Climate Justice Fund Programme: Capacity Building

Climate Justice Fund Programme: Capacity Building


This month, we’re in Glasgow at the
University of Strathclyde to follow a special delegation of Malawians hosted
by the University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “In this
group, we are having; Regional Officers District Officers; NGO’s and Water For People. So there are some experiences that they’re actually telling us which we’re not even aware of.” From the first to the fifteenth of September, a hand-picked delegation of Malawians arrived in Glasgow for two weeks of; intensive training; discussions and team-building. Members of the group were carefully
chosen in order to represent a broad cross-section of the country not only
geographically but to also include; national; regional and local government
organisations responsible for the nation’s water supply. The timing of the
visit also allowed for the group to participate in various activities at the
two-day early career hydrogeology conference which also included practical
field work in hydrogeology conducted by Professor Richard Brassington from
Newcastle University… and Water Governance presented by Jon Rathjen, Lead
of the Water Industry Team for the Scottish Government. “With the presentation
that Jon has shared it’s quite interesting. We want to even learn more how
they managed to reach that stage where people are responsible enough to manage
the water without anybody policing them.” The visit was organised as part of the
Scottish Government’s continuing long-term support of the Climate Justice
Fund which has been earmarked to help support the Malawi Government to meet
the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number six of “access to clean drinking
water for every human being on the planet, forever.” Following the conference and
classroom sessions, it was time to get into the field for some hands-on
practical experience. For many, it was their first ever opportunity for real
field work… and for some it proved a real eye-opener! “This training has been very very
good because it involved both the theoretical part of hydrogeology as
the practical part of hydrogeology, so for me as an engineer responsible for the
supply of water, I have been enhanced in the knowledge in the way how I can
supply groundwater to the communities.” “The knowledge we are requiring here is very paramount in at least understanding how sustainable our work in Malawi or
supplying water through boreholes can be achieved especially here in Dumfries
where we’re having the practicals of understanding the pump testing rates as
well as the chemical aspect and biology aspect of water.” One of the most important outcomes of
the visit was the opportunity for delegates to network and share with each other over the entire two-week visit. The close bonding and peer-to-peer candidate
discussions created a unique environment that otherwise had been impossible due
to physical distance between the delegates and the burden of normal
business routine. “This has provided enough time to chat with my colleagues in Malawi because most of the times you will meet but you don’t meet very frequently. So this has been a very good time to chat with your friends and share
ideas as well.” “I have actually learnt a lot we are different people here from
different districts and they all have good different experiences in terms of
groundwater and rural supply and sanitation issues. So to come together
and share experiences it’s really something that was lacking.” “Seeing thirty-five
Malawians mostly from the public sector fully engaged with this
project is fantastic because what i see over that time is just a shift in the
knowledge, shift in the confidence actually is really important. Building on the skills of the people who are going to carry forward this agenda for
the next decades, that’s the difference.”

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