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Water Matters for India: A transdisciplinary training program for Young Water Professionals

The first cohort of India's "future water leaders" have graduated from the Young Water Professionals (YWP) training program.

Water is a priority area of research collaboration between Australia and India. Delivered by the Australia India Water Centre (AIWC) for Jal Shakti Ministry, Government of India, the program aims to equip water professionals with the skills, knowledge and networks to improve the management of water resources and water management reforms in India.

Twenty participants, 10 women and 10 men under 35 years from central and state water resources departments and implementing agencies, participated in this training program from December 2021 to November 2022. The training program focussed on technical aspects as well as capacity development in transdisciplinary approaches, leadership development, critical thinking and effective communication.

The training program included weekly online lectures, workshops and coaching. A key learning activity in the program was working on a Situation Understanding and Improvement Project (SUIP) where YWPs worked with an industry client on a case study. It is expected that solutions or recommendations proposed by participants, will be adopted, or considered, by the client to have real-life impacts.

Young Water Professionals during a lesson

The program was funded by the Australian Water Partnership, and it culminated with a Water Conclave in Delhi in November.  The YWP presented about their development journey and learning outcomes from the training program and received the training certificates. The Conclave presided over by Ms Debashree Mukharjee, Special Secretary of the Jal Shakti Ministry, Government of India and Professor Deborah Sweeney,  Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) was attended by over 80 people, including representatives from different departments of the Jal Shakti Ministry. 

Young Water Professionals receiving their training certificate

Feedback from participants, project supervisors and mentors indicates that the YWPs have improved their technical knowledge and their critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, confidence, communication and project management skills. The Jal Shakti Ministry will fund future programs in 2023 which will run for 14 weeks and include a 2-week long visit to Australia. Water resources departments of some states are also considering having a separate YWP training program for their staff.

Banner image: Group photo of the Young Water Professionals and the Australia India Water Centre members

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