The International Water Association and Grundfos Youth Action for SDG 6 Fellows and Advisors Get-Together in London


The IWA & Grundfos Youth Action for SDG 6 Youth Fellows and Advisors convened at IWA’s headquarters in London from 16-18 April 2024. The primary objective of the gathering was to work on a collaborative project to create a Youth-Centred Accountability Framework for the United Nations Water Action Agenda. This project, being developed under the extension of the partnership between IWA and Grundfos, has, according to youth fellow Muhammad Anique Azam, “created a cohesion where the youth fellows chimed in with their individual strengths to achieve a common goal from the youth lens”. 

Over three days, the youth fellows and advisors engaged in open discussions, presentations, and workshops aimed at conceptualising, refining, and producing an actionable framework that is ready for testing. These sessions facilitated meaningful dialogue, identified opportunities and limitations in the Water Action Agenda, and established clear pathways for further action. 

Chelsea Hayward, a YWP fellow, stated: “It was wonderful to reconnect in person with the amazing IWA-Grundfos fellows at IWA HQ in London! We made great progress on our project while connecting online from around the world, but when we came together in London, we were able to feed off each other’s passion and energy and our progress was on a whole other level. The experience helped me form a much clearer picture of where we are going with our Youth-Focused Accountability Framework for the Water Action Agenda, and I am excited to share it with the rest of the water community and beyond. I always feel so energised after time with my fellows!”. 

The event commenced with welcoming remarks from Kala Vairavamoorthy, IWA Executive Director, and Inês Breda, Fellowship Advisor & Grundfos Senior Manager of Global Partnerships and Alliances. According to Inês Breda, At Grundfos, we want to inspire the next generation of water leaders to build a water-secure future, and the IWA Grundfos Youth Fellowship shows us that the next generation is ready to deliver. The IWA Grundfos Youth Fellowship is a testament to the power of collaboration and shared purpose. Starting with 14 passionate young water professionals from diverse backgrounds, this fellowship became a force for change. Their collective action, fueled by the Youth Accountability Framework, will redefine youth engagement around the globe”.

Key discussion points encompassed each participant’s vision for the impact of the accountability tool and strategies for designing the tool to ensure broader organisational application and reach. In addition to these engagements, the IWA & Grundfos Youth Action for SDG 6 Youth Fellows and Advisors connected with the IWA staff and met Astrid Norgaard Friis, Head of Group Sustainability, External Relations & Communications at Grundfos. During this meeting, the group presented five projects from the joint fellowship publication and showcased an overview of their current collaborative project on the Youth-Centred Accountability Framework. 

Another YWP fellow, Yang Villa, added: “The gathering in London was a turning point in the Fellowship. The inspiration from Astrid’s speech sparked a strong resolve in us to make this project a continuous success, not only in terms of our committed deliverables for IWA and Grundfos but beyond the Fellowship extension. The time that we spent with Kala, Isabela and other members of the IWA team reminded us that IWA will always be our ‘home base’ in the water sector. I am incredibly motivated to make this project and all our efforts count! #TheOnusIsOnUs”. 

Marina Batalini de Macedo, another YWP fellow, describes her experience in the programme: “The group has an enormous capacity to act in this sense, due to the different training backgrounds and origins of those who make it up, thus allowing sensitivity to different situations and critical views faithful to different realities. It was three days of a lot of work and a lot of growth”. 

Through enriching discussions, brainstorming, and presentations, all participants laid the groundwork for the meaningful development of an effective accountability mechanism focused on youth inclusion in water management. Moving forward, the insights shared during this gathering will guide the team’s efforts towards a successful completion of their project, in preparation for its launch at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Toronto, Canada. 


Interested in learning more? Discover IWA’s work with Young Water Professionals, or check out the upcoming IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Toronto, Canada (11-15 August 2024), where we will host the 6th Emerging Water Leaders Forum.

Isabela Espindola

Senior Officer (YWPs and Water Policy & Regulation) - Strategic Programmes & Membership Engagement
Dr Isabela Espindola is a Senior Officer at the International Water Association (IWA), where she leads the engagement of the Young Water Professionals (YWPs) Community and the Water Policy and Regulation agenda. She has over 10 years of experience in... Read full biography