Smart Waters Grand Finale: results of Component 1

Publication date: 08 September 2020
Smart Waters Grand Finale: results of Component 1



ALMATY, September 3, 2020 - the first of the five planned online events was held at the completion of the Smart Waters project (Smart Waters Grand Finale) implemented by CAREC with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The ZOOM platform gathered 42 participants - representatives of the project's national partners, academic communities, students of the Kazakh-German University and winners of the Student research competition.

The event was dedicated to the implementation of the project Component 1: Capacity Building and Academic Exchange. As part of the Component, during the five years, the project has allocated 36 scholarships for nominated governmental employees to let them earn a master's degree in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) from the Kazakh-German University (DKU); conducted 3 summer schools for more than 50 master's students at the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers (TIIAME); organized various training programs and professional development courses, seminars, exchange visits and webinars, in which more than 1800 participants took part.

First of all, Ms. Ekaterina Strikeleva, Smart Waters Chief of Party, expressed her gratitude to USAID for the fact that at the stage of project formation its attention was paid to young specialists training and systematization of retraining processes in water sector. These issues are among the most pressing for further sustainable water sector development in the Central Asian region and in Afghanistan. «In our time of rapid reforms and rapid development of the industry, only those who constantly build their capacity are able to stay afloat», Professor Dr. Salokhiddinov, Vice-Rector of TIIAME, supported this idea.

The master's degree program in IWRM at DKU was launched in 2011 as part of the Berlin process. As usual, the program was open to all comers, and since 2016 the representatives of government agencies on water resources management, environmental protection, etc., who were nominated by their agencies for capacity building, joined the MA program with support of the Smart Waters project. For the first time the representatives from Afghanistan have enrolled in this master's program. Such a close collaboration throughout the two-year training period: governmental employees from five countries in the region (with the exception of Uzbekistan, which did not officially nominate its specialists) worked closely together, conducted joint research, studied, lived and went out together, allowing to make friends and contacts, and build relationships, both at the personal and professional levels. Such relationships already have an impact on the further professional activity of specialists, as professional ties between representatives of different countries have already been established, enabling them to react quickly to professional issues at their level.

Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers is one of the leading universities of the region in staff training in Water Resources Engineering and has developed its laboratory base for various research and observations, which allows students to obtain not only theoretical but also practical knowledge. Thanks to the project, more than 50 graduate students from all over Central Asia and Afghanistan gained access to TIIAME laboratories, through organization of three Summer schools to expand their practical skills profile.

In addition to the MA students, TIIAME also opened its doors to 19 specialists from the State Water Resources Agency under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and more than 100 specialists from the Ministry of Water Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan to organize the advanced training courses.

The project also strengthened capacity of young researchers in Central Asia and Afghanistan by organizing two Student research competitions. In two stages of the Competition, 40 young researchers received a grant from the project to hold their research in the field of water resources management and sustainable development. During the competition, participants also had the opportunity to work with leading Central Asian and European researchers as mentors, which gave them greater skills and abilities in writing research papers and organizing research work in general. This approach not only enabled the Competition, but also enhanced the capacity of young researchers to address current water management challenges in the region through scientific evidence and recommendations for sustainable development.

In general, more than 60 capacity-building activities were conducted under the Component 1 of the Smart Waters project, including training of trainers, which enable to adopt more systematic approach to the capacity building process in the region and further disseminate the gained experience and knowledge.

Smart Waters project is implemented by CAREC with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development USAID during the period 2015-2020. Overall objective of the project is to enhance regional cooperation on shared water resources. Specifically, Smart Waters addresses the knowledge dis-lock in the region in water sector, builds working relations among water managers and specialists, and demonstrates the potential of the basin management approach and cooperation with the academia.


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