The need to shore up skilled manpower in water technologies…!!!

Last week, the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute (EWTI) in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided a three-week international training on maintenance and operation of water generators for Nigerian, Malawian and Ethiopian engineers. In the closing ceremony, various government officials, ambassadors and invited guests were in attendance; where all outstanding performers have received rewards and certificates for successful completion of the training.

Institute’s Education and Training Director Alemayehu Gudeta told The Ethiopian Herald that the Institute has been providing hands-on trainings for practitioners drawing from Ethiopia and other African countries such as Nigeria, Malawi, and Sudan.

As to Alemayehu, the first training was provided on drilling fluid engineering for four Nigerian, four Malawian and five Ethiopian engineers. The second was conducted on the maintenance and operation of water generators (Gen-sets) for about 16 practitioners; five from Nigeria, five from Malawi and six from Ethiopia. The institute has been providing a week long training on corporate management, public relations and Kaizen for 18 Sudanese experts and over 20 Ethiopian experts in the water technology.

Alemayehu also stated that the training program focused on supporting the human resource development for water supply and scaling up the provision of services for basic human needs across the region. Since the training is outcome-based and practice-oriented, it has significant contribution to develop the capacity of water professionals with proper knowledge and skills, he added.

In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, EWTI’s Deputy Director General Ajanaw Fenta said the institute aspires to be a center of excellence for east African countries in capacity building and technology transfer in water sector by 2025.

Currently, EWTI has been improving its overall implementation capacity through providing hands-on capacity building trainings, conducting research in specialized laboratory, transferring technology for practitioners, and delivering maintenance and operation services in the water sector, he explained.

According to Ajanaw, the trainees came from villages lacking tap water instead using pump and generator to bring water from ground sources. When these pumps and generators stop functions, they will be set away from service for several years if they didn’t get maintenance and proper management. Therefore, the training helps to bring sustainable solutions for problems related to dysfunctional technologies and able to deliver a never-ending access to water for societies.

Ajanaw also suggested that the trainees are expected to provide services in their respective villages and have to share their knowledge and skills to other practitioners so as to expand the accessibility of water technologies at the grass-root level.

Tesfaye Fichala, Special Advisor to the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, said that the development of policies, rules, organizations, and management skills are still remained critical institutional challenges for our nation.

As to Tesfaye, each country has demanded specific characteristics and requirements with respect to water resource situations and its institutional framework. Therefore, operational strategies for water sector capacity building must be tailor made, he remarked.

“The government of Ethiopia has mandated the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute to carry out important mission to realize nation-wide rapid development in the water sector through capacity building trainings that would improve the overall implementation capacity of the institute.”

Tesfaye also stated: “To ensure clean water for all, our dream must be big and work together. Acting together in the sense of partnership has paramount importance for the achievement of overall development goals including access to clean water for all.”

He finally advised: “Receiving the training participants from Nigeria and Malawi should contribute not only to the growth of the institute but also to foster the mutual learning opportunities through exchange of hands-on experiences.”

Toshio Ida, Councilor at the Embassy of Japan in Addis Ababa, explained that water technology creates strong bondage and cooperation among peoples of Ethiopia, Japan, Malawi and Nigeria through practice-oriented and outcome-based trainings. Trainings on water technology aimed at scaling up the capacity of water professionals at international level.

As to Toshio, this program has contributed a lot for improvement of trainers’ management skills and builds the confidence of the Ethiopian water technology institute. Since Ethiopia has also suitable investment environment sectors, the two countries are now in good track to learn each other and work together, Toshio stated.

Alinaya Chirwa, Mechanical Engineer from Malawi, testified that she has trained how to run, maintain and troubleshoot the Gen-set safely that has stop functioning for eight years. “Today, since I stood as the only lady participant who scored highest mark from Malawi, I am grateful for God for putting me in this space; appreciate for the trainers and the institute for all the jobs done, and grateful for my family for their ceaseless support.”

I insist women: “If we don’t fight and strive to achieve, it means people would not recognize that women are capable. So whatever the opportunity is given, they should handle and deliver it at that particular time and do their best. So that, we can stand over the ground and show we are capable. We can do whatever the world gives us to do.”

With its weather condition, palatable food and warm hospitality, we have completed our training and spent unforgettable time in Ethiopia, she said.

Adewumi Abayom, Mechanical Engineer from Nigeria, for his part said that he has grasped tangible knowledge and skills from Ethiopian trainers, particularly in replacing and fixing injection pumps which is more of electrical part. And praising the sense of integration and flexibility of the training, he is committed to share those knowledge and skills to professionals in Nigeria.

Likewise, Sudanese State Water Corporations Project Coordinator Kimura Ryota said that corporate management is very important to develop business plan in the water sector that demands huge amount of investment. A public relations training is also crucial for an effective customer handling as well as improving the water businesses and services. Kaizen is also one of the basic activities that improve the working situations and the state of water corporation basis.

In sum, the challenges to satisfy human needs for water are far more complex and difficult to handle. These global problems could be addressed through collective efforts of governments and other stakeholders. The effort towards equipping advanced and skilled manpower in the water sector is necessary and compulsory to realize sustainable, productive, and inclusive benefits of the society.

(PRCD-18-6-12 E.C)