Speaker: Dr David Hemson
Dr David Hemson approaches the topic of safe and reliable sources of drinking water throughout Africa, Asia and other continents. Exploring unmotivated contractors, corruption, poor project management and also systemic crises of local government, Dr Hemson dips into all avenues of the crucial topic.
Speaker: Dr David Hemson, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in South Africa and co-editor of the book Poverty and Water
Discussant: Dr Antonio Ioris, School of Geosciences
Billions of people in Africa, Asia and other continents still await the promise of safe drinking water and improved sanitation. The MDG promise is modest; to half the numbers without water and sanitation and the definitions of safe water are fuzzy and imprecise. In this context some progress is being made but the extension of water services to remote areas where the poorest of the planet live is often inadequate, unsafe and unreliable. Delivery is hampered by a lack of resources, unmotivated contractors, corruption, poor project management and systemic crises of local government. Funding from northern agencies comes nowhere near their Millennial promise and this leaves the poorest countries with the burden and responsibility of making the major contribution.
Still much is being learnt in new applications off-grid and away from water networks which aim to lessen dependence plants on external energy sources and professional expertise. With the benefit of experience in a number of projects in Africa, Dr Hemson presents explorations of existing technologies and new prototypes. He argues that the existing funding models of scientific research hamper the genuine transfer of technologies and scientific knowledge and scientists coming closer to meeting the needs of the rural poor. Poor people also find appropriate technologies as inferior and ambiguous to their emancipation, assume equality and ask the question: “What toilet do you use?”. Intellectual collaboration across countries and disciplines with social commitment is needed to realize the potential of new technology in the interests of world-wide social emancipation and the survival of the human project.
David Hemson has over 19 years of accumulated experience in water policy, impact evaluation, and municipal service delivery, principally with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in South Africa. He is a researcher who has actively supported the struggle of the disposed to achieve a better life through accessing life sustaining household services in water, sanitation and energy. He pioneered the innovative “implementation research” project Accelerating Sustainable Water Services Delivery (ASWSD) which brought together 17 scientific bodies and implementation agencies to speed delivery of safe drinking water in the most remote areas of South Africa. He has served as the water expert in the MCC Lesotho impact evaluation project since 2009. He was responsible for developing water modules for the Impact Evaluation Multipurpose Survey, designing the impact evaluation designs for the urban and rural water projects, and analyzing baseline data for the impact evaluation. While at HSRC, Dr. Hemson led 14 water-related research projects, wrote numerous research reports, published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He co-edited the book Poverty and Water and his research on cholera has been featured in the feature film FLOW. He is adept at a wide range of research techniques, including statistical analysis of small and large-scale survey datasets, focus groups and key informant interviews, cost-benefit analysis, and questionnaire design. He is currently working with engineers in South Africa, Germany and the United States to produce new package water plants and other innovations to meet the needs of the rural poor in water and energy using solar-voltaic designs.
Further information available from www.abdn.ac.uk/sustainable-international-development or email email@example.com.
Hosted by: Centre for Sustainable International Development
Venue: Room 0.28, MacRobert Building, University of Aberdeen