Geo Expertise is active in the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as an essential tool for decision making in the fields of natural resources management as well as in social and economic research and human rights monitoring.
The human toll of the Syrian crisis is overwhelming. As of September 2016, 6.1 million Syrians are internally displaced, 4.8 million have fled as refugees, and a total of 13.5 million need urgent humanitarian assistance. Such conflicts, characterised by high levels of violence, and an increasing deprivation of basic services and protection, pose a heightened risk for the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society, particularly women and children. The objective of the project is to strengthen the capacities of women by providing skilled women in the field of engineering and economics with training on writing project proposals, designing and managing water rehabilitation projects. While there are several ways for Syrian women to achieve greater engagement in the current and post-conflict environment, water management represents an important channel through which women can participate in significant decision-making and peacebuilding processes. Merging the skills and capacities of women with the potential for cooperation presented by water management projects provides a key opportunity for Syrian women to play an active role in important decision-making processes both during and post-conflict.
Groundwater constitutes an important and reliable water resource in arid- and semi-arid regions. Groundwater resources in these dry climates are particularly vulnerable to abstraction and changing precipitation patterns. Observing and modelling hydrogeological processes in arid and semi-arid regions remains a challenge in hydrogeology. For example, precipitation dynamics feature a high spatial and temporal variability. This leads to complex infiltration, evaporation and recharge dynamics and spatial patterns. Emerging remote sensing technologies provide new means to observe hydrological fluxes across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. This project aims at developing new hydrogeological methods based on remote sensing to quantify how large-scale changes to water consumption and atmospheric forcing affect hydrogeological systems. The focus area is the Orontes (Asi) catchment which extends across parts of Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey. The project is led by Center for Hydrogeology and Geothermics (CHYN), Université de Neuchâtel in collaboration with Geo Expertise.
Access to water for both domestic and agricultural purposes remains a critical issue in Syria. Water is not only essential to emergency relief; it is also integral to longer-term prospects. Prior to the conflict water supply systems for domestic usages and for irrigation were managed by state services. In areas out of control of the Syrian government, state services have collapsed. while in areas under its control they are often unable to manage water supply networks. Supporting local committees to restore the access to water is not only a response to a critical need, but also a means to strengthen these committees and engage them in negotiating with a more or less wide range of actors (water users, local power structures, economic actors…) to establish viable management systems.
The Jawban and Jalamah station project is part of the Geo Expertise program, in collaboration the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, on water sharing as a means to strengthen social cohesion in Syria. The program pays particular attention to the management of water by users (Water User Association).
The Jawban – Jalamah station project (case study) aims at providing safe water to 18,000 persons among which 50% are IDPs. The large majority of IDPs is waiting to return to their home villages. Beyond the repairs of the station, the project as set up two training courses on water management and infrastructure maintenance. Training courses are attended by members of the project and inhabitants of nearby villages Video.
The project focuses on the restoration and management of the Jalamah, Mirkan and Jawban water supply networks. It is located close to Afrin in northwestern Syria. The work is conducted by the Geo Expertise team, which is composed of Syrian water engineers and technicians, in collaboration with the population.
The project provides safe water to over 21’600 persons, 50% are displaced persons, and has led to the creation of seven water user associations. The latter are in charge of the management of the water supply networks in collaborations with local councils. The local population is composed essentially of Kurds while displaced are Arabs and Turkmen from various locations (Rif Damascus, Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, Idlib and Deir Az Zour). Some of the Kurdish population left the area and part has returned. The movement took place in three waves; fleeing the Damascus regime then the people’s protection forces and more recently the Turkish olive branch operation.
Beyond the management of water supply networks, water user associations play an important role in strengthening links between locals and displaced persons. Prior to the conflict water supply was managed by the state with no participation of the population or municipalities. State organizations have collapsed as a result of the conflict or are unable to provide restoration and management of water networks in most part of the country. In many locations, local councils (formal or informal) do not have competences to restore and manage water supply networks. Water, of unknown quality, is then provided by tanks at a high cost. This was the case in the villages supplied by the pumping stations of Jalamah, Mirkan and Jawban. Tanks delivered water to the population at an average cost of 2’600 Syrian pounds per cubic meter of water.
