Alumni Refresher Course in Sudan

The refresher course on 'Water Harvesting: A missed potential for food security in the semi-arid regions of Sub Sahara Africa', was successfully conducted by IHE Delft and the Hydraulics Research Center Sudan (HRC-Sudan), from 22 to 26 November, at Wad Medani, Sudan.

The course was funded by the Netherlands Fellowships Programs (NFP) - the Netherlands Government, administrated by NUFFIC. A total of 21 participants, 19 funded by the NFP and 2 self-paid attended the course. All participants were from sub-Saharan Africa, except one from Indonesia. The teaching during the course was provided by 13 experts having very wide experience on different aspects of water harvesting. They came from different organizations, e.g., local experts, ICRAF, OXFORD University, from IHE Delft and HRC-Sudan.

The course started with an alumni gathering and discussion seminar on 'Water-agricultural nexus' organised by the Dutch Embassy in Sudan, held in Khartoum on the 21 November where participants actively participated and aslo the “swim the Nile” event organised by the Embassy on the same day. The course provided up-to-date scientific and practical knowledge on water harvesting techniques for design, operation, and management of water harvesting projects. The course included an opening session, with presentations about IHE Delft, and HRC-Sudan. Key stakeholders related to water harvesting in Sudan have attended the session, viz: representatives from the governmental ministries, academic institutions in the Gezira State, in addition to HRC staff


During the course different topics were discussed, including:

  • Introductory part on water harvesting techniques and the experiences from different parts of Africa,
  • Hydrology of the water harvesting systems,
  • Hydraulic design of water harvesting projects,
  • Management of water harvesting projects,
  • Socio-economic and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of water harvesting schemes, and
  • Water governance as related to water harvesting schemes.
  • Case study presentations by participants, where most of the participants have reflected their own experiences in the field of water harvesting.

All lectures were conducted in class, while the lecture of Prof. Pieter van der Zaag on 'Water and Africa’s Green Revolution', was online through the Skype. An interesting fieldtrip was made to a water harvesting pond in the central Sudan

An interesting fieldtrip was made to a water harvesting pond in the central Sudan, whereby the participants discussed design, operational and maintenance issues with the local authorities, and with the community in the area.

By the end of the course, the alumni from arid and semi-arid regions of Sub Sahara Africa have:

  • Enriched their knowledge with new insights on water harvesting relevant issues viz design, operation, and management of water harvesting schemes, etc...
  • Come across diverse experiences from different regions in Africa.
  • Acquired skills to assess the performance of water harvesting systems.
  • Discussed the water governance issues with relevance to water harvesting.
  • Discussed the importance of water harvesting economics to improve livelihood of the poor in the dry parts of SSA.

At the end of the course certificates were handed to the participants by Dr. Tabita Butros – state minister of water resources of Sudan, Ms. Esther Loeffen, Deputy Head of Mission/Counsellor, and the head of Wad Medani Municipality and IHE Delft authorities. A key comment by many participants was that the course nicely covered practical issues of water harvesting. Participant quotes “they tell you we have used this method and the results is …. Rather than use the method to get …” The course has been widely covered by the national media of Sudan.


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