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Delft, The Netherlands, 01 Aug 2016

Strengthening water management skills through the UNESCO-IHE summer courses

Following the success of previous years, professionals and students from diverse backgrounds, took part in the UNESCO-IHE summer courses. These are designed to develop a range of skills, exploring cross cutting themes and are run in partnership with specialist organisations such as UNHCR, UNICEF and Tygron. The series of courses started on Monday the 25th July and ran for five days.

The starting point for the ‘Becoming a Water Leader’ course was an understanding that water challenges require more than the application of engineering knowledge but also an ability to deal with complexity; good situational awareness and communication; as well as the capacity to be a change making leader.  


The ‘Young Entrepreneurs' course looked at how entrepreneurship drives innovation in settings ranging from start-ups to public sector organisations, through the development of solid business cases complemented with strong interpersonal skills. The course culminated in a lively ‘Dragon's Den’ style pitching session.


Participants in the ‘Serious games’ course spent the week learning the principles of serious game design and use, as an innovative and engaging way to manage complex decision-making. In groups, they rose to the formidable challenge of designing serious games based on various platforms and for various audiences, from schoolchildren to top-level decision makers.


‘WASH in Emergencies’ provided participants with guidance to prepare for emergency response deployment to a WASH role. The non-technical training focused on planning and management of emergencies to establish common understanding in this interdisciplinary humanitarian field.


‘Diverting the Flow’ examined the ways in which the use, management and knowledge of water resources and services are deeply gendered. As well as concentrating on issues of equity, sustainability and efficiency, participants were guided through policy implications with the goal of developing gender sensitive planning methods.

The course series was taught through a blend of individual and group work assignments, incorporating constructive feedback. Learning methods included assessments, workshops, facilitated group discussions, guest speakers and demonstration through presentations, alongside some field visits.

As well as developing personal and professional skills, participants left with a stronger sense of how they can meaningfully contribute innovative solutions to global sustainable development efforts.