New IWA Young Water Professionals Chapter in Ecuador
As part of IWA’s mission to empower Young Water Professionals to contribute to sustainable water management, a new IWA Young Water Professionals (IWA YWP) Chapter was established in Ecuador on 8 December 2021.
This IWA YWP chapter will be the country’s go-to network boosting connections for YWPs and a platform to support equal opportunities and quality career development. As a voluntary network, the Ecuadorian chapter is open to all water professionals aged 35 or below who are enthusiastic, dedicated, and passionate about water-related issues. Economist Ariana Bravo, Vice-Chair of the new chapter, gives us some insights on the motivation and importance of establishing an IWA-branded chapter in the country.
Q: What was the motivation for setting up an IWA YWP Chapter in Ecuador?
AB: In the water sector, there is a dire need for innovative solutions and multidisciplinary approaches, as well as career development opportunities for emerging leaders with ground-breaking ideas, innovative solutions, and a wide set of skills.
In 2019, the first ‘IWA-IDB Innovation Conference on Sustainable Use of Water: Cities, Industry and Agriculture’ was held in Guayaquil (Ecuador). At this event, a ‘Young Water Professionals Get-Together’ session took place confirming the relevance of establishing a YWP chapter in the country. The Ecuador Governing Member Committee, the highest representation of IWA at the national level, envisioned, supported, and contributed to this goal. A significant human capital of water professionals exists in the country that can benefit from the guidance, articulation, and exposure that IWA can offer to its members and the sector.
Q: How will the chapter contribute to the empowerment of YWPs to contribute to the national water agenda of Ecuador?
AB: The IWA YWP Ecuador Chapter aims to be an inclusive, forward-thinking, and supportive community for students, recent graduates, and early-career professionals in the water sector. The chapter seeks to gain recognition at the national level through YWP-led activities through strategic partnerships with academia, and the private, public and third sectors, and other stakeholders. The chapter aims to connect and arrange a direct channel for more experienced professionals to mentor and share their knowledge and career advice with the younger generation.
The chapter’s vision and mission are aligned with the national water agenda, which promotes the conservation and sustainability of natural resources through the participation of the public and private sector and civil society organizations in the chapter activities and events. Also, this chapter aims to provide support to the national ecological transition endeavor through disseminating ideas, projects, initiatives, and networking opportunities with young water leaders working towards similar goals.
Q: What are your aims and objectives for your chapter, and what activities do you plan to do?
AB: The objective of the IWA YWP Ecuador Chapter is to be a recognized and relevant association that contributes to innovative solutions in the water sector and its sustainable use in three specific areas: agriculture, cities, and industry. The chapter will focus on knowledge and experience sharing, actions, and achievements dissemination (research, projects, programmes, events, workshops, etc.) from relevant stakeholders such as specialists, policymakers, regulators, financial institutions, environmental associations, NGOs, consultants, among others.
A key activity to ensure engagement, outreach, and exposure at the international level will be the collaboration with other IWA YWP chapters around the globe. This will be achieved through several events such as conferences, workshops, webinars, and technical visits to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and develop a strong network of YWPs from all over the country to ensure a fair representation of their needs. Finally, mentoring programmes will take place to promote professional development in partnership with the academic, public, and private sectors.
Meet the founding committee of the IWA YWP Ecuador Chapter
Suanny Mosquera, Chair
Suanny Mosquera is a researcher and lecturer at the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL). She obtained her master’s degree in Environmental Sanitation at the University of Ghent (Belgium). She is developing research in bilateral cooperation between the University of Ghent and ESPOL (Ecuador) about decentralized water treatment technologies for sanitation and water provision. She is the former research coordinator in the Center of Water and Sustainability of ESPOL, where multidisciplinary topics related to water are addressed for the benefit of Ecuador. Her research is focused on electrochemical water treatment and resource recovery.
Ariana Bravo, Vice-Chair
Ariana is an Economist currently living in Belgium, where she studies to obtain an MSc in Sustainable Development at KU Leuven. She holds a specialization in ‘Leadership, climate, and cities’ by FLACSO, Ecuador. In 2020, she worked at the Ministry of Education in Ecuador, where she promoted environmental education. As an IWA member, she was designated the YWP Coordinator for the Governing Committee in the country in 2019.
Andrée De Cock, Network growth and fundraiser officer
Andrée is a PhD student at the Aquatic Ecology Research Group at the University of Ghent, Belgium. She holds an MSc in Bioscience Engineering: Chemistry and Bioprocess Technology. Her research and professional activity focus on scientifically and socially significant problems, including river (basin) contamination, mangrove ecology, and environmental and human health risk assessments.
Claudia Prehn, Events and Communications officer
Claudia is a water and engineering consultant. She has a background in civil engineering and holds a master’s degree in Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management at TU Delft, Netherlands, and the National University of Singapore. She currently teaches hydrometry and water-related risk management, and her professional activity is focused on assisting NGOs and development organizations on water-related projects and technical cooperation.
María Soledad Cifuentes, Secretary
Soledad is a Chemical Engineer and graduated from Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL). She has been involved in the water sector since 2015, working at the potable water treatment production plant of the city of Guayaquil. As plant manager, she oversees water quality assurance, monitoring and optimization of the processes of water production that provides the city with 1.2 million m3 of clean water per day. Read her blog on the sustainable use of water in Ecuador.