Author Archives: Jane Burt

About Jane Burt

Twelve year ago I started working in the water sector on a Water Research Commission funded project in the Kat River Valley Catchment, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Since then I have been involved in various WRC projects all with a focus on the democratic and sustainability imperatives of the South African National Water Act. My early interests were not only water but a passion for democracy and social and environmental justice. During this first WRC project I developed a deep love and fascination with systems of water, particularly rivers as central to social spaces. Within this socio-ecological space my interests flow around issues of power and learning. My particular interest in learning is the representation of knowledge, the politics of knowing, mediation and social learning. This leads me to investigate all sorts of ways of representing and producing knowledge for change including theatre of the oppressed, creative writing techniques, responsive workshops and web-based tools for social learning and communication. I also devour social science research methodologies that enable me to view and interrogate complex socio-ecological challenges. I am also a mindfulness trainer and practitioner. I believe that we all have a commitment towards doing as little harm as possible. Part of this commitment is working with the forces within us that perpetuate negative mind patterns which directly effect the way we are in the world.

Progress report 1

Reference Group meeting

24th May 2012


During this reference group meeting we will report back on our progress to date as well as discuss our work plan for the next year.  Nina Rivers is the new masters student on the project and she will also share with us her progress and intentions for the rest of the year.

Please find below:

  • Progress report
  • A work plan for 2012/2013
  • Masters research proposal.

Please reference as Burt, J & Lotz-Sisitka, H. 2012. Progress report 24 May 2012. WRC project K5/2074. WRC: Tswane

progress report 1

Report on Mediators training and activity systems

This deliverable addresses objective 1 of the project proposal.  A “changing practice” short course has been developed out of the first two years of research into practice based learning and mediation. This deliverable is an evaluation of the course.

Please reference this report as  Rivers, N & Burt, J. 2014. Report on mediators training and activity systems. Deliverable 7 WRC project K5/2074. WRC: Tswane

Del 7 WRC evaluation report FINAL

CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK FOR MEDIATORS TRAINING COURSE: ‘community-based social learning and NRM practices’

The first two years of this research process has focused on piloting a process of developing a written question-based resource as a mediation tool for learning in the context of local practices. The purpose was to assess the way in which learning emerges from, and in relation to, practice, providing a new perspective on ‘knowledge flows’. Our interest was to ascertain what knowledge circulates in community based water management practices, and how people have learned or are learning these practices. Further, we wanted to ascertain the knowledge that community based rain water harversters are interested in; i.e. what questions are they engaging with as they engage with their practice.

From this process we have been able to identify the skills needed to mediate practice-centred learning.  The insights gained into the meditation of knowledge in practice-centred learning have allowed us to design a participatory course for mediators and facilitators of learning at a local level.  This deliverable is the curriculum framework for this course.

Please reference the curriculum design as Burt, J; Lotz-Sisitka, H & Berold, R. 2014. Curriculum  framework for mediators training course: ‘community based social learning and NRM practices’. Deliverable 6: WRC project K5/2075/1. WRC: Tswane

Deliverable 6 final

Report on the Development of the Catalogue

This deliverable consists of the first draft of the catalogue and a report on how catalogue was developed. It responds to the aims in the following way:

  1. The report is the first step in reflecting on the process of developing the catalogue and the effectiveness of the catalogue for developing the capacity of community-based mediators of water knowledge.

The report will begin identifying the skills that are needed to develop a catalogue of this nature.

Please reference the report on the development of the catalogue as: Burt, J & Berold, R. 2014. Report on the Development of the Catalogue. Deliverable 5: WRC Project K5/2017/1. WRC: Tswane

del 5 catalogue report

Please reference the guide on how to find resources for rainwater harvesting as: Rivers, N; Wigley, T & Berold, R. 2014. Resources on rain water harvesting: Resources and how to find them. WRC report K5/2071/1. WRC: Tswane

Rain Water Harvesting catalogue may 2013

Piloting the development of a question based resource

This deliverable consists of the first draft of the question-based resource and a report on how this resource was developed. It responds to the aims in the following way:

  1. The report is the first step in reflecting on the process of developing the resource and the effectiveness of the resource for developing the capacity of community-based mediators of water knowledge.
  2. The report will begin identifying the skills that are needed to develop a resource of this nature.

Please reference the report on the question based resource as: Burt, J & Berold, R. 2013. Report on the Development of the question-based resource. Deliverable 4: WRC project K6/2071/1. WRC: Tswane

Del 4 Report on development of question driven resourcrelRain Water Harvesting Resource final version may 2013

Please reference the question based resource as: Wigley, T & Berold R. 2013. Rain Water Harvesting for Homes and Home Food Gardens. Resource document for WRC K5/2071/1. WRC: Pretoria

Rain Water Harvesting Resource final version may 2013

Fieldwork Report

This deliverable is a summary of the thesis by Charles Phiri.  Its relevance to the overall project is that it shows how the use of any resource has to provide spaces of reflection both for the communities engaged in a WRM process and for practitioners assisting communities.

Please reference this report as: Burt, J; Phiri, C & Berold, R. 2013. Fieldwork report. Deliverable 3: Fieldwork report. WRC project K5/2074/1. WRC: Tswane

Del 3 fieldwork report

Project design and identification of site for research

This is Deliverable 2 of the WRC project no. K5/2071. It documents the overall project design and project phases as well as how the site of research was identified.

The document reference is: Burt, J; Lotz-Siskta, H; Berold, R & Phiri, C. 2011. Project design and identification of site for research. Deliverable 2: WRC project no K5/2071.

Del 2 project design

Review of social learning literature relevant to knowledge flow in the water sector

This was the first deliverable for the WRC project no K5/2074: Change-oriented learning and water management practices.  It is a literature review of social learning and mediation and their relevance to knowledge flow in the water sector

As we come to grips with the complexity of the relationship between the environment and human development, it is no longer feasible to view learning and management as two separate processes.  The practice of water resource management is no exception.  Practice has shifted from technicist management focused on demand and delivery to integrated approaches coordinating the management of water, land and other resources so as to meet economic and  social needs in an equitable manner and to ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem.

The studies summarised in this literature review demonstrate how social learning has become a key concept in all areas of natural resource management.

The reference for this document is: Burt, J; Berold, R & Rivers, N. 2011. Review of social learning literature relevant to knowledge flow in the water sector. Deliverable 1. WRC project K5/2071

Del 1 review of SL and knowledge flow in Water sector


This is the final report for the WRC research project on Change Oriented learning and Water Management Practices.

This report should be referenced: Burt J.; Lotz-Sisitka, H; Rivers, N.; Berold, R.; Ntshudu, M.; Wigley, T.; Stanford, M.; Jenkin, T.; Buzani, M.; Kruger, E. 2015. The role of knowledge in a Democratic Society: Investigations into mediation and change-oriented learning in water management practices. WRC Report No. 2074/1/13

Final Report compiled 23 March

SAWC Gender and Water dialogues 18th October 2018

This was a special meeting of the SAWC, held the day before the Multi-Stakeholder symposium on Water Governance, where participants from the ‘Citizen Monitoring of the NWRS2’ project would present their case studies and findings. The rationale for this SAWC meeting was threefold:

1) since many of the SAWC coodinating committee and other members were travelling to Goedgedacht for the symposium, it was a good opportunity to hold a face to face meeting;

2) the case studies that were developed through the Changing Practice course, as part of the Citizen Monitoring project, need to be taken up and used within the caucus – this meeting was intended to strengthen that link, and to hand the case studies over to the national water caucus;

3) the issue of gender has been raised at SAWC meetings in the past, and emerged as one of the issues needing careful attention during the Changing Practice Course. Leila Harris, a gender and water specialist from UBC (University of British Columbia) offered to lead a discussion on gender dynamics within the water sector, an opportunity which was welcomed by the SAWC CC.

It was decided to appoint external facilitators, so that all members of the SAWC present could fully engage with the meeting, without simultaneously needing to hold the process. Theresa Edelman and Themba Lonzi, who have many years of experience, were brought in as our facilitators.

The meeting opened with freestyle drumming, led by Themba Lonzi, welcoming participants into the space with energy and passion.

This is a report written by the Environmental Monitoring Group and should be referenced as follows EMG, 2016, SAWC meeting with gender focus. Multi-stakeholder workshop on Water Governance. Goedgedacht, Western Cape, 18th October 2018

SAWC meeting_gender_18 Oct