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South African departmental delegation visits World Water Academy

Mister Mbulelo Tshangana, director general of the Ministry of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation from South Africa, visited World Water Academy on November 6th of 2019. The DG was accompanied by 10 delegates. Agnes Maenhout (managing director) and Claudia Peters (training manager) introduced the delegates to the activities of World Water Academy and our way of working.


World Water Academy has organized a lot of different training activities in South Africa since 2009. The Orange Knowledge Program (OKP) Bridging the water is currently running. In that project, employees from the municipalities of Durban and the City of Cape Town are trained in wastewater and bulk water. We also train employees to become a trainer and relevant research is conducted in Living labs, where students from South Africa and the Netherlands are working together.


Action learning
The trainings of World Water Academy are different from other training institutes, because they are set up to be practical and very interactive. The things you learn today can be applied tomorrow. It does not matter if the training is for process operators or managers, we always use interactive teaching methods and action learning to deliver the contents. The delegates experienced one of our active teaching methods we use in our courses by themselves: “One picture tells more than a thousand words”. The DG explained: South Africa is facing big challenges. When you have big challenges, you have to grow bigger to face them. That is called leadership. There will be a rainbow after the storm we are in now. Mrs. Nchedi Moripe-Maphokga (Chief director International cooperation) explained that she wants to learn from the World Water Academy. “You can’t win a golf game if you are not trained. We are in it to win, so the training of our people has top priority.”

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Project Bridging the Water
We introduced the OKP (Orange Knowledge Project) Bridging the Water: co-create to learn and experience and the Dutch and South African parties behind it. Explaining that the capacity building aimed at 2 main target groups: operational staff of the municipalities (on the job training in Water and Wastewater Treatment) and the second target group is students, being the future staff. The students work on living labs to execute applied practical research. Training of professionals in training skills is part of the project to enable local training beyond this project.

The delegates were very interested in the outcomes of our workshop during the Young Wisa conference in Durban in October 2019. Claudia Peters of World Water Academy conducted a workshop about Generation Z (born after 1995) and young people entering the water industry. Main topics were to identify what is important for Generation Z. And to develop a guideline to what water organizations can do to keep young people motivated in the workplace. Important items are possibilities to grow, flexibility and salary. The youth wants to be given responsibility and kept motivated through a rotative environment and organizations need to create an environment where people can interact with each other. These results were very interesting, because keeping the water industry attractive for young people is an important topic for the South African government.

The delegates were very enthusiastic about World Water Academy and our approach. This lively discussion afterwards demonstrated this. We hope they enjoyed their visit and look forward to a further cooperation with the South African Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation!