The activities under the BNWI were undertaken not on a planned basis as the institute became operational in the middle of a budget year. As the result most of the activities were made to focus on preparatory tasks. The activities will fall in one of the following four categories: Capacity Building, Organizational activities, Research and Exchange Facilitation. Details are also provided.
1: Capacity Building
It was seen that the major bottleneck for engagement on research activity is a lack in capacity of developing research proposals, designing and conducting experiments, writing publishable papers, unavailability of research equipments, (other than educational lab equipments) reference materials and effective communication mechanisms. To alleviate at least part of the problem various actions have been taken. These are listed below.
a. The BNWI in collaboration with volunteering staff members of BDU – iOT had prepared a TOR for Training on “Design of Experiments and Statistical Tools”. The proposal was sent to the Ethiopian Agriculture Research Institute. The training cost for 25 staff members is given to be 22,500 Birr plus transport and accommodation costs for two high level experts with a good reputation in the specified field.
b. Facilitation work for “Expert Seminar on Sustainable Flood Risk Analysis And Management” summer course (September 19 – 30, 2011) is underway
c. To alleviate research equipment shortage a 15,000 euro grant is (secured from the IRBM program – the Netherlands) ready for use and document preparation and submission for the procurement of research equipments is completed.
d. The building of a geo – database for the river basin is proposed to be launched by building spatial database for sub – basins of the Blue Nile. As such the internship activity of the German exchange students is proposed to focus on the creation of the land use and stream network of the Tana sub – basin. A high spatial resolution image of the sub – basin is proposed for use and procurements of the images at a cost of 1600 euro is promised by TFH – Berlin.
e. A 3 days training on research grant management will be delivered since August 18 – 21 in Addis Ababa by international experts. The BNWI had been successful to secure 7 participant places and participants are selected and submitted to the organizing committee. Among the participants 3 are water resource engineer, agricultural engineer and an economist (i.e. director of the Abay River Authority) who are included as co-researchers in the DDAR research proposal. It is to be remembered that the water bureau and the Abay River Authority are expected to be members of the BNWI technical advisory board. As such the inclusion of these experts in meant to achieve part of the strategic goals of the BNWI.
f. Journals of the required content quality are expected to be subscribed in the year 2004.
g. An open competition was floated to develop a logo for the BNWI and a logo was selected and used on the header paper
h. A seal/stamp was procured
Priority tasks for 2004
a. Establishment of the supervisory board (which consists of Bahir Dar university president and academic vice president, Head/Deputy head of regional water resources bureau, Head/Deputy head of Amhara region agriculture bureau, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Head of International Water Management Institute (IWMI) for East Africa and Nile Basin, Director of the Blue Nile Water Institute, Head/deputy head of the bureau of finance and development, ARARI director general) and convening for the first meeting
b. Conducting a national/international workshop on research spearheads and the proposed strategic plan along with the official launching of the PhD program (Limited fund already secured from NUFFIC and IFS)
c. Design of the institute web page (a grant of 1000 euro is already secured and work is planned to be started after August 24
2: Organizational activities
The preparation of the 5 years strategic plan and the setting up of the required task forces to undertake the regular activities are major components of this activity.
The preparation of a 5 years strategic plan is underway in collaboration with an expert from the Water Resources Development Bureau of Amhara region. Because of limitation of financial resources and Availability of previously compiled documents on the analysis of the environment the SWOT analysis will base on the review of these documents only.
Priority tasks for 2004
a. Procedures for the evaluation of research proposals should be carried out
b. Establishment of research grant types and competition criteria should be developed
c. Documents related to research ethics should be produced
Under this activity it was tried to apply to as much competitive funds as possible and with some degree of success. Among these were:
a. Demand Driven Action Research (DDAR) on “Evaluation of effectiveness of Soil & Water conservation measures in the Blue Nile using MODIS image based disturbance index (DI)” in collaboration with School of Civil and Water Resources Engineering and Abay River Authority. A total amount of 9,715 euro research grant is secured from NUFFIC, the Netherlands.
b. A proposal on “the Impact of Climate Change on Sustainability of Water Resources” is being written by a US collaborator (Prof. Solomon Bililign)
As can be seen here two clusters out of the five proposed on the establishment paper are taking shape: Water Resources and Environment cluster and the Water, Atmosphere and climate cluster.
Priority tasks for 2004
a. The need for compilation of previously accomplished research is of paramount importance in that it avoids duplication of efforts and the associated resource wastage. It is also instrumental in defining gaps and new areas of engagement. Hence an integrated effort should be put on compiling the previously accomplished researches in the Blue Nile basin water resource issues.
b. The need for well structured and compiled data is unquestionable and hence efforts should be made to integrate internship activities with database building tasks.
4: Exchange facilitation
As a start for engagement with the international academia, the BNWI is currently involved in facilitating the travel of exchange students from various programs (e. g. the IGERT program at Cornell University and internship programs from TFH – Berlin) to BDU. This includes provision of invitation letter to incoming researchers (i.e. PhD students) and assigning mentors for internship students. Most of these facilitation activities are done on the basis of a previously signed MOU between the US and German universities and BDU.
Here is the list of participants from Cornell University and TFH – Berlin:
1. Christian Guzman (Sediment modeling)
2. Morgan Ruel (Studying herbs and plants in Semien mountain parks)
3. Casey Garland (Will study bacteriological and chemical quality of rural water supply sources)
4. Matthew Hurst (Working on low cost water treatment technology)
Jennifer Zambriski (Vet. Dr.) (infectious disease epidemiology in east Africa)