Khuzwayo Tembo, from Zambia, is studying for a Master’s in Sanitation.
How did you hear about IHE Delft?
I heard about IHE Delft from colleagues at the water utility company in Lusaka, Zambia, who had studied here. I chose IHE Delft because the quality of education: it is known as the most prominent water institute. The specialisation offered on sanitation also played a role as my current work is focussed on sanitation.
Why did you choose to study in the field of water?
I was not always interested in water: when I did my bachelor in civil engineering, I thought that I was going to study structural engineering for my masters. However, after working at the water utility, I realised that there is a serious need for water expertise to provide all people with access to water and sanitation.
Water-related problems in Zambia
It is a difficult situation, especially in urban areas where only about 60% of the people have access to basic water service and about 40% have access to basic sanitation. A large number of people don’t have access to these basic services. People consume unsafe, contaminated water, which leads to outbreaks of diseases such as cholera – this has been going on for many years. This is a very serious issue.
My first week and student experience
I like that we learn how to apply the theory in real cases - it is very practical. What I also found interesting is that the lecturers have their own research and expertise. Some materials used by the lecturers in the classes are also based on their own research.
I met many people from various areas in the world. I found interesting to see that many of us face the same water challenges. The mix of cultures has been very interesting, as has our sharing of various scenarios related to water issues. This helped me realise that there are different ways to find solutions for all kind of water issues. This cultural mix also helps me to understand other cultures and expand my horizon.
The teaching method has been tough because it is not easy to adapt yourself to a new way of learning - but on the other hand, it has been good for me to understand a new learning process. I like the interaction with lecturers: they are very friendly and approachable. I like the informal atmosphere in the classes. In Zambia, there is a formal atmosphere and distance between students and lecturers, while at IHE Delft, I can easily approach lectures and ask questions.
I hope to apply what I learn at IHE Delft at my work in Zambia. I work on a project called Lusaka sanitation programme which is focussed on providing safe access to toilets. My time at IHE Delft is making me interested in academia, and in learning different ways of teaching sanitation to people in Zambia and to transfer the knowledge I have learnt. I also want to share what I learn at IHE Delft through advocacy and through social media and podcasts.
More information about Sanitation.Read more