New IWA Young Water Professionals Chapter in Kosovo
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 Kosovo in August 2023. 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 Kosovo chapter is open to all water professionals aged 35 or below who are enthusiastic, dedicated, and passionate about water-related issues. Here, Albert Salltakaj, Chair of the IWA YWP Kosovo Chapter, presents some key points about the chapter.
Q: What was the motivation for setting up an IWA YWP Chapter in Kosovo?
The motivation for establishing an IWA Young Water Professionals (YWP) Chapter in Kosovo is rooted in the recognition of the critical and ongoing need for effective water resource management in the country. Kosovo faces challenges in ensuring universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation, as well as in addressing the impacts of climate change on its water resources. Addressing these issues requires innovative solutions, collaboration, and the exchange of vital information. By affiliating with the IWA, we aim to strengthen our endeavors with the guidance and support of the Association’s leadership.
Q: How will the chapter contribute to the empowerment of YWPs to contribute to the national water agenda of Kosovo?
Kosovo’s national water agenda encompasses critical objectives such as safeguarding water resources, expanding access to clean drinking water, minimising water losses, and promoting sustainable water use. The chapter’s role in empowering Young Water Professionals involves creating an inclusive environment for the generation of diverse ideas, projects, and opportunities. Through workshops, seminars, grants, and networking, we aim to equip YWPs with the tools and knowledge necessary to propose and implement innovative solutions to tackle these pressing water-related challenges.
Q: What are your aims and objectives for your chapter, and what activities do you plan to do?
The primary objective of our chapter is to facilitate the development of skills, knowledge, and expertise among members in the water sector. We plan to achieve this by organising workshops, seminars, and training sessions in collaboration with universities, regional water companies, consulting firms, and donors. Additionally, we will engage in activities including:
- Organising visits to water companies within and outside the country to demonstrate water resource management practices.
- Sharing educational opportunities with members and offering support throughout the application process.
- Creating an inclusive environment to attract and retain young water professionals from diverse backgrounds.
- Establishing connections with other international young water professional groups.
Meet the founding committee of the IWA YWP Kosovo Chapter
The founding committee of the IWA YWP Kosovo Chapter consists of dedicated professionals with diverse backgrounds, united by their commitment to advancing water management in the region.
Title: Planning and Development Officer at RWC Hidroregjioni Jugor JSC
Bio: Albert Salltakaj is a seasoned water management professional with a passion for sustainable resource utilisation. He holds a master’s degree in Water Management from the University of Prishtina and completed extensive training in Utility Management. Albert’s journey within the Young Water Professionals (YWP) Kosovo Chapter began in 2016, demonstrating his long-standing dedication. Currently serving as the Planning and Development Officer at RWC Hidroregjioni Jugor JSC, he plays a pivotal role in addressing regional water challenges. His expertise encompasses Integrated Resource Management, Crisis Management, and Water Safety Plan development. As a respected Trainer of Trainers, Albert actively imparts knowledge, emphasising his commitment to advancing professionals in the water sector. His leadership as Chairperson from 2022 serves as a beacon of inspiration, showcasing the dedication and expertise required for success in water management and conservation.
Title: Managing Director at Yuniko Environmental Services
Bio: Ylberinë Baliu is a dedicated professional in the field of water management, with a rich background in wastewater technology. Her journey within the Young Water Professionals (YWP) Kosovo began in 2019 and quickly propelled her to the role of Secretary by 2021. Prior to her role at Yuniko Environmental Services, where she currently serves as Managing Director, Ylberinë completed her Bachelor and Master diplomas in Food Engineering and Technology from Kosovo’s University “Isa Boletini” and “Hasan Prishtina”. Her passion for environmental sciences further led her to pursue additional coursework at the University of Applied Sciences Van Hall Larenstein in the Netherlands. Ylberinë’s commitment to the field is underscored by her active participation in various research projects, demonstrating her dedication to advancing water management practices.
Title: Graduate Student at Colorado State University
Bio: Diellza Muriqi is a driven professional with a profound interest in the economics of water resources. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree at Colorado State University within the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Diellza also serves as an instructor for Economics Development and a teaching assistant for Microeconomic Theory. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she actively participated in various water research projects in Colorado, including significant contributions to the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Her senior thesis, a cost-benefit analysis of water leakage reduction methods for the city of Peja in Kosovo, exemplifies her dedication to practical solutions in water management.
Egzona is a seasoned environmental professional with a profound background in water and wastewater treatment. Armed with a Master’s degree in Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, she has honed her expertise in analysing and improving water quality. Over the years, Egzona has actively contributed to the development of innovative solutions for clean water access and pollution control in the private sector. Her dedication to advancing environmental causes led her to become a member of the Young Water Professionals Group in 2013. In addition to her work with YWP, Egzona also serves as the Team Coordinator of the Environment and Energy team within the Youth Council of the US Embassy. In this role, she leads a passionate group of individuals dedicated to addressing pressing environmental and energy challenges, fostering international cooperation, and promoting sustainable practices. Her mission is to make a positive impact on the world by working towards cleaner, more sustainable water resources and a healthier environment.
Title: Project Manager at SHUKOS
Bio: Erdonita is a dynamic water management professional with a profound dedication to improving water and sanitation initiatives. She began her journey with the Young Water Professionals (YWP) Kosovo Chapter in 2015, marking the start of her impactful involvement. Erdonita earned her master’s degree from the Faculty of Philosophy, specialising in European Integration and Public Administration at the University of Prishtina. Her engagement with YWP facilitated her participation in the Balkans Joint Conference in 2017, solidifying her commitment to regional water initiatives. Since then, Erdonita has played an active role in the expansion of public water company activities and other water and sanitation sector initiatives. She has also attended several regional trainings and events, enhancing her expertise in the field. Currently, Erdonita serves as the Project Manager in SHUKOS, further advancing her contributions to water management in Kosovo.
Title: Head of NRW (Non-Revenue Water) Division at RWC Hidroregjioni Jugor JSC
Bio: Besar Grazhda is a results-driven civil engineer with a strong academic foundation from the University of Prishtina. His robust background has prepared him for a dynamic role in the water sector. As the Network Growth Coordinator at YWP Kosovo, Besar plays a crucial role in connecting and nurturing the next generation of water professionals. His work is focused on creating a platform for young talents to thrive and innovate in the challenging field of water management. In his capacity as the Head of the NRW (Non-Revenue Water) Division at RWC Hidroregjioni Jugor JSC, he is at the forefront of addressing one of the water sector’s most pressing issues – water loss. His leadership has led to significant improvements in water distribution efficiency in the region, ensuring that this precious resource is used more sustainably. Since joining YWP Kosovo in 2019, Besar has been an enthusiastic advocate for responsible water management practices. His active role in the association and collaborative efforts with water sector peers have made him a respected voice in Kosovo’s water community. Besar continues to inspire and mentor others, leaving an indelible mark on the future of water management in his region.
For further information about what the IWA YWP community does, please email Dr Isabela Espindola, IWA Membership Engagement Senior Officer, at email@example.com. For membership queries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.