Rwanda, Senegal Chosen As Water and Sanitation Training Locations

24 February 2023

The African Water and Sanitation Association (AfWASA) is in its pilot phase to establish the African Water and Sanitation Academy (AWASA) in a bid to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - Target Six that seeks to ensure access to water and sanitation for all. The phase also aims at crafting connections to high-level partnerships for development.

"We looked at what AfWASA would use to amplify the leadership development confidence for African water utility practitioners, and that's how the idea of the academy was born. It's been a long journey having it actualised," said Eng Silver Mugisha, the president of AfWaSA.

While disseminating the novel information about the initiation of the academy in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire where AfWASA's member countries converged for the conference on water and sanitation, Mugisha said that Rwanda and Senegal will be the training locations for the academy.

"When this succeeds at the University of Rwanda, we will push it to other countries. Although the headquarters will be located in Uganda, delivery will be in different countries," Mugisha noted.

The academy's objective is to set up a robust institution basis for AWASA as an African Water Association (AfWA) training organ for the benefit of the continent and to advance partnerships to support its operation.

According to Mugisha, the academy will centre on encouraging healthier management of communities of practices, and conducive decision-making in the water sector, primarily through classroom training, organisation of seminars, workshops, and conferences.

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He anticipates seeing the academy upsurge the inheritance of water through holding conversations of the necessary information in legal, technical, scientific, cultural, and current reflections.

Mugisha looks forward to forming a governance structure, though he calls for the young generation to take up responsibilities and exercise their expertise in the academy.

AfWASA is expected to train the youth, women, and experts because human capital will be expected to make a difference to reach the objectives of the hub.

Mugisha said that the academy will require approximately five million euros to be established and run for the next five years.

"The business plan is almost fully completed, so that we start with financing, and will rely on grants and funding in the next few years. However, with time, the association won't depend on funds," he said.

According to Prof. Hamanth Kasan, AfWASA's chair of the strategic capacity-building committee, there is a need to provide capacity-building to all of the utilities and the people on this continent so that there is a speed up in the water and service provision.

He noted that there is still a lack of skills and capability; that is, technical skills, management, IT, communication skills, and gender diversity, hence a need to strengthen Africans.

"The skills will enable them to provide water to people who lack it and sanitation services. We are looking for people with expertise in water and sanitation. Our market is huge, there will be Africanised programmes adapted by expertise, and quality assurance mechanisms. Time is against us; we need to achieve this by 2030," Kasan said.

He highlighted that the old-fashioned classroom training is outdated, and physical training is expensive, which is why the academy's mode of training will exploit the use of social media.

Kasan said AfWASA will tailor the academy to suit the continent's needs because if the training is not relevant to African needs, they won't be able to achieve their objectives.

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