On the desert road: ZEF's researchers in Mali and Niger to develop sustainable water, energy and food options

December 18, 2018.  

ZEF researchers visit and work with local partners to address Africa's pressing urban challenges. Urban centers are growing, especially in Africa, therewith facing the challenge of how to supply enough food, water and energy to their inhabitants in a sustainable way.  German research projects support local decision-makers with developing solutions to address these challenges.

ZEF researchers on the road

Sarah Verleysdonk, Bernhard Tischbein and Navneet Kumar, all ZEF senior researchers in ZEF’s Department of Ecology and Management of Natural Resources, traveled to Bamako in Mali and Niamey in Niger from November 30 until December 10, 2018 in the context of two research projects, RARSUS and RARSUS-SEMALI.  RARSUS stands for “Risk Assessment and Adaptation Strategies for Sustainable Urban Resource Supply in Sub-Saharan Africa” and is running in Niger, RARSUS SEMALI is an extension of the project in Mali focusing on sustainable energy. ZEF is part of a project consortium running these projects.

ZEF’s research within these projects focuses on sustainable resource supply in urban and peri-urban (areas close to cities) contexts, specifically on the aspects of flood management, groundwater conservation and agriculture. The overall aim of the research consortium is to establish a long-standing research-based higher education partnership between Africa and Germany on the issues of sustainable resources supply and disposal systems (water, energy, food) in urban contexts.

Visits to the field in  Mali and Niger

During our stay in Bamako in Mali, Professor Ba from the University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako arranged meetings and field visits with two Master students, Siaka Kodio and Sekou Ongoiba. They are investigating and assessing irrigation systems for urban agriculture in Bamako with the aim of optimizing them.

Northeast of Bamako, in Katibougou, is the Institut Polytechnique Rural de Formation et de Recherche Appliquee de Katibougou. Here, we work together with Professor Coulibaly in the field of peri-urban agriculture. Four Master students will work on peri-urban water management on the test sites of the university campus and its surrounding areas. The overall aim is to compare urban and peri-urban irrigation systems and agriculture in Mali and achieve synergy effects.

Our trip to Niamey was the second field visit in the context of the RARSUS-project, following a first field trip in March 2018. The trip was co-organized with Professor Rabani from the <link https: www.wascal.org external-link-new-window internal link in current>WASCAL- Graduate Research Program on Climate and Energy at the Université Abdou Moumouni in Niger, who is our local partner.

Two Master students have been selected at the University of Abdou Moumouni: Bouzed Himed Bouzed and Issaka Dan Guiwa.Bouzed Himed Bouzed will conduct hydrological modeling of an urban basin to support flood management options utilizing discharge measurements in a river channel in Gountou Yéna. Issaka Dan Guiwa will assess the extent of and options for meliorating waterlogging in an area affected by stagnant water – this in context with flood and groundwater management in Niamey. A third Master student will focus on peri-urban irrigation systems for agricultural farming in inland valleys along perennial water bodies .

In addition, we also visited the SAGA pumping station in the south-southeast of Niamey, which provides water supply to the irrigation scheme of the farmers at the SAGA cooperative. The cooperative produces mainly rice, with additional horticulture cultivation.

Report by Sarah Verleysdonk, ZEF.


RARSUS is financed by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), RARSUS SEMALI is supported by BMBF.

For more information on the project and our partners, visit the RARSUS homepage: <link https: rarsus.com external-link-new-window internal link in current>rarsus.com
or ZEF's homepage<link https: www.zef.de projects external-link-new-window internal link in current> here

Contact at ZEF: btischein[at]uni-bonn.de, nkumar[at]uni-bonn.de, verleysdonk[at]uni-bonn.de


Bernhard Tischbein

Dr. Bernhard Tischbein


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