Wrap up: #WaterGeneration Meetup–Ouagadougou

WaterGeneration Meetup – Ouagadougou came to a successful conclusion December 4. 35 youth came from across French-speaking Africa to Burkina Faso’s capital for four days of learning, mobilization and speaking out for water.

As the final preparatory event of the year before the 8th World Water Forum next March, the ISW has now held meetup events for youth on four continents in 2017. On Saturday December 2, the participants presented their projects to a jury of international experts and water leaders. They also relayed the key messages from the Youth Vision for Water, developed during the meetup, to officials and partner representatives during the closing ceremony. Serge Traore, Burkina Faso’s director-general of water resources, was present on behalf of the Ministry of Water and Sanitation.

The theme of the #WaterGeneration Meetup was Innovative Ideas For Better Resource Sharing, building on the World Water Forum’s theme of Sharing Water. The event is also a part of the Blue Peace movement.

12 projects from the youth delegates were presented during the meetup. A jury of international water experts chose three to receive a grant. The three selected projects were:

  • Mon école n’est pas une poubelle (Benin)
  • Water Star (Burkina Faso)
  • École Propre et Saine (Guinea)

Congratulations to the winners for their hard work! They each received a cash prize from the ISW, thanks to the contribution of the Artois-Picardie Water Agency (France). The organizers would also like to thank Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Water and Sanitation (MEA) for their support and presence. Serge Traore, the director-general of water resources, spoke on behalf of the Minister.

photo: Burkina Demain

The members of the jury were:

  • Sarah Dousse, executive director, International Secretariat for Water
  • Hélène Dentel, coordinator and technical assistant for IWRM projects, International Office for Water
  • Zakari Bouraima, country director, Eau Vive Burkina Faso
  • Hilaire Dongobada, operations coordinator, IRC
  • Yahovi Amedzape Ahiafor, Africa representative, World Youth Parliament for Water]

35 young adults from eight countries in French