Blog: Young AfriAlliance’s first attendance at the Stockholm World Water Week!
Stakeholders in the water sector from all over the world convene once a year in Stockholm for the World Water Week. I had the opportunity to attend this year’s event as part of AfriAlliance. I actively took part in a session AfriAlliance was part of organizing and took the time to network and make connections with water practitioners from all over the world throughout the week.
I attended the World Water Week as part of the organization of African Spatial Delight, a session convened by AfriAlliance, G4AW and ViaWater. My primary role during the session was facilitator, but I also contributed as logistical support. This was my first time facilitating a session at such an event. The session was focused on data and how different sources of data can be used with practical tools to help solve water and climate related challenges for a wide range of stakeholders. It was set up as a supermarket where 11 products were presented to the audience where they were able to learn a great deal about ongoing innovations in a very interactive session. A discussion was held after the supermarket was closed with the participants and the salespeople. This was an opportunity for the audience members to learn about the products they didn’t get to discover and to make connections for future collaboration. As the facilitator of the session, I was in an ideal position to make new connections.
World Water Week was my first time attending an event of such size and magnitude. I was keen on taking the opportunity to network and meet new people. As I’m nearing the end of my Msc program, my future career prospects have become a high priority item on my agenda. I made a great deal of connections and met many high level officials such as the Kenyan ambassador to UNESCO and the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock from Burundi. These high level connections have given me a better idea of what I want to do later on with my career. More importantly, I made some more practical connections based on AfriAlliance outputs I was working on, namely the MOOC (massive online open course), which is a tool used by many organizations to disseminate information. I found potential future collaboration with Wageningen University and/or IHE Delft to develop online material on decentralized water systems.
Prior to working on AfriAlliance, water was not necessarily a focus area. But during the week, I learned the extent to which water was crucial for every sector. Whether it’s with respect to environmental sciences, gender, peace, etc., different sessions had many panellists and speakers who shared key insights on how to tackle water challenges from different angles and perspectives. This week was one of learning, connecting and discovery. Nevertheless, research is not where I want my focus to be. I want to work engaging stakeholders and implementing climate change adaptation.
Lastly, Stockholm is a very beautiful city with a rich history. Throughout the week, a cocktail reception was held in Stockholm City Hall, a Royal banquet attended by Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and multiple other events were organized for young professionals to socialize. The program encouraged interaction among water practitioners attending World Water Week with a beautiful city in the background.
I would greatly encourage future members of Young AfriAlliance to attend World Water Week in the coming years as it is a one of a kind opportunity to learn about water and interact with practitioners in the water sector from all over the world for future collaboration.
This blog post was written by Joel Angoran – IHE Delft