et dans les petites villes. Nous vous encourageons vraiment à venir nous rejoindre!

Nous savons également d’expérience qu’il y a tendance à s’inscrire à la dernière minute. Nous vous demandons de vous inscrire maintenant pour éviter d’être déçu. Je suis sûre que vous pensez déjà que participer au Forum est une bonne chose pour vous professionnellement, et pour votre organisation, mais peut-être qu’il vous semble difficile de trouver le temps et l’argent pour participer. Nous avons mis au point un guide (en anglais seulement pour l’instant; nous mettrons la version française en ligne prochainement) qui peut vous aider à argumenter auprès de votre hiérarchie ou de sponsors potentiels que participer au Forum RWSN est une opportunité à ne pas manquer.

The RWSN Forum – a once in every five-year opportunity!

forumThe 7th RWSN Forum in Abidjan is only two months away. Most of the authors of papers, posters and films have now been informed of their acceptance, and we are progressing well with the logistics for the event. I have to say that the team spirit (with 50 reviewers) as well as the joining of hands for the seminars has been outstanding. And thanks to our generous forum sponsors for enabling us to organise this event. I am delighted to see such openness for organisations to link up and work together to prepare sessions in which the forum participants will be able to learn from others, and share.

The programme is driven by the you – RWSN members who made their submissions as well as agencies and groups who have developed the sponsored seminar programme for the Friday. There will be plenty to learn on sustainable services; groundwater and wells; equality, non-discrimination and inclusion; self-supply and mapping and monitoring. We shall upload papers as they are finalised, so keep checking out the programme on the website. The RWSN forum is also a platform for face to face networking. Bookings for the exhibition are moving well, so please let us know if you would also like to exhibit. We have enabled small organisations to share booths in the past, so if this would be the only option for you, please let us know.

So who will attend you may be asking. We are expecting between 300 and 600 participants. How many come depends on you – the 8,500 RWSN members, and others who may join in the process. About 100 delegates have registered and paid already. This includes senior government staff, development partners, civil society, the private sector and academia. The RWSN Forum is the only event where you are likely to encounter such a kaleidoscope of people and perspectives on rural and small towns water supply. We really encourage you to attend!

We know from experience that there is a tendency to confirm late. So we ask you to please register now and avoid disappointment. I’m sure you are already convinced that attending the Forum is the right thing for you, and your organisation, but maybe securing the time and funding to attend is a challenge. So, to help we have prepared this help sheet to make it easier for you to make the case to your manager or funder that the RWSN Forum is a uniquely valuable opportunity.

The Past, Present and Future of Groundwater – Inspiration from the IAH Congress

The 43rd Congress of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) brings together 800 specialists from all around the world. It is the first morning, and I am already inspired. Although the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) has worked alongside and interacted considerably with IAH over its history, I personally only joined IAH this year. However, I am very glad to have become a member of such a warm and committed association which explicitly recognises the importance of cooperation between groundwater experts and other specialists. IAH is about much moth than sophisticated technical models. And so I encourage other RWSN members with an interest in groundwater to do the same, and benefit from being exchange with others.

So what is the talk here so far? The opening speakers have emphasised population growth and migration to cities (including Montpellier, where this congress is hosted) several times. These changes, alongside climate change, present a key challenge for groundwater specialists and associated professions.

Learning about the history of IAH from John Chilton, current executive director, I am struck by the journey that the association has made since it was established in September 1956. Having gone through three stages of formation, growth and consolidation over 60 years, the exchange, publications and outreach of the association are impressive. It was IAH that commissioned some of the first hydrogeological maps in the late 1950’s. Fast forwarding to today, there are now four new national chapters recently opened in New Zealand, Tunisia, Turkey and Iraq. Certainly, we, as RWSN have much to learn from IAH. But more importantly we need to think about how we can join hands to bring about change in key areas.

I am particularly inspired by The Time Capsule, which enables us to learn from some of the greatest minds of groundwater – you can watch and listen to Charles Vernon Theis (of the Theis test pump equation) and many others. A big thanks to IAH for getting these on line and enabling the next generation us to learn from and be inspired by the wise words of those with such experience.

Looking forwards, IAH’s Burdon Network is particularly relevant for IAH and RWSN. And we should both scratch our heads to figure out how to the harness investment, personnel and partnerships needed to raise capacity in the south so that groundwater management and development can be effectively managed and developed.

A brief exchange yesterday evening with Shami Puri has raised the importance of training, equipping and retaining the technicians to collect the data and undertake the measurements much needed to raise understanding of groundwater in Africa, and other emerging regions of the world; and with Callist Tindimugaya us about plans to develop a water training institute in Uganda. There will be many more exchanges here, I eagerly wait to see what else I can lean as the Congress continues.

WEDC Vacancy: Research Associate in Sanitation and Water

Fixed-term for 18 months

A good opportunity to undertake innovative research on sanitation and water in developing countries at the internationally renown WEDC (Water Engineering and Development Centre). The role will include: supporting and managing assessments and research on the sustainability aspects of the DFID funded South Asia rural WASH results project. Other work will include research on improving water security for the poor in slums.

