The conclusion of the first project phase after now almost three years of chamber and association partnership GAPWAS with the African Water Association (AfWA) took place from September 4 to 8, 2022 in Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire. The week was dedicated to the exchange between the two partner organizations. For this purpose, a delegation of German Water Partnership (GWP) from Germany traveled to Abidjan. Besides GWP’s CEO Gunda Röstel, Managing Director Julia Braune and Michael Kersting, Member of the Board and Head of the Regional Forum Africa, Theresa Hübscher, consultant and technical manager of the GAPWAS project, was also part of the delegation.
Highlights of the joint week were a reception by the Ivorian Minister of Hydrology, Sanitation and Hygiene, H.E. Bouaké Fofana, discussions with the directors of the wastewater authority ONAD and the operator SODECI, as well as a conference with high-ranking representatives of the Ivorian water and wastewater sector. The audience included representatives from relevant Ivorian ministries, agencies and operators, as well as representatives from GTAI, GIZ and numerous interested companies and NGOs.
Important impulses at the GAPWAS conference
The conference was opened on September 6 by the Deputy German Ambassador, Marton Köver, who once again pointed out the importance of the topic of water worldwide and especially for Cote d’Ivoire. Afterwards, various experts presented relevant aspects and necessary framework conditions for an area-wide wastewater management, after which the discussion continued with lively participation of the audience. In this context, Gunda Röstel presented the success story of Dresden in the field of wastewater management since the German reunification.
In the second part of the conference, the partners took a look back at their joint work in the GAPWAS project (German African Partnership for Water and Sanitation). Project manager on site, Natalie Kolbe, presented the activities and results. Highlights of the last three years include various consultations, 27 trainings conducted with about 600 trained persons from 34 African countries, 13 conferences and technical exchanges between members of GWP and AfWA, in which a total of 900 persons participated, as well as the development of a member database and three publications. Characteristic of the discussions with high-level representatives of the Ivorian water and wastewater sector was the unanimous interest in deepening exchanges and cooperation with GWP and its members.
Attractive workshop on association work
Another highlight of the week was a workshop for AfWA representatives led by Gunda Röstel and Julia Braune. In this workshop, the German water sector, association structures, committee work and regulations were presented. The workshop continued with an exchange of experiences on the possibilities of designing attractive and cost-covering services, member recruitment and communication.
Women in the water sector – Dialogue with the Ivorian Network for Women in the Water, Wastewater and Environmental Sector (RIFPEA)
A dialogue event together with the Ivorian Network for Women in the Water, Sanitation and Environment Sector (RIFPEA) concluded the events. From the German side, Julia Braune presented the GWP network and the role of women in the German water sector. Gunda Röstel shared her personal experiences, challenges and successes before a lively exchange with all participants. Finally, RIFPEA extended an invitation to the women of the GWP network to participate in the Women’s Forum, which will take place in February 2023 during the AfWA Congress in Abidjan.
Full speed ahead into the 2nd project phase
As a special surprise and good omen, news of the BMZ’s approval of the second project phase arrived fittingly at the end of the week. We look forward to another three years of partnership with the African Water Association (AfWA). A special thank you to the team on the ground who bring this partnership to life every day: Project Manager Natalie Kolbe and Project Assistant Sandrine Sigui as well as Sylvain Usher, Executive Director of AfWA and his team. The project is financed by BMZ and supported by sequa gGmbH. For more information on the CIP project GAPWAS, please visit the GWP website.