Developing countries tap UCL Development Planning Unit for water expertise
15 July 2008
UCL Development Planning Unit (DPU) held the first in a series of water health workshops in Accra, Ghana last week.
With a background of increasing urban slum sprawl around the world, the five-day meeting, held at the University of Ghana's Centre for African Wetlands, focused on the needs of the developing world and drew participants from 13 Commonwealth countries.
The exercise was funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat, who are keen to expand the programme both geographically and its sanitation remit.
Dubbed 'Executive Exposure Programmes', these meetings aim to introduce civil servants and other water-industry professionals to new ideas and to encourage international networking.
Dr Julio Davila, Senior Lecturer with the DPU, said: "The programme went extremely well, and included a combination of classroom lectures, discussions, films and group exercises, and a day in the field.
"In the morning, we visited the Old Fadama slum; a centrally-located, highly precarious settlement in an environmentally sensitive spot, where the group interacted with the community and water supply and sanitation (WSS) entrepreneurs.
"Out of the 31 participants in the programme, all from Africa and Asia, only a handful had visited a slum before, even though most of them are responsible for some aspect of WSS in their respective cities and regions. An eye-opening experience, to say the least.
"Our local partners were extremely uneasy about the visit, especially before it happened. But their support was impeccable, and ensured the success of the event."
To read more about UCL DPU, or the Commonwealth Secretariat, use the links at the top of the article.
Image shows some of the sewarage conditions in the city slums of Ghana. Image courtesy of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
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