From 27 to 1 September, IHE Delft participated in World Water Week, organized every year by the Stockholm International Water Institute. The week presented good opportunities to catch up with friends, alumni and colleagues from the water sector, as well as meeting new people. IHE Delft staff members Ioana Popescu, Mariska Ronteltap, Zaki Shubber, Uta Wehn and Titia Wouters (VIA Water) participated in sessions and we received many visitors at the IHE Delft booth.
MSc student Ramkrisha Paul and PhD Fellow Mary Luz Barrios-Hernandez joined in the activities for young water professionals. Read more about their experiences below.
Sharing sanitation solutions
Mary Luz Barrios-Hernandez, PhD fellow at IHE Delft: "Being selected to represent IHE Delft and the Water Youth Network at World Water Week in Stockholm is one of the best educational and professional experiences of my life. The conference attracted water experts from around the world. Most of them came to Stockholm to network. Sessions, events, and seminars were excellent excuses to meet interesting people. I even met the co-author of my favorite book, Faecal Sludge Management, Linda Strande (EAWAG). After explaining about the project I'm working on (Aerobic granular sludge technology and evaluating the process as a solution for septic tank sludge co-treatment with municipal wastewater), she invited me to discuss further. This was a great experience.
"Interaction, knowledge sharing and hanging out with new and old friends were also daily happenings in the conference hall. My favorite event was about a Compendium of Sanitation Technologies in Emergencies, where I offered to help on the reviewing of off-site treatment. I hope the session convenors will contact me!
"The panel discussions triggered immediate reactions to what is happening in the field and what actions are being taken around the world. For example, Latin-American and India presented similar sanitation challenges: new household connections to sewer systems, technology adaptation, and post-treatment are necessary. Lessons learned were shared with the audience. In addition, many WASH projects were discussed in the sessions; management, water policies, and governance were discussed as well.
"The Water Youth Network had the opportunity to make itself known even more at the Young Professional booth. I was actively involved in the booth and encouraged youth participation in water-related topics to be part of the network and I co-organized the WYN session. Throughout the week I shared my experiences as a PhD fellow with visitors of the IHE Delft booth," concludes Mary Luz.
Youth entrepreneurship in wastewater management
Ramkrishna Paul, MSc student in Water Quality Management: "World Water Week 2017, an event where most of the major players of the water sector com together, from The World Bank to government officials to NGOs fly down from all across the globe to discuss on water issues, innovations, experiences and to network. It was a great opportunity provided to me by IHE Delft and the Water Youth Network (WYN) to be one amongst the 3000+ participants.
"The week started off with youth participation in the water domain. As a member of the Water Youth Network I hosted the event 'A wasted potential: Bringing youth led solutions to scale'. This gave me the chance to collaborate with other talented young professionals working in the field of WASH. The session started off with sharing of experiences from Cambodia, Cape Verde and Kazakhstan on wastewater management and youth entrepreneurship, followed by round table discussions focused on tools and advice that should be provided to enable young professionals to act towards water management.
"Apart from being involved in conducting sessions, I was also attending sessions throughout the week. The majority of the sessions I attended focused on work related to WASH and river protection in India, which is of special interest to me. For example, the session on 'Circular Economy Cities: Transforming India’s Urban Wastewater' showcased ongoing research in Bangalore, India, highlighting the wastewater generation and management scenario. The session also emphasized on the reuse potential of treated wastewater and sludge.
"The World Water Week was not only about work and networking. There were also social events such as the Young Professionals Mingle, The IHE Delft Alumni gathering and the Stockholm Water Prize Ceremony, which also gave me the opportunity to network with professionals from different parts of the world and more importantly get familiar with the IHE Delft Alumni family," says Ramkrishna Paul.
Every year many IHE Delft alumni from different countries attend the World Water Week. It has become a tradition to organize a meet and greet for the alumni attending the event. The alumni gathering gives the opportunity to network as well as to catch up with partners and staff members of IHE Delft. This year, the gathering took place on Wednesday 30 August, and 20 alumni were able to attend. Mr. Johan van Dijk, IHE Delft's Business Director welcomed the alumni and highlighted the importance of the alumni community.
Alumni Officer Maria Laura Sorrentino, shared the various alumni activities and actions that are being organized in 2017, in light of the 60th anniversary of the Institute. Dr. Themba Gumbo, CapNet Director, talked about the activities and role of CapNet and Dr. Jean Marie Kileshye Onema, Network manager of WaterNet addressed several projects and partnerships in which IHE Delft alumni play a key role. Drinks followed accompanied with good conversations and networking. During the week we were very proud to meet and greet more than 30 alumni at the IHE Delft booth and in the sessions.