AWIRU operates within a paradigm of reflexive listening and creates a knowledge space in which socio-economic research expertise is created, nurtured and retained for the water sector. Through understanding the complexity of African water management, AWIRU is a contributor to the generation of water management solutions that are politically, socially, economically, environmentally and culturally sustainable in Africa.

Knowledge Generation for the Water Sector:
Young Professionals

The first in a series of Knowledge Generation workshops took place on March 20th at the University of Pretoria. This event officially marked the restructuring of AWIRU (African Water Issues Research Unit), now firmly lodged within the new University of Pretoria Water Institute (UPWI), and celebrated research, learning, and sharing. The goal of the series is to create a forum for knowledge exchange and discussion surrounding current issues and challenges that face the water sector.

AWIRU extends our warmest thanks to all those who contributed to making the workshop a success. We were very fortunate to have a formidable and diverse group of presenters:

Prof Asit Biswas Dr Cecilia Tortajada
Dr Anthony Turton Dr Marna de Lange
Andrew Takawira Piet Heyns
Andrew Assibey Paul Nesara
Rob Rutherford Akpor Oghenerobor
Sibewu Mcebisi Danny Schoch
Nontokozo Thabethe Nick Tandi
Special recognition and appreciation goes out to Mike Davidson who made the long trek to South Africa from the United States specifically for the workshop and, due to last minute, unforeseen scheduling changes was unable to present. We very much hope that Mike will join us soon as we are all very much looking forward to hearing from him.
Dr Goldin, AWIRU’s director, started the day with a warm welcome and an invitation to question, explore and to celebrate a culture of deliberate curiosity and inquiry. Prof Biswas encouraged workshop participants to think critically about the accuracy and relevance of information that is disseminated via popular media, and to explore new possibilities for partnerships and development. The success story of Bhutan and India was highlighted as an example of a mutually benefical, collaborative relationship between countries. Achievements, such as exemplary water management in Singapore, were applauded and illustrate that sucess stories are not often well enough publicised. Each country/situation needs to model solutions on their unique social, economic, political climate. Prof Biswas emphazised that there is not a physical shortage or water, there is enough for everyone, but that we are not managing the resource effectively. Dr Tortajada spoke about the race for paradigms; she criticised the emphasis on theory that takes precedence over practice. Dr Tortajada lamented that the issues and problems (in the water sector) over the past thirty years have largely remained the same. It is time for this to change. Dr Tortajada appealed to young professionals to value science, to be cognizant of and open to different perspectives. She also cautioned us about being responsible with our words and that we must be clear about what we mean. Dr Turton’s enthusiastic presentation inspired young professionals in the group to sit up and ask questions, and to decide for themselves what the ‘main issue’ might be. He iterated that we need new knowledge to better understand the complex systems in which we find ourselves and spoke of a new scientific model known as the Trialogue Model where science is in the service of society.
Take Note…
AWIRU’s 2nd Knowledge Generation workshop - July 19th

Prof A Biswas & Dr A. Turton
AWIRU Knowledge Generation Workshop
Rob Rutherford
Young Professional
Water Harvesting
Drs A. Turton and P. Heyns
Seasoned Professionals
Nontokozo Thabethe
Young Professional
Participation in the water sector

Dr Jaqui Goldin
AWIRU Director

AWIRU Contact Information:

Dr Jaqui Goldin
AWIRU Director
+27 84 438-0203

Water Institute
University of Pretoria
Republic of South Africa


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