Friday Photo (127) – Slow Water Collection, Tanzania

29 Aug


Water Collection – Chato District, Tanzania

Some of these women and children in Tanzania had been waiting at these small holes for 5 hours for enough water to seep through the ground to fill their buckets. Understanding enough geoscience to consider (i) changing groundwater levels at different times of the year and (ii) different geological material permeabilities, could have helped remove the necessity of this. We have a responsibility to communicate our geoscience to those working on such projects.

Credit: Joel Gill (2014)

GfGD Conference

18 Aug

Register for the 2nd GfGD Conference by the end of August and you’ll be given the chance to win this attractive 60 x 40 cm canvas of geology related pictures. A winner from those registering before 31st August, and in attendance, will be drawn on the day itself. Registration is reasonably priced and easy to do, and we’re expecting a great day. Do let us know if you have any questions or problems.



Summer Opportunity – Write a Hazard Factsheet

6 Aug

Factsheet1Factsheet2We’re currently looking for some students on their summer break (or PhD students/recent graduates) to help us write factsheets on hazards in specific countries. Countries we are interested in include the Philippines, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Columbia and Peru. As these factsheets will be reviewed, formatted, printed and sent to NGOs – this is a great opportunity to utilise your geological knowledge to support the fight against global poverty.

Over the past 18 months we have been working with some students to develop factsheets based on hazards in specific countries ( These sheets, requested by the NGO community, will be printed and disseminated thanks to a grant from the Geologists’ Association Curry Fund. As our first batch are undergoing review and formatting, we’re currently looking for a few more students to help complete the set.

This opportunity is open to all geoscience students, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, recent graduates and University Groups. Skills it will help you develop include cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary communication. All those completing sheets can note their volunteering with us on their CV, and will go on the author list for the final printed booklet of factsheets. 

If you would like to know more, please download our Information Sheet (with full details of what is required, what to include, and how to begin). After reading the information sheet, please contact Donald John MacAllister (publications[at] to register your involvement.

GfGD in Tanzania (2) – Monitoring Water Projects

31 Jul

In our post yesterday I discussed the upcoming YES Congress and 25th Colloquium of African Geology in Dar es Salaam (1 – on the map), and introduced the way in which GfGD will be contributing. Following these conferences I will be travelling the 1000+ km distance to Mwanza – a key Tanzanian town on the edge of Lake Victoria, and then proceeding (by boat and car) to Chato (2 – on the map) in the Kagera Region to undertake some water/sanitation assessments.


Kagera is a beautiful region of Tanzania, bordering Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Lake Victoria. It is also one of the poorest regions of Tanzania – impacted by influxes of refugees from the conflicts in close countries. Issues include health (HIV/AIDS, malaria, diarrhoea), education, income generation and much more. Some statistics suggest that if I was born in Kagera (rather than the UK) I would be about 150 times more likely to have HIV/AIDS, almost 20 times more likely to die before the age of 5, would overall die 37 years younger and make 99.86% less money – affecting food security, education and healthcare.

A preliminary survey of geology and hydrogeology in the village of Kabalekela in the summer of 2009. (Credit: Stephanie Powell, 2009)

A preliminary survey of geology and hydrogeology in the village of Kabalekela in the summer of 2009. (Credit: Stephanie Powell, 2009)

An issue of real importance is access to clean water and safe sanitation. Statistics from the World Bank (2010) suggest that in the rural population (much of Kagera), only 44% of people have access to clean, safe water. Although, since 2010, this is likely to have improved across Tanzania – the improvement in places such as Kagera – more than 1000 km from Dar es Salaam – is likely to be less than other locations.

Freshwater Borehole in Tanzania (Credit: Tumaini Fund)

Freshwater Borehole in Tanzania (Credit: Tumaini Fund)

In the midst of what sounds like, and is, a bleak picture – can be found the people of Kagera. Some of the most hospitable, welcoming and helpful people I have worked with. Their desire to bring change, to learn and to share the precious knowledge that they do have of their local environment is inspiring. It is with real excitement therefore that I have the privilege to return here in a few weeks, after first visiting in 2009 and again in 2010. The Eleanor Foundation are sponsoring the implementation of a series of water projects, partnering with the Tumaini Fund.

In a week it will be difficult to fit in everything that could be done. I will be focusing on supporting an assessment of existing water projects and offering advice on possible future work. I will also be trying to better understand the technical capacity of the local team and seeing what resources can be developed that will support their understanding of water resources and water resource management. As we have written about many times, for geology to effectively support development, a range of other skills are necessary – understanding local culture and how to communicate within it, diplomacy, cross-disciplinary work, effective interviewing… and much more. For me this will be an opportunity to ponder these skills in a real-world scenario and share some of my learning with other members of Geology for Global Development (look out for the poster at our second GfGD Conference).

I will be travelling to Kagera from 16-24th August – and will be tweeting on the experience if possible, although this is unlikely. I am very grateful to the Geological Society of London and Geological Society of America for their assistance in getting to Tanzania for the YES Congress/CAG25, making the return to Kagera possible. 


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