The Okavango Research Institute (ORI) of the University of Botswana was among several universities and institutes that participated at the 18th WaterNet symposium held in Namibia’s coastal city of Swakopmund recently.
WaterNet is a regional network organisation with 72 members in 15 southern and east African countries which aims to build regional human and institutional capacity in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).
The symposia have been held annually in the eastern and southern African region for the past 15 years. UB hosted the 17th Symposium in Gaborone in 2016. The Symposium promotes interaction among policymakers, academics, practitioners from water and related sectors, and cooperating partners. Together, they identify regional issues, gaps and priorities that require further research and support.
Great emphasis is placed on integration of knowledge, particularly involving scholars from the natural, medical and social sciences. A statement from ORI says the last symposium touched on several topics such as “Rethinking Integrated Water Resources Management in the Context of Ethics: a Systemic Relational Approach,” which was presented in a special session chaired by ORI Director, Professor Joseph Mbaiwa.
Other topics which were deliberated on during oral presentations were: Politics of Water in the Okavango River Basin: Contradictions in Water Use between Angola, Botswana & Namibia by Professor Mbaiwa and Dr Wame Hambira; Effective Institutions for a Green Economy: Water Resources Management and Climate Change in Botswana by Dr. Hambira; Rural Livelihoods and Household Exposure to make Malaria Transmission in the Okavango Delta, Botswana by Professors Barbara Ngwenya and Oluwatoyin Kolawole, Dr Moseki Motsholapheko and Ms Dirontsho Maphane.
Professor Keta Mosepele presented on Small Fishes, Food and Nutrition Security among Rural Communities in the Developing World, while Professor Kolawole also presented on Principles and Issues in Sustainable Water Governance in Southern Africa with Mr Reniko Gondo.
As for poster presentations, Ms Mphane, who is an Mphil student, presented on Rural Livelihoods and Household Exposure to Malaria in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Another Mphil student, Bernice Setomba, presented Trace Metal Dynamics in the Lower Okavango Delta.
One of our former MPhil students, Kefentse Mogwera of SASSCAL Project (PI= Dr Masunga) supervised by Dr Rutina, scooped the best student award out of 18 shortlisted students who presented a poster and gave an oral presentation. He received a trophy for that. Congratulations to Mogwera, and also to Drs. Masunga and Rutina for a job well done.
There was also an exhibition through which information on work ORI researchers conducted was disseminated through promotional materials such as banners, brochures, books, past students’ theses, journal articles and periodic reports.
Exhibition organiser, Ms Goitse Mongale stated that ORI and UB were able to market themselves through the exhibition such that a number of participants were interested in buying copies of books by the institution’s researchers.