On January 7, 2016, seven Calgary geophysicists travelled to Kenya with the NGO IsraAID. The group was volunteering to find safe groundwater for the approximately 185,000 refugees living in the UNHCR Kakuma Refugee Camp, located near the borders of Uganda, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.


The water situation is critical in Kakuma, with most areas receiving between 14 and 19 liters of water per person per day. In comparison, the average Canadian uses about 280 liters per person per day in household consumption. The team used modern geophysical exploration methods to help improve both the quantity and quality of water available to both the refugee and host Turkana communities.


Kakuma is situated within the host community of the Turkana population. Although life is difficult inside thte camp, it is a different kind of dificult for the Turkana people. While refugees receive some food, water, and support from NGOs, the Turkana population faces the same challenging conditions without outside assistance.


Besides improving the overall water situation in the Camp, the program was designed to improve peoples' livelihoods by giving them the tools needed for further education, employment or internships with the Turkana County public utility, or opportunities with other NGOs working within the Camp. The team of Canadians taught a 2 week course in groundwater and geophysical water exploration to students who consisted of refugees and host community Turkana. These students joined the crew, and helped perform the geophysical surveys.