In January of this year, I joined students and professors from member-universities of the Center for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD) network on a study trip about the West Delta Water Conservation and Irrigation Rehabilitation Project (WDWCIRP) in Cairo, Egypt. The five-day study trip was an opportunity to immerse in a project that I have only read about in the prior five months of blended workshop and online teamwork. This field immersion became a process of confirming and debunking insights gained from a distance as our physical presence in the project area, close encounter with the Egyptian culture, and interviews with the different project stakeholders offered a more nuanced understanding of the concerns and controversies that arose.
At the same time, I and four other students were assigned to produce a video documentary as an alternative to a written report. This was my and the group’s first time to develop a video documentation so this made the project a scary yet a good opportunity to jump into a new expanded field of scientific communication. The same with written reports, the video project also demands adherence to scientific methods and rules.
As first-time videographers, we had to quickly learn the technical aspects of handling a camera, capturing proper video and audio and digital editing. As researchers, we also had to formulate (and reformulate) interview questions as we accumulate data and insights from each of our activities. In a word, it was constant “action!” in the field.
As I went through this novel experience, I was reminded of Inanc and Thaïs as they also captured our GESA experience in videos. I now have a better appreciation of making a video and I hope that our group’s first-time efforts capture well what we have learned in the field.
About the video
The Future of the West Delta Project (Egypt) (17:07 minutes)
By: Bach Huy Hoang; Maya Lyn C. Manocsoc; Nguyen Thi Anh Thu; Riswan Septriayadi Sianturi ; Sara Marcela Vera Aguirre
Description: The documentary film presents the West Delta Water Conservation and Irrigation Project proposed by the Government of Egypt and with financing from the World Bank. The project aims to maintain and foster agricultural growth in the West Delta, which faces pressure of groundwater depletion, by diverting water from the Nile River. The project follows a public-private partnership (PPP) model. However, the project was closed down before it can begin. The film captures the different issues and concerns of the different stakeholders including the government, financiers, private operators, big agricultural companies, and small farmers.