A good masters degree in water and sanitation or related subject is essential, as are excellent communication and analytical skills, the ability to carry out research, write reports and a willingness to travel. Practical experience of work on projects or related research in developing countries would be highly advantageous, as well as working as part of a team.

Informal enquiries should be made to Kevin Sansom at WEDC – K.R.Sansom@lboro.ac.uk or by telephone on +44 (0)1509 222885 or 222617.

Application closing date: 13 October 2016.

FULL DETAILS: http://wedc.lu/ra-vacancy

RWSN Update – September 2016


If you are having trouble reading this then download the more readable PDF version: ENGLISH / FRANÇAIS.

Pour les francophones – Si vous souhaitez recevoir le bulletin trimestriel en français, veuillez nous écrire un e-mail à ruralwater @ skat.ch intitulé Bulletin Trimestriel en français.


The late Ton Schouten: 1955 – 2016

The sudden loss of Ton Schouten in May 2016 came as a shock to many of us, and sitting here looking at his photo I find myself still not quite believing that he has left; thinking that he might just call, send a message, or that we may bump into each other in the corridor of a sector meeting.

We miss you Ton. I think that you would have gazed with eyes wide, stood with ears pricked at the farewell given to you by your family, friends and colleagues in Delft on the 30 May. We learned so much about other parts of your life; your rich and full life. A life of listening, of caring, of giving, of philosophising and of humour. You touched the hearts and minds of people in so many places, and from multiple walks of life. Thank you Ton. Thank you.

Patrick Moriaty (CEO, IRC) helped us to know more about Ton in his tribute, so allow me to borrow from him: Ton worked with IRC for more than 17 years, and was equally a leading figure in the WASH sector, a steadfast champion of the cause of sustainability and above all of an approach to development that was based on respect and support to national actors and institutions. During his time at IRC, Ton led Triple-S (Sustainable Services at Scale), RiPPLE and SMARTerWASH and supported IRC’s Ghana country team. Ton brought his original passion for film making to IRC, producing the Seventh Video in 2000, a compilation of lessons on community water management from Nepal, Pakistan, Cameroon, Kenya, Colombia and Guatemala. Ton later used clips for another video “What if?”, which illustrated the concepts behind the Triple-S initiative. Other significant works that Ton co-authored include “Doing things differently: stories about local water governance in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine” (2008) and “Community water, community management: from system to service in rural areas” (2003). In recent years Ton became a champion of sector monitoring as a critical building block for national ownership and sustainability. It was with great pride that he organised IRC’s 2013 international symposium on “Monitoring sustainable WASH service delivery” in Addis Ababa. The outputs of the symposium formed the basis for a state-of-the-art book on WASH monitoring, for which he was co-editor: “From infrastructure to services: trends in monitoring sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services”.

Many RWSN members sent their condolences and wishes, which we passed onto IRC and Ton’s family. Thanks to all of you. There is an online condolence register on www.memori.nl/ton-schouten.

Ton’s departure as our chair has certainly been felt. However he has left his mark, fired us up with ideas, and so as we nominate a new chair in the coming months and move forwards, we will keep on carrying the bright torch that Ton handed us – particilarly of listening to RWSN members – and enabling you, the membership to engage more with one another and keep on improving water supply services in rural areas.


Dr Kerstin Danert, Director RWSN Secretariat



Continue reading “RWSN Update – September 2016”

#WEDC 2016: Rural water papers

The 2016 WEDC Conference was held in Ghana early this year, bringing together leading practitioners and researchers from across Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH). As always, all the papers are made available online, but if you are looking for those that are relevant to rural water supply, we have produced this collation to help you out:

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Rural Water Supply Research: September 2015

Research and knowledge is critical to improving rural water services worldwide. At RWSN we act as bridge between research, policy and practice.  In recent RWSN newsletters, we have collated the latest in academic research. We have moved that list here to make it more accessible (and the newsletter shorter!).  If we have missed anything, then please do let us know.

Note that access to many papers is restricted and has to be purchased. Some are open access so that articles are free to download.


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#RWSN @ #WWW : the presentations

RWSN co-convened two sessions at last week’s SIWI World Water Week in Stockholm and presentations are available to download:

WASHoholic Anonymous – Confessions of Failure and how to Reform

All presentations: http://programme.worldwaterweek.org/sites/default/files/panzerbeiter_lt_1400.pdf

Build and Run to Last: Advances in Rural Water Services

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Handing over Self-supply


André Olschewski will be leaving Skat and handing over his role as Theme Leader for Accelerating Self-supply (ACCESS) to Matthias Saladin. André reflects on the last five years:

Dear all,

There is widespread recognition that many people particularly rural dwellers improve their water supplies with their own investments. This was barely part of the discourse when RWSN launched the Self-supply theme and term in 2004 under the leadership of Dr. Sally Sutton, supported by WSP and UNICEF. As with any innovations, taking the concept of Self-supply from the periphery towards mainstream development has not been simple or an easy journey.

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