Joining forces – IWA and AfWA
Kampala, the capital of Uganda, hosted in February the 20th African Water Association (AfWA) Congress & Exhibition and it was also the venue of the IWA Board of Directors meeting. During this occasion, both organisations met to conceptualise a joint vision and strengthen synergies for the future of water professionals in Africa. Delivering SDG6 and disseminating relevant information of and for the industry require the international and global collaboration and networking – IWA – are crucial for achieving the goals as well as the connection with the professionals on regional and local level – AfWA.
The future of a fruitful collaboration between IWA and AfWA is about having two associations jointly working and defining synergies at complimentary levels, covering important areas of work and activities for the water sector. These include benchmarking, training, publications and specialised working groups following the IWA community model (specialist groups, task groups etc.) which covers all areas of interest of water professionals.
During the Congress in Kampala, Dr. Silver Mugisha, President of AfWA, highlighted the urgent need for a holistic approach to water management. He identifies that the International Water Association is linking theory with practice and researchers with utilities; something he considers a crucial element for the industry. Dr. Mugisha states, that it is important to have joint coordination mechanisms that look at water management in an integrated way.
Collaboration is one of the main steps in achieving SDG6 and it is important that the utilities and scientific community of the water sector do this, says Dr. Mugisha, President AfWA. He continues, that the two organisations joining forces in the Africa region means it is a great opportunity to work together to facilitate the information and synergy flow between the scientific world and the African practitioners.
To achieve SDG6 we need water-wise solutions and knowledge to be spread far and wide. Journalists fulfil a central role in the dissemination of information. This is why is it paramount to support their work if we are to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Communication is another important element of sharing information and knowledge, says Abdullahi Tsanni, from Advocacy & Policy Opportunities for Poop (CAPOOP). To get the agendas on track, it is critical to bring the message of a water-wise world to all audiences involved and include journalist as a partner in communications, he states.
Sylvain Usher, Executive Director of AfWA, affirms that it is important to contact other stakeholders in water and sanitation. It facilitates a two-way exchange of knowledge that can help to solve the issues within the African Continent. Networking events such as the regional AfWA Congress plus the IWA World Water Congress or the IWA Water and Development Congress support and satisfy the professional and capacity building needs of their membership.
The African Water Association is a professional organisation of companies, utilities and operators working in the water, sanitation and environment sectors in Africa. The association develops programs and supports knowledge sharing in sustainable water management through professional development, network management and advocacy. Main AfWA activities involve building the capacity of water utilities through technical sessions during its congresses, seminars, master classes, workshops, and knowledge and know-how sharing programs and platforms. The African Water Association covers the whole African continent and is the unique African Water and Sanitation Organisation strategically bringing together water and sanitation operators as well as various sector stakeholders.
Information on the 20th AfWA International Congress and Exhibition here
Information on IWA activities at AfWA Congress here