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.
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.
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