Stockholm World Water Week: Students’ perspectives

As part of their extracurricular activities, UNESCO-IHE students visited the World Water Week in Stockholm. As founding members of the Water Youth Network they convened the morning sessions of the Young Professionals workshop on Wednesday September 3rd and visited sessions of their particular interest. During the week they reported their views on what was presented and discussed at the sessions of their choice. This page will be updated daily during the World Water Week.


Introducing the students

Prabin Rokaya (27) from Nepal graduated this year from UNESCO-IHE’s Water Management MSc Programme, Kevin Mureithi Maina from Kenya is enrolled in the Environmental Science MSc Programme, specializing in Environmental Science and Technology and Diana Oradei (26) from Italy and Hector Nava (28) from Mexico are currently enrolled in the Urban Water and Sanitation MSc programme, both in the Water Supply Engineering specialization. Their reflections will be shared in 3 parts.

Water Youth Network

The Water Youth Network connects young people active in the water sector on a local, national and international level. The open network aims to encourage diverse and meaningful participation to help solve issues related to water. Read more about their session at the World Water Week: Young Professionals Shaping the Post-2015 Agenda , or in the article by Diana Oradei on this page.

Attending Stockholm World Water Week: A reflection

By: Prabin Rokaya, Nepal

I was one of the three lucky young professionals UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education supported to attend Stockholm World Water Week this year. Conferences are often considered as mere networking event and are not strongly recommended. But based on my reflection, I want to argue that they are much more than participation and they provide a unique way of capacity development:

Learning: After 18 months of Water Education at UNESCO-IHE, there were not any ground breaking things to learn at the Conference or at least in my specialization of Water Resource Management. However, there were sessions beyond academics that have rejuvenated me. There were sessions on Sustainable Development Goal on Water, Failure Sharing Workshop, Water Stewardship and several other sessions which kept me updated of global policy dialogue, current achievements in the water sector as well as majors pitfalls.

Sharing: All UNESCO-IHE students and graduates are mid-career professionals and already have substantial experience in the field of water. And the World Water Week provides them perfect opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences to young students as well as sometimes to senior professionals. A manager from reputed Water Company was so keen to learn about ICT for Africa Project which supported my MSc Thesis at UNESCO-IHE. The latest development in Geo Information Science and Remote Sensing and its application to improved water management was fascinating for him. Some others were keen to learn on youth-led microfinance in water, sanitation and hygiene that I am doing with my NGO in Nepal which is currently being upscaled together with Asian Development Bank.

Contributing: As a member of Water Youth Network, we organized a session entitled “Young Professional Shaping Post-2015 Development Agenda”. The session produced action plan with success indicators to improve WASH in informal settlements in the post-2015 context through the mobilisation of young people. One of challenges in upcoming Sustainable Development Goal on water will be to provide WASH in those informal settlements which are neither addressed by National Government nor public water utilities due to legal difficulties.

Networking: One of the best opportunities at such conferences is an immense opportunity to meet and network with likely minded professionals. I met many people at Stockholm who will keep on inspiring me in many different ways. UNESCO-IHE Alumni Meeting was another interesting event which brought together generations of alumni who have so much in common no matter what years they studied.

In conclusion, I will emphasise that attending the World Water Week was much more than participating but rather building capacity in so many different ways. I have learned more, met new friends, been inspired and felt a way confident of myself. And I am really grateful to UNESCO-IHE for making this possible.