Reflections on collaboration and capacity-building for sustainable groundwater quality monitoring in rural Malawi

Sarah Joanne Halliday, Fortune Gomo (Lead / Corresponding author), Alistair Geddes, Sue Chichlowska, Wiktor Chichlowski

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Drinking water quality is a key component of water security to ensure clean and safe water supplies to achieve the Global SDG6. Yet frequently there are capacity constraints on the adequacy and sustained water quality monitoring programs in LDC contexts, especially in rural areas where resources are more limited and the resident population is more reliant on scattered independent groundwater supplies. In Malawi, knowledge of the importance of water quality has been developing over recent years, necessitating local capacity development for sufficient and sustained water quality monitoring.

International, transdisciplinary, and interdisciplinary research collaboration and capacity-building efforts in rural water quality monitoring can be a vehicle to improve technology development that supports operational monitoring and data reporting in resource-poor settings. However, in cognate fields, similar international partnership models have drawn some criticism of late, because of their alleged tendency to not translate collaboration agreements into demonstrable local capacity gains. We, therefore, link our consideration of these issues specific to our direct input to efforts to create a new water quality testing program in rural southern Malawi in southern Africa in a collaborative research project between the University of Dundee and Fisherman’s Rest, a local NGO in Malawi. Fisherman’s Rest works with rural communities in Malawi, specifically borehole monitoring under the Madzi Alipo program. However, their work lacked the water quality monitoring component, a key element to water security. Using our reflections, we find that the line of critique on international collaborations has some value in terms of thinking about how to advance ‘genuine’ collaboration and capacity-building in water quality monitoring programs as we look to expand our collaboration efforts with Fisherman’s Rest and other stakeholders in rural water quality monitoring in Malawi.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventEGU General assembly 2022 - Austria Center Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 23 May 202227 May 2022


ConferenceEGU General assembly 2022
Abbreviated titleEGU22
Internet address


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