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CLOC West Africa

About the project

CLOC West Africa - Network for Water and Life (NEWAL)

The overarching Goal of the CLOC West Africa – “Network for Water and Life” (NEWAL) is to promote and strengthen understanding, networking and scientific exchange between Swiss and West African institutions and the interface of water and life. The NEWAL consists of education and research partners in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana and ten partners of higher education in Switzerland. NEWAL provides new opportunities for cooperation and collaboration for Swiss and West Africa research and higher education institutions through data collection and sharing, exchange events, and the facilitation and validation of e-tools in real-world settings.

Interdisciplinary and Integral Research and Education

Water-related ecosystems are essential to life and have provided natural sites for human settlements, bringing benefits such as transportation, natural purification, irrigation, flood protection, and habitats for biodiversity. Transitioning towards more sustainable and resilient societies requires an integrated approach that recognizes that current challenges and their solutions are interrelated. For instance, access to freshwater in sufficient quantity and quality (SDG 6) is a prerequisite to achieving several of the SDGs, particularly those that pertain to health (SDG3), food security (SDG2), energy (SDG7), and poverty reduction (SDG1). Overuse is contributing to the rapid depletion of water resources, leading to insecurity and potential conflict (SDG 16). Climate change (SDG 13) is affecting water resources in many already water-stressed areas. The critical importance of water for life therefore requires a multi-disciplinary research approach that connects all these SDGs and develops a common understanding of how current and future challenges can be met.

Specific Activity

A “winter school” in Ghana and a “summer school” in Switzerland will be implemented. The goal of these schools is to bring together over 20 Bachelor or Master students from various disciplines and countries to focus on the overarching topic of “Water and Life” while working in a multi-cultural and multi-lingual setting. The young and promising students will learn how to develop research projects and doing their thesis in a related field in groups of 3-5 people representing different SDGs. The “winter school” in Ghana includes inputs from international experts, group work on case studies, and field visits. After having completed their research, the students will meet again to present and discuss the results of their work in "summer school" in Switzerland.

Aim is to develop a Swiss-West African e-learning platform. The design-thinking approach will evaluate educational concepts. The e-learning platform address the challenge of identifying e-learning approaches for West African users through a co-design workshop at KNUST and/or CSRS and the piloting of the proposed e-learning solutions.


More Information: Website

Specific Activities


The CLOC West Africa concept has been developed in close collaboration with the above-mentioned local research partners and is addressing following activities:

  1. Practical schools in West Africa, with the objective of 1) practice-related capacity building, 2) the development of long-term partnerships with businesses (start-ups, SME) and NGOs, and 3) the establishment of projects that address local developments.
  2. Thematic webinars and virtual workshops provide knowledge exchange across institutes, countries and regions and will serve as a communication platform and a driver of innovation. The e-learning activities tailored to the needs of West African partners will be focussed on topics with local impact such as Climate change adaptation strategies, Digital innovation, Water & Peace, Renewable energies, WASH, Agriculture, Mining.
    • Dates and topics follow soon or come-up with own proposals.
  3. Responsible business conduct short course focusing on Responsible Business Conduct, linked to activities of Swiss companies in West Africa, will provide an important perspective the role that businesses play in safe-guarding the environment and research-led action supporting local communities to co-develop and implement sustainable solutions to water/natural resources management challenges
    • Dates and topics follow soon or come-up with own proposals
  4. Various activities, e.g. grants and programs that connects students, faculty, and practitioners will provide opportunities to share expertise on specific partnership projects that the students have identified.
    • First call for grants will follow beginning of 2022

The CLOC NEWAL is open to any partners, who are not yet a partner institution. The coordination team and/or Head/Co-head can be contacted.


Partner Institutions

Swiss Partners

  • ETH Zürich
    • Dr. Darcy Molnar, Prof. Dr. Peter Molnar
  • EPFL Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, School of Engineering
    • Dr. Denis Gillet
  • Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences (OST)
    • Prof. Dr. Michael Burkhardt, Prof. Christof Biba, Rias Stalder
  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)
    • Dr. Maryna Peter
  • Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH), School for Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL)
    • Prof. Dr. Christoph Studer
  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
    • Prof. Dr. Jürg Utzinger, Dr. Mirko Winkler
  • University of Basel, Swiss Peace Foundation (swisspeace)
    • Prof. Dr. Laurent Goetschel, Ursina Bentele
  • University of Zurich (UZH)
    • Prof. Dr. Jan Seibert


South Partners

  • Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS), Abidjan
    • Prof. Dr. Inza Koné, Donog Koune
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi
    • Dr. Evans Dawoe
  • EtriLabs, Benin
    • Senam Beheton
  • SMPU Stella Maris Polytechnic University, Monrovia/Liberia
    • Siewon N. Nagbe