Seven water user associations, one per village, were created including both local and displaced populations. Water user associations are responsible for collecting water fees and identifying maintenance needs of the network. The project paid for operational costs for 3 months in order to demonstrate the viability of the networks and allow water user associations to build up cash flow. The water fee in the study area is set up at 2’000 Syrian pounds per house and per month. It is estimated that 5% of the families will not pay the fee due to their economic situation. Water user associations elect three members who represent the association at the concerned pumping station. Their role in Jawban and Mirkan is furthermore to define the allocation of water per village.
The project aims to document and analyse the effects of the conflict in Syria on the mobility of Syrians for professional and personal purposes. The results will initially allow us to better understand the travel habits of Syrians and the constraints and obstacles to the way they perceive the different modes of mobility, and the risks before and during the conflict. Secondly, the results will highlight the effects of conflict-induced damage to transport infrastructure on the mobility of people in two different regions. These results will be used to better define the solutions that will allow, to rebuild infrastructures and guarantee the mobility of people in a more economical, ecological, safer and faster way in the post-conflict society. The project is conducted by University of Lausanne in collaboration with Geo Expertise.
In collaboration with Solidarité International, Geo Expertise had implemented a hydrogeological survey in Azaz area. the objective is to identify wells with sufficient flow to supply five IDP camps in Azaz region.
Geo Expertise completed a rehabilitation assessment of the Al Ruj irrigation scheme and began implementing the project in collaboration with Zaytoona and Nada association. The project comprises the rehabilitation of irrigation canals, the repair or replacement of pumps and the installation of two electric generators.
The current phase aims at restoring irrigation on 700 hectares for the production of food crops such as wheat, legumes and vegetables in order to raise the level of food security. It is expected that the production of wheat will be increased by 2,000 tons without over drafting groundwater resources. The project provides employment for farmers, experts, engineers and technicians. It contributes to improving livelihoods and reduces immigration. The number of beneficiaries of the project is estimated at 28,000 comprising 55% children.
To ensure continuity of the project, a local management system was developed based on the establishment of a water user association and a funding plan was designed including the private sector, water users and funding agencies. The project funded from the Qatar Red Crescent. Video, Ar Ruj Rehabilitation Project Flyer
The Program has documented in north western and central Syria 25 water supply networks crossed by demarcation lines and/or ethno-sectarian territorial limits. The rehabilitation and management of these water networks requires the establishment of a negotiation and mediation process involving all stakeholders. A pilot project is conducted in north western Syria with the support of the Human Security Division of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs.
This regional map will take into account the topographical, natural and environmental factors as well as the socio-cultural and economic characteristics of the Syrian space.
The program aims at building capacity to support small-scale private irrigation and improve production technics. It also aims at defining potential irrigation areas using satellite images and field data. Remote sensing is essential to locate irrigation development potential, to define small-scale irrigation development strategies and to strengthen advocacy capacities of farmer organizations. Read more
Humanitarian aid in Syria is by far insufficient and widely considered a tragic failure. Humanitarian aid interventions carried out by international organizations are strongly hindered by a series of obstacles to reach the people in need of assistance. Syrian civil society organizations are some of the most capable bodies to operate in the country. Their work is largely unknown or ignored. Some organizations, mainly confessional charity associations, were created before the conflict; the large majority of these organizations were formed during the conflict. Their members (he or she) are physician, engineer, pharmacist, professor, student, nurse, lawyer, farmer. Read more
Geo Expertise had conducted in collaboration with the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) a campaign of collect geo-referenced data and satellite imagery analysis to assess the state of agriculture in Orontes Basin and North East of Syria. This study has contributed to assess the state of the agriculture sector and has identified the areas where the security and social condition allow to develop a rehabilitation project(Ar Ruj, Azmarin, Aldousat, ...). The project monitired the state of irrigation schemes and assessed rehabilitation needs. Read more
Dans le cadre du projet des Nations Unis pour la santé de la femme et de l’enfant, Geo Expertise a collaboré avec l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé sans son projet pilote dans 5 pays sur l’analyse de l’accessibilité géographique des services de soins.
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