Water ESSENCE Africa is a project funded through the NORHED II programme of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). The project brings together eleven partners from six African countries and Norway.
Project meeting in Kigali
The project partners decided to have their 2023 annual meeting in Kigali, Rwanda to coincide with the IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition, which takes place every four years.
“We often try to combine our annual gatherings with other events and the IWA Congress was perfect as most of us would have attended this anyway. This way we can make better use of our funds with the bonus of professional input from other water professionals and opportunities for networking,” says project leader Tore Sætersdal from the University of Bergen.
The feedback from the project members was overwhelmingly positive as they roamed around the impressive Kigali Conference Centre popping in and out of keynotes, technical sessions and workshops whilst expanding their already extensive networks in the world of water.
Official workshop at global water congress
The Water ESSENCE team organised one of the official workshops at the IWA Congress. The workshop title was “How can universities contribute to the faster achievement of SDG6?”
The session explored how universities can contribute to faster global achievement of SDG6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and the bottlenecks in the current educational system.
Professor Harsha Ratnaweera from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a co-leading role with Sætersdal in Water ESSENCE Africa and had a key role in organising the workshop.
“Our aim was to reach other practitioners in academia as well as policymakers in order to reach this crucial goal in the 2030 Agenda,” says Ratnaweera.
“I was satisfied that we managed to attract quite a few people to our workshop as there were plenty of other activities going on at the congress. It was also good to see that our subject engaged people and created discussions and questions and inputs from the audience. Being active in the bigger water community is important for us as educators and scientists, in particular to create awareness on sustainable water use and management.”
The workshop saw presentations and a panel discussion including several project members, including Professor Francis Mutua from the University of Nairobi, Professor Gordana Kranjac-Berisavljevic from the University for Development Studies, Professor Suman Bandara Weerakoon from the University of Peradeniya, and Associate Professor Zakhar Maletskyi from NMBU as well as Ratnaweera and Sætersdal.
Water ESSENCE presence at UN
Sætersdal and Ratnaweera were also part of the University of Bergen delegation at the UN Water Conference in New York in March 2023, organising an official side event with several co-organisers from around the world. More on our activities at the UN 2023 Water Conference.