Danneille Antoinette Townsend

The past 18 months has been nothing short of amazing. Being a graduate of the largest international water education facility in the world is a dream come true. I benefitted from the experiences and knowledge of over 150 students from over 50 countries who shared worldwide water challenges and who are now further equipped to grapple with the solutions to these water problems.

Latin America and the Caribbean
Jamaica Latin America and the Caribbean

What were your expectations when you applied at IHE Delft? And were these expectations met? 

When I applied to IHE Delft, I had the main professional development goal to slightly shift career focus and build capacity in water resources assessment at the regional and international level. At IHE Delft I expected a global outlook on water issues, as well as exposure to cutting edge and trending tools, knowledge, and technology used in water management. I believe for the most part I gained all of this and learned a lot. I was exposed to new concepts within water management and governance and I have built capacity in the use of tools to assess water resources.

The numerous modules, the endless assignments and intense exams, kept me focused and alert throughout the period which culminated in a research thesis that helped me to apply the new knowledge learned. Overall, being at IHE created new experiences for me, through which I have garnered new colleagues and a larger network to play my role in the world of water management

What can IHE Delft do to improve the impact of its programmes to support water management in SIDS?

The institute has a global reach with respect to its students and alumni which is what sets it apart from many other institutions. With respect to the modules, some effort could be directed in highlighting the water challenges faced in small islands more and the applications of tool therein. For me, I think many IHE Delft professors (from my own WMG experience) had most of their expertise and experience in Africa and South Asian countries.

Therefore having professionals with experience or knowledge in small island water challenges would help to balance the experiential learning and application of water solutions. As an event suggestion, a special SIDS water symposium could be organized and held within the 18 months for present and past students highlighting work done and needed in the various small-islands specific to research in the Caribbean and other small islands. Also, maybe a research group could be initiated as a part of the thesis project offerings as a deliberate and focused effort to expand research in the Caribbean/ Small Islands (which does not have to be limited to only SIDS students).

How do you intend to apply your lessons learned?

I am seeking to join regional networks and to align myself with organizations that will utilize my new-found knowledge and capacity. Having done research in assessing water supply vulnerability to climate change and quantified the contribution of rainwater harvesting, I would like to extend this kind of work to a level of implementation within the Caribbean on a large scale to help to solve the water security challenges that are exacerbated by climate change and other factors.

In addition, I did receive in depth policy analysis training and water resource planning training that I would like to utilize on a regional level to establish and strengthen existing policies in the Caribbean.

How will you stay in touch with your fellow SIDS students and what could IHE Delft do to consolidate a community of practice amongst SIDS water professionals?

There is currently an active SIDS WhatsApp group with present and past IHE Delft students (for both scholarship and non-scholarship holders) that grows each year. However, as a more formal network, a professional group could be formed on Linkedin or some other platform to maintain the connections professionally. 

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