Posts tagged ‘UNESCO-IHE’

February 7, 2017

Nile Basin Water Journalists, Researchers Excited By a UNESCO-IHE Project Targeting Bringing Them Together

Fredrick Mugira
February 07, 2017

Dr. Emanuele Fantini, the Project Manager, Open Water Diplomacy Lab in the middle with officials from project partner organisations

Dr. Emanuele Fantini, the Project Manager, Open Water Diplomacy Lab in the middle with officials from project partner organisations

For over 20 years Ishraga Abbas has practiced professional journalism in Sudan – one of the most water-stressed countries on the earth – she has had an ambiguous relationship with water researchers.

She actually does not remember teaming up with any water researcher to work on a water story based on the researcher’s findings. In the answer to the obvious question – why hasn’t she been collaborating with water researchers? She says: “Some researchers shy away from journalists. They prefer communicating their findings to their fellow researchers only.”

This ambiguous relationship can perhaps even trace its roots back to journalists. Some journalists misrepresent the researchers’ facts; lack exposure to water issues or simply are not interested in covering the multifaceted water issues.

This subsequently manifests itself, as neglected coverage of water stories. But, a new project –Open Water Diplomacy Lab – has kicked off targeting bringing journalists, water scientists and researchers together.

Among others, Open Water Diplomacy Lab addresses the needs and demands of water journalists in terms of facilitated access to potential sources of information – getting scientific research on water communicated in an accessible and ready to use, meeting and working with water researchers and water diplomats – and opportunities to support and promote media coverage on water issues. The project focuses on the Nile basin and it is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs “Global Partnership for water and development”.

“First, we are going to study how Nile issues are communicated in both mainstream and social media in Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Building on the research findings we will develop join training activities for journalists and scientists coming from the Nile countries. Finally, they will be pulled together to work at original projects to promoted shared narratives about the Nile, overcoming the mainstream national interest perspective” explains Emanuele Fantini, Senior Researcher at UNESCO-IHE and project coordinator.

He was speaking at the kick-off workshop “Mapping Nile controversies: media, science and water diplomacy” held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2017.

Now, journalists like Ishgara – who actually attended this workshop – say this project will boost the quality of water journalism in the Nile basin.

Likewise, Dagim Terefe, an Ethiopian journalist and documentary maker states that Open Water Diplomacy Lab project will help to give birth to a generation of journalists that specifically concentrate on investigating River Nile issues.

Such journalists, as Dagim notes: “Will no longer write the story of the sharing of Nile waters with a nationalistic thinking as it is now but an informed broader context that caters for other countries where the Nile meanders.”

True. This is a responsibility journalists in the Nile basin cannot simply walk away from. It makes sense to believe that journalists have a crucial role to play in ending the Nile wars between countries that share this longest river on the planet.

Actually, Wondwosen Seide, a doctoral student at Lund University in Sweden, who has been researching on the River Nile issues for the last 10 years, believes that Nile wars are: “Mainly in the media landscape than on ground.”
According to Wondwosen, this project is: “Very crucial in bridging controversies and contradicting reporting among the riparian states.”

It is no surprise that this project, will lead to a more responsive relationship between journalists and water researchers. And as Prof. Dr. Yacob Arsano of Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia argues, this project will bring journalists and researchers together to identify the real issues in the Nile discourse.

Against such a background, Open Water Diplomacy Lab will truly breed journalists that can help researchers and agencies working on the Nile to disseminate the story of the Nile.

Having story of the Nile in the media, as Dr. Wubalem Fekade, the head of the Social Development and Communication Unit at the Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) based in Addis Ababa contends, would: “Help decision and policy makers in the Nile basin to make very enlightened and bold decisions that contribute to sustainable management of the river.”

It is easy to understand that water is a strategic resource for livelihoods. This is the reason why Atta el-Battahani, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Khartoum contends that: “It is important that we know about it so that we can manage it very well for the benefit of the people.”

April 27, 2014

Rotary, UNESCO-IHE Announce the First Graduating Class from a Scholarship Program to Improve Water and Sanitation in Underserved Communities

WaterSan Perspective
April 27, 2014

The first class of five Rotary sponsored scholars has graduated with Master of Science degrees in water education from the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. The graduates now will apply their education to water and sanitation projects in their home countries of Argentina, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Rotary International Logo

Rotary International Logo

Established in 2011, the partnership between Rotary and UNESCO-IHE — the world’s largest graduate water education facility — addresses the global water and sanitation crisis by increasing the ranks of trained professionals critically needed to devise, plan and implement solutions in countries where communities lack access to clean water and safe sanitation.

Rotary provides scholarship grants that enable local Rotary clubs and districts to select and sponsor eligible students to the program. Rotary members mentor the students throughout the program, building positive relationships that continue after graduation.

“We’re proud of the Rotary and UNESCO-IHE partnership and especially proud of our first class of Rotary water scholars, who will now use their expertise to develop sustainable water and sanitation solutions in their home countries,” said Rotary Foundation Trustee Stephen R. Brown.

“The mentoring of the students by Rotary clubs and Rotary members – during their studies at UNESCO-IHE, as well as after they return home – is essential to the success of the scholarship program. These relationships and networks will enable students to effectively implement their skills in their own local communities. Their work to improve water and sanitation conditions will have a positive, lasting impact around the world.”

His sentiments are echoed by UNESCO-IHE Rector AndrásSzöllösi-Nagy. “I am confident that as these young professionals return home, they will continue to play a vital role in managing our water systems in a sustainable way for future generations,” he said. “As alumni, they will remain part of the largest network of water professionals and become part of an extensive network of fellow Rotary scholarship recipients and Rotarians worldwide.”

For example, graduate Bernice Asamoah, of Ghana, plans a hygiene project that will use solar power to disinfect water for communal toilet facilities. Graduate Kenechukwu “Kaycee” Okoli, of Nigeria, knows the value of public education, especially to empower children to become change agents. “The objective is to visit schools and to teach children and adolescents basic sanitation habits,” he said.

Andras Szollosi-Nagy, the Rector UNESCO-IHE

Andras Szollosi-Nagy, the Rector UNESCO-IHE

Another graduate, TemesgenAdamu, of Ethiopia, points to the World Health Organization’s statistics indicating that about 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation, and over 783 million people lack access to clean drinking water.

“In my home country, the water quality is poor, safe water and sanitation facilities are inaccessible and water based diseases widespread,” Adamu said.

Graduate Gonzalo Duró, of Argentina, said he learned the critical importance of “cooperation between partners, institutions and professionals” in developing solutions to water and sanitation issues, while Uganda’s Godfrey Baguma appreciated the practical nature of the studies.

“I am now able to address water and sanitation issues in a more integrated and technical manner,” Baguma said, adding that his interactions with Rotary members helped make Delft “a home away from home.”

Building on the success of the first class, the second class of students – 16 in total – began graduate studies in October 2013 and will graduate in 2015. Applications for the scholarship program can be found here:

The UNESCO-IHE graduates become part of a vast network of Rotary Foundation alumni, consisting of 120,000 leaders and change agents around the world. Since 1947, more than 43,000 students and fellows have received Rotary scholarships supporting studies in a variety of disciplines representing a total investment of more than US$557 million.

The students’ thesis focused on various fields as indicted below:
– TemesgenAdamu (Ethiopia), thesis: “Impact of Climate change, land use changes and water resource management on the hydrology of Rib-Gumera Catchment, Ethiopia”
– Godfrey Peterson Baguma (Uganda), thesis: “Pathogen removal in a low-coast AnammoxDwonflow Hanging Sponge reactor”
Kenechukwu “Kaycee” Okoli (Nigeria), thesis: “Hydraulic Modelling: Uncertainty Estimation and Comparison”
– Bernice Asamoah (Ghana), thesis: “Disinfection of greywater from communal toilets using UVA enhanced with TiO2 after pre-treatment with slow sand filter” and
– Gonzalo Duró (Argentina), thesis: “Bar formation in channels with varying width: numerical analysis and practical engineering implications”.

November 8, 2013

Rotary and UNESCO-IHE Partnership to Train Future Water Leaders

WaterSan Perspective
November 08, 2013

Building on the success of the Rotary and UNESCO-IHE partnership to train future water leaders, the second class of students – 16 in total – began graduate studies last month at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, the premier postgraduate water education institution in the world.

The first class of Rotary sponsored scholars, who began their studies in October 2012, successfully completed their first year of an 18-month Masters of Science degree program at UNESCO-IHE, a United Nations Institute in Delft, The Netherlands. They are now embarking on a six-month thesis period. After graduation in April 2014, the scholars’ expertise will be put to work improving water and sanitation conditions in their own communities with projects the scholars and sponsoring Rotary members will design and implement together in their respective countries of Argentina, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Ghana.

Andras Szollosi-Nagy, the Rector UNESCO-IHE

Andras Szollosi-Nagy, the Rector UNESCO-IHE

“Students finished a year of challenging class work and are beginning their 6-month research component on issues of water management,” said Michael McClain, professor at UNESCO-IHE. “After completion of their thesis projects, students will be ready to enter into the broader water management area and focus on the more important issues of bringing people, water, and economic development together,” said Dr. Michael McClain.

“I will work at the National University as a lecturer and consultant, training future water professionals and contributing to public interests,” said Gonzalo Duró from Argentina, a student from the first Rotary/UNESCO-IHE class. “Based on the idea that the future generation is key to start a change in how humanity uses water in an increasingly challenging world, our plan is to build a traveling educational program to educate kids on water care.”

Rotary International Logo

Rotary International Logo

Through this unique partnership, Rotary is providing more than funds for scholarships. Rotary clubs and Rotary members are mentoring students both in their home country as well as during their stay at UNESCO-IHE in The Netherlands. These relationships and networks will enable the students to effectively implement their skills upon return to their home country.

“These highly motivated individuals are fully committed to raising the standards of water sanitation in their home country,” said Henk Jaap Kloosterman, member of the Rotary Club of Voorburg-Vliet, The Netherlands. “With their dedication and with the support of the local and sponsoring Rotary clubs – they will deliver tangible results and save lives.”

According to a joint report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, about 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation facilities. About 884 million obtain water for drinking, cooking, and washing from unprotected sources. Waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and dysentery, claim nearly two million lives a year, most of them children under age five. The continuous task of fetching water keeps millions of people, especially women and girls, from going to school and holding productive jobs. Improved water and sanitation is key to reversing this trend.

“I am proud of the partnership between Rotary International and UNESCO-IHE in developing the capacities of young professionals in countries and regions where they are needed the most,” said András Szöllösi-Nagy, Rector of UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. “Safe drinking water and appropriate sanitation are vital factors in human health and quality of life. But much knowledge and capacities are needed to build strong local and regional education and research environments and adequate institutions to enable sustainable change.”

“In Uganda, a number of water supply systems have collapsed due to poor design, poor operation and maintenance structure,” said Hilary Muhereza, one of the 16 scholars to start in October who plans to tackle the issue in her home country of Uganda. “There is a lack of technical expertise especially in flood risk management to mitigate the problem. Uganda lacks professionals in the water industry to work with new technologies and tools such as web based information and knowledge networks.”

Men constructing a water tank in Uganda for rainwater harvesting

Men constructing a water tank in Uganda for rainwater harvesting

The Rotary Scholarships for Water and Sanitation Professionals was established in 2011 to address the world’s water and sanitation crisis and promote long-term productive relationships between Rotary members and highly skilled water and sanitation professionals in their communities. Through this strategic partnership, The Rotary Foundation – the charitable arm of Rotary International – provides grants to Rotary clubs and districts to select and sponsor students each year for scholarships to any of three 18-month Master of Science degree programs at UNESCO-IHE including: MSc in Urban Water and Sanitation, MSc in Water Management, MSc in Water Science and Engineering.

October 14, 2013

Mozambiquan Lady wins 2013 L’Oréal-UNESCO Fellowship Award

WaterSan Perspective
October 14, 2013

A PhD Fellow Aline Saraiva Okello has been awarded the 2013 L’Oréal-UNESCO Sub-Saharan Fellowship Award.

She received a fellowship worth €15,000 to put forwards her PhD research on hydrology and water resources management in her home country Mozambique.

The awarding ceremony took place in Johannesburg South-Africa.

“This prestigious award opens a new platform for me to encourage other women and young people to pursue their careers in research”, Aline says.

Her work is being undertaken as part of the RISKOMAN (Risk-based operational water management for the Incomati River Basin) project, which aims to improve water management in the transboundary Incomati river basin in southern Africa. “I’m using tracers, remote sensing and hydrological modeling to better understand hydrological processes in the Incomati river basin, particularly those related with runoff generation processes, to inform and support improved operational water management in the basin. This would improve water management and governance, and ultimately contribute to reducing the vulnerability of several stakeholders who depend on water for their food security and the ecosystem services of the river for their livelihoods.”

PhD Fellow Aline Saraiva Okello in the middle receiving her ward

PhD Fellow Aline Saraiva Okello in the middle receiving her ward

Aline has a clear view on which actions should be undertaken in order to improve water management in Africa. “I believe we need many more people engaged in science and scientific research in Africa in order to tackle the many challenges we face”, she explains. “We need science and innovation to break through poverty in a sustainable manner. And by completing my PhD, I would be in a position to better influence the research that is done in Southern Africa, contribute to capacity building, and help advocating better practices in water resources management.”

The L’Oreal-UNESCO Fellowships for Women in Science is aim to increase the participation of women in the field of science. “This is very important, because there are not so many women in science, especially women with young children”, says Aline.

You can find more information on UNESCO-IHE

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