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.

Designs and action plans for case studies using social learning

This is the fifth deliverable in the NWRS2 citizen monitoring project. It focuses on the social learning ‘changing practice’ course that has been designed to support citizen-monitoring through four case studies. Course participants are active on water issues in each of the case study areas. They are linked to their local anchor organisation, which provides support to the learners, ‘takes up’ the research through implementing actions that arise, and provides institutional support to their Provincial Water Caucus (PWC). Thus the learning is designed to ‘ripple’ through various levels from individual learner, to anchor organisation, to PWC, to the national SA Water Caucus (SAWC) and to the sector more broadly; and ultimately to strengthen civil society in the water sector. 

Continue reading

Draft citizen monitoring guidelines: What do local activists need and how can they support and be supported by DWS to monitor the implementation of NWRS2 and other water policies

This is the fourth deliverable of the research project civil society’s monitoring of the NWRS2. It documents guidelines that are drawn out of the rich history of the South African Water Caucus and the experiences of the South African Water Caucus members on the Changing Practice course while doing their Change Projects. the guidelines were presented back to the participants of the Changing Practice course and circulated to South African Water Caucus members for comment.

The document highlights how the guidelines were put together in the introduction as follows:

‘Deliverable 4 draws together insights gained so far to create a first draft of the Guidelines that are intended to help citizens – and those that work with citizens – in the citizens’ monitoring of the NWRS2. The guidelines follow on and draw on work done earlier in this project. These guidelines are draft in that they are likely to be modified in the light of learnings in the rest of the project. The guidelines in final form will be part of the final report. If warranted, additional money will be raised to layout and print the guidelines in a handy, accessible form for civil society and their allies.

Please reference this report as Munnik, V & Wilson, J. 2015.  Draft citizen monitoring guidelines: What do local activists need and how can they support and be supported by DWS to monitor the implementation of NWRS2 and other water policies. WRC project 2303. WRC: Pretoria.

To access this full report please click on the image below.

Investigating Context and Practice: Report on social learning module 1 and introduction to case study areas

This is the third deliverable of the Citizens monitoring of the NWRS2 project and the first deliverable on the Changing Practice course.

This report provides an overview of the organisational framework in which the social learning component of this project will be conducted, as well as an overview of the first social learning module, the participants and the context of the case studies.

Continue reading

Assessing the role of civil society in South African water policy within the context of legal requirements and democratic discourse

This is the 2nd deliverable of the Citizen monitoring of the NWRS2  (National Water Resource Strategy 2) research project.

This report presents an assessment of the role of civil society in the South African water sector, with a particular emphasis on the South African Water Caucus (SAWC), a network of NGOs, CBOs, a trade union and individual activists in the South Africa water sector, active since 2001. The report aims to make this role explicit through a process of comparison and reflection. Such knowledge should be useful in strengthening this role – or as we shall seeafter analysis – these multiple roles.

Continue reading

Deliverable 1: Report on a workshop on methodology, framework and scope of civil society policy assessment and action research; and on planning with lead action researchers to refine methodology and agree on initial case-site research.

This is the first deliverable for the Citizen Monitoring of the NWRS2 (National Water Resource Strategy 2) research project through which the Changing Practice for the South African Water Caucus was run. It documents our first research workshop together which was attended by Environmental Monitoring Group staff (who were the implementors of the research program), Rhodes University academic Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka, myself, Dr Victor Munnik and members of the South African Water Caucus coordinating committee. It was a vibrant workshop which set the tone for meaningful learning relationships throughout the research project.

Continue reading

The Mediating Processes within Social Learning: Women’s Food and Water Security Practices in the Rural Eastern Cape

Nina Rivers was the second Masters student on the Changing Practice and knowledge mediators research process and course. She upgraded her Masters to a Phd and is now Dr Nina Rivers.

Nina was an active participant in the research and the course. She co-authored reports, was a mentor on the course and evaluated the course for us. No wonder her Masters became a Phd. She writes:

Continue reading

About

Who am I?  

IMG_7725

A lifetime 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 and social relationships. 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.  My hero’s are Paulo Freire,  Steve Biko and Donavan-Ross Costaras. My heroine’s are Ursula le Guin , bell hooks, my wild-women friends, my intellectual mentors and my sister.

I am also a mindfulness  and Buddhist 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. Doing this training with compassion for myself and others is one of the most rewarding and most challenging journeys.

AN INVESTIGATION OF COMMUNITY LEARNING THROUGH PARTICIPATION IN INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

Charles Phiri was a Masters student at the Environmental Learning Research Centre, Rhodes University, working on this first research project on knowledge, mediation and learning. He did his fieldwork during the first year of the WRC project K5/2017. One of our questions around learning was understanding how communities learn in their day to day lives. How do people share knowledge amongst themselves and how do they access new knowledge and integrate this into their daily practices. This is what Charles Phiri investigated for us.

Continue reading