New IWA Young Water Professionals Chapter in Morocco
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 officially established in Morocco in May 2023. This 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 group is open to all water professionals aged 35 or below who are enthusiastic, dedicated, and passionate about water-related issues in Morocco. Here, Talha Rifaai, Chair of YWP Morocco, presents some key points about the chapter.
Q: What was the motivation for setting up an IWA YWP chapter in Morocco?
Morocco occupies a transitional zone between the arid climate of North Africa and the humid climate of Central Europe, with low and unevenly distributed rainfall contributing to water scarcity and volatile economic growth. The country is currently facing its worst drought in almost 30 years, highlighting the urgent need for effective water resources management.
The idea of establishing an IWA Young Water Professionals chapter in Morocco was born in recognition that young people will be responsible for addressing water challenges in the future. By fostering a community of young professionals, the IWA YWP Morocco Chapter aims to encourage active participation in debates and actions on water issues at national and global levels. Through collaboration with the IWA network, the chapter can connect with communities facing similar water issues and gain exposure to alternative solutions and lessons learned. By promoting knowledge exchange and cooperation, the IWA YWP Morocco Chapter hopes to make a meaningful contribution to the sustainable management of water resources in the country and beyond. The future of water management starts today, and the IWA YWP Morocco Chapter is poised to play a crucial role in shaping it.
Q: How will the chapter contribute to the empowerment of YWPs to contribute to the national water agenda of Morocco?
The creation of IWA’s YWP Morocco Chapter is a response to the urgent water emergency facing the country. The chapter aims to make a meaningful contribution in many ways, including through conferences and webinars to deconstruct water issues and clarify the underlying causes and potential solutions. By fostering local participation, the chapter will support and lead grassroots initiatives, focusing on innovative ideas to address water scarcity. Moreover, the YWP chapter will benefit from the perspective of a broader community facing similar water challenges. Through experience exchanges and mutual learning, the chapter will seek to learn from fellow YWPs and water experts from around the world, thus enriching the debate with an international knowledge base. This approach will also foster individual and collective learning, reinforcing the growth and career success of YWPs in Morocco and beyond. Overall, the creation of IWA’s YWP Morocco Chapter represents a critical step towards building a more sustainable future for the country’s water resources.
Q: What are your aims and objectives for your chapter, and what activities do you plan to do?
The Morocco YWP chapter aims to build an active community of young water professionals who can contribute to water management discussions at the local, national, and international levels. Its activities include:
- Participating in and organising conferences and webinars to share experiences and promote mutual learning
- Organising events to highlight research, technological advancements, and success stories in water management
- Supporting local initiatives and promoting innovative ideas
- Enabling scientific contribution through various channels, including presentations, proceedings, book chapters, scientific articles, working papers, and policy briefs.
- Supporting the development of water solutions and entrepreneurship
- Facilitating scientific collaboration to inform decision-making on local and global water issues
- Organising networking events and professional development opportunities
- Communicating through social media to spread awareness and show appreciation for community leaders.
Through these activities, the Moroccan YWP chapter aims to create a dynamic and engaged community of young water professionals to contribute to sustainable water management practices. Connect with the group on IWA Connect Plus and also on LinkedIn!
Meet the founding committee of the IWA YWP Morocco Chapter
Talha Rifaai, Co-Founder & Chair
Talha Rifaai is a Project Manager at Southydraulic, where he oversees process improvement and construction management of a portfolio of water infrastructure projects across the country. His projects range from dams and flood control systems to water supply and storage, as well as sanitation. Talha graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with an MSc in water resources engineering, and he is passionate about construction and water advocacy.
Imane Kamal, Co-Founder & Vice-Chair
Imane Kamal is the Head of the International Cooperation Department at the Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau potable (ONEE) Water Branch in Morocco. She is responsible for establishing technical partnerships with international water institutions and funding agencies to support ONEE’s strategic missions in water supply and liquid sanitation. Imane began her career at ONEE’s Financial Department 10 years ago, after obtaining a Master’s degree in Corporate Finance. Previously, she managed bilateral funding in coordination with international donors, where her mission was to monitor water supply and liquid sanitation projects’ commitments listed in the financial contracts concluded with these financial institutions, collaborating with ONEE’s technical departments and external parties.
Adil Jouamaa, Co-founder & Secretary
Adil Jouamaa is a highly educated individual, holding an advanced master’s degree in Sustainable Blue Growth from the University of Trieste, Italy, and currently pursuing a Ph.D. in flood management in coastal areas and their impact on socio-economic life and sustainable development at the National School of Applied Sciences (ENSA) in Oujda, Morocco. Aside from his academic achievements, Adil is also an active member of several international networks and organisations, including the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW), where he serves as the African Focal Point. Additionally, he is a part of the communication team at the Ground Water Youth Network (GWYN) and is involved in the research hub at the Mediterranean Youth for Water Network (Medywat).