Project Updates: Bucket Loads of Health

Update 4: July 2018

Two very important moments in the life of the Bucket Loads of Health project occurred this month. Knowledge exchange workshops brought a team of water microbiologists from Stellenbosch University (SUN) together with residents from Enkanini and Delft. These workshops provided a unique opportunity for researchers and marginalized community members to share diverse perspectives and understanding about the relationship between water and health.

The knowledge exchange workshops were held in Stellenbosch on the 10th and 18th of July. They were attended by eight participants from Enkanini (10th July) and 14 participants from Delft (18th July). Professor Wesaal Khan and 4 members of her research team (post-doctoral fellow Thando Ndlovu and PhD candidates Tanya Clements, Brandon Reyneke, and Monique Waso) took part with great enthusiasm on both days.

The Enkanini and Delft participants presented the collective community maps and individual body maps that they had made during creative workshops in an earlier phase of the project. Through these maps they described the intersectional challenges that water shortage, water restrictions and heavy rainfall bring to their lives. They used their maps as platforms in the knowledge exchange process to depict heart-felt experiences related to these contradictory situations.

Clayton DeLillie, Marilyn Jacobs and Sally February of the Delft Water Clan sharing their community maps during the Delft Knowledge Exchange workshop

Each member of the scientific team had created a personal hand map which they used to describe their journey into water microbiology. Through their hand maps, the researchers acknowledged the people in their lives who had inspired them to become scientists, and talked about other significant influences and experiences that had taken them into their current field of work. They teamed up to give a series of short, down to earth presentations – describing the trajectory of the Western Cape drought and explaining their key research goals and various methodological approaches.

Prof Wesaal Khan and Dr Thando Ndlovu learning about Vuyokazi Joxo’s body map and her story during the Enkanini Knowledge Exchange workshop

The Enkanini participants showed their collectively made film ‘Our Water Challenges‘ for the first time ever on the 10th of July. This film brings attention to the pressing issues of poor sanitation and unhygienic water and food-waste disposal in the informal settlement. It raises the participants concerns about how these situations are seriously affecting the health and wellbeing of community members, especially the children. It was developed for the key purpose of community mobilization and will be shown at a special event in Enkanini in the coming weeks.

The Enkanini group also performed an original drama that conveyed their thoughts on how the scientific team could work more effectively with co-researchers in their community. Their energetic performance raised a healthy debate about possibilities for research to give back to researched communities. Providing those involved as co-researchers with opportunities for further education was included as a priority example.

At both the of the knowledge exchange workshops, Amber Abrams of the Future Water Institute (University of Cape Town) facilitated an interactive session on the topic of grey water and health. This is a particularly relevant health-related theme during the current enforcement of water restrictions in the Western Cape.

A highlight of each of the 2 days was a visit to the SUN microbiology department, which enabled the community participants to see and experience the practical aspects of the scientists work first hand.

Update 3: June 2018

On the 26th of June, the Bucket Loads of Health (BLH) project was showcased at the Popular Education Network (PEN) 2018 pre-conference day, at Community House, in Salt River, Cape Town. The 2018 conference placed emphasis on the important link between marginalized communities and academics as equal partners in knowledge production. As equitable engagement between marginalized community members and water scientists is key focus area of the BLH project, our stall provided a highly relevant contribution to the event. The PEN conference draws a local, national and international audience, and was a great opportunity to share our project aims and activities to date.

Rory Liedeman sharing the project aims and activities

There was much interest around SLF’s work with participatory visual methods, such as the hand and body mapping methods used during the creative workshops held with participants from Enkanini and Delft earlier this year. We were able to meet and talk to people from many different organisations, and enjoyed interesting discussions around BLH and these innovative methods throughout the day.

Update 2: May 2018

Our second interactive creative workshop, was held in the last week of April over 5 days, with residents from different parts of Delft, Cape Town.

Creative workshop: mapping water in the community

The use of community mapping, body mapping and music making including the use of body percussion, as well as drama and personal storytelling enabled participants to share their knowledge, experiences and insights around water in different parts of Delft, past and present. Perspectives on research conducted in their community were also conveyed by the participants. Through these creative processes, the diversity of lived experiences with the water restrictions was highlighted, especially in terms of water access in different areas of Delft.

Update 1: March 2018

We are currently in Phase 1 of the BLH project, which comprises a series of interactive, creative workshops. In this phase, participants are working with visual and narrative methods including body mapping, and personal story telling to reflect upon their experiences around water shortage, water saving, water reuse and water disposal – and what these mean to their health and well-being. As part of the workshop process, participants are also making music to accompany their body maps and stories. We are providing some insight into these workshops with updates on each as they happen.

Our first creative workshop was held in the second half of February over 5 days, with residents of Enkanini, an informal settlement on the outskirts of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. Participants working together to link different sounds of water to memory, culture and personal experience.

Creative workshop: exploring the sounds of water

Through the use of hand mapping, community mapping, body mapping and music making, as well as drama and personal storytelling, the Enkanini participants shared their knowledge, experiences and insights around water in the informal settlement. They also conveyed their perspectives on research conducted in their community. These creative processes clearly showed that the priority of Enkanini residents in terms of their water needs are the introduction of drainage and improved sanitation.

       Hand maps

We look forward to working with the Enkanini participants again in Phase 2 of the BLH project where they will share their creative outputs with water microbiology researchers as a part of a community engagement, knowledge exchange and co-learning process.

                                                                                                        Enkanini residents creating their body maps

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