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Last month Franklin Koch, Computational Geophysicist and Developer at Seequent, travelled over 13,000 km from Calgary, Alberta to Northern Uganda. Franklin joined the geophysics team from Advisian, an independent consulting arm of the WorleyParsons Group, to help find, manage, and understand the geology and freshwater resources in Uganda. The team worked in the Gulu district in Northern Uganda, which is largely populated by the Acholi people.

The main sponsor of this project was Geoscientists without Borders – a group launched by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG). Support in Uganda is currently being provided by IsraAID, an NGO that provides emergency humanitarian aid around the world. All those involved are outlined succinctly in Paul Bauman’s Facebook post about the project. 

The Gulu District Project

The team was focused on helping the Acholi people in the Gulu district find and manage their water resources. They were primarily focused on working and sharing knowledge with local students, so that these students could take over some of the work once the team left. They did this a few ways: by running geophysics educational classes, showing students how to repair and improve existing water hand pumps, and completing geophysics surveys for mapping. 

Paul Bauman, Technical Director of Geophysics at WorleyParsons, was part of the Advisian team working in Uganda with Franklin. He’s been in Gulu twice before running educational classes, completing geophysical surveys, and generally helping the Acholi people manage their water resources. His previous trips are documented on his blog, and he’s documented this trip on his Facebook page.

Franklin planned to create a geologic model of the area using Leapfrog Geo, based on existing and new regional datasets. The team was hoping to centralise these resources and help the local community find nearby freshwater resources.

Why the Gulu District?

Gulu is a large city in Northern Uganda that’s primarily populated by the Acholi people, an ethnic group from Northern Uganda and South Sudan. This group suffered greatly during the civil war between rebel groups (largely led by Joseph Kony) and the Museveni government of Uganda for over two decades. During the war, hundreds of thousands of Acholi people were displaced, and many ended up in displacement camps with extremely high mortality rates. When the war finally ended, the Acholi people were able to move back to their villages – however, they found their villages were desolate of resources, with their housing largely destroyed and existing water and agricultural resources gone.

Follow Their Progress

Read Franklin’s journal entries from his time in Uganda. Start with Journal #1.

Follow Paul Bauman on his geophysics Facebook page, as he also posted captivating images and fascinating updates during their time in Gulu.

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