FreshWater Watch in Africa - Earthwatch
Turbidity test - Upper Kafue by Clement Chiimbwe & Enock Mwangilwa

FreshWater Watch in Africa

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Fighting for healthy freshwater habitats across Africa

Pollution, climate change and over-exploitation have brought fresh water systems around the world to crisis point. In African countries, especially rural areas, the issue of water scarcity and lack of access to clean water has devastating consequences.

Working closely with local NGOs, schools and partner organisations, we enable communities in Africa to monitor the health of their precious freshwater resources and feed the results directly into national reporting for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Only 2.5% of all water in the world is fresh water, and less than 1% of this is accessible. By 2050, nearly 50% of the world’s population will be living in areas where water is scarce.

FreshWater Watch Africa at a glance

There are 7 community groups across Africa, monitoring the health of their local freshwater resources.

FreshWater Watch groups cover river catchments across Zambia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa and Sierra Leone.

780 freshwater citizen scientists have been trained as part of FreshWater Watch Africa

The film Diamonds on the Soles of our Feet documents the inspiring journey of over 200 schoolchildren in Limpopo (South Africa), as they turn into citizen scientists using the FreshWater Watch Toolkit.

How we make a difference

Empowering local communities. Fighting for global change.

FreshWater Watch Africa began with an innovative community monitoring project in Sierra Leone, Rokel River Basin.

Using our FreshWater Watch toolkit, communities learn to take water samples from their local freshwater body and measure nitrates, phosphates and turbidity. This can reveal levels of nutrient pollution and help map out the environmental threats affecting a region.

We work in close collaboration with local partners and the United Nations. The data gathered by our citizen scientists is used by local authorities to fill data gaps on water quality and improve river basin management. It also makes a difference on an international scale by harnessing the power of citizen science for the UN’s Sustainability Goals, promoting access to safe water and sanitation for all.

We sought funding for a water quality monitoring initiative for the Kafue River because of its value to the local community. We wanted to create a community of citizen scientists from local young people to protect the river’s future. After researching FreshWater Watch, seeing how simple it was and how much it would boost the outcomes of our project, we couldn’t resist signing up.

Enock Mwangilwa, Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia (WECSZ)  Wildlife a

Reading the water quality score card. Chingola, Upper Kafue River.

Photo credit: Clement Chiimbwe & Enock Mwangilwa

FreshWater Watch Africa - Sierra Leone community group

Our partners in Africa

  • Lake Victoria Basin Water Board
  • Lilongwe Water Board
  • Lilongwe Wildlife Trust
  • National Water Resources Management Authority
  • PLAN International & PLAN Malawi
  • Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute 
  • Water Resources Management Authority
  • WWF Zambia
  • United Nations


Get in touch

Want to join the fight for healthy freshwater habitats? Get in touch with our FreshWater Watch team today.


FreshWater Watch is only made possible through public support. Every donation helps us fight for healthy freshwater habitats.

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