Dr. Nathan Cooper visited The Gambia last week as part of a team of three researchers investigating the feasibility of using smart water pumps to improve access to water for people in remote villages.
Nathan interviewed village water committee members in order to better understand the existing socio-legal framework governing local water resources, and to begin to explore the potential implications for this framework of new smart pump technology. One village chief also gave permission for a water pump to be filmed using a motion sensor camera, that documents who uses the pump, when and for how long. This information will further inform the researchers’ understanding of the cultural context in which access to water operates.
Nathan and colleagues were also invited to meet the Honourable Mr. Gomez, the newly appointed Minister for Water, in Banjul. The potential of smart pump technology to help meet the country’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals was discussed at length, particularly in relation to Goal 6a and b and the inclusion of international partnerships and local communities. The Minister expressed his interest in developing ongoing dialogue with the researchers, and in following the success of the smart pump field trials, which will be completed in April.