Yesterday I had the opportunity to present a short piece on my work experience in Vanuatu (Vanuatu blog), with my colleague Ben Clarke, at the Global engagement discussion between GfGD and the BGS (British Geological Survey). We spoke about what we had learnt about working with geoscientists abroad, the challenges they face and our ideas on best practise.
We also got to hear about work that the BGS was undertaking abroad to help fight poverty and develop undeveloped countries. These included stories of helping the locals understand their groundwater supplies so that they might place water pumps that last and can be well maintained, helping communities understand the hazards that volcanoes pose and preparing them for disasters (projects like STREVA), running geochemical analyses on the nutrients in soils to identify and solve nutrient deficiencies in people in India and many more.
It was extremely heartening to hear of such good work being conducted by British geoscientists that was actually making a difference to the lives of poverty stricken people. It was a very inspiring afternoon that left me with the overwhelming feeling that geology, although not the only factor, is a key part of helping the developing world, improving living conditions and quality of life and fighting poverty.
Plus, the BGS provided us with such delicious sandwiches, biscuits and Danish pastries it was hard not to enjoy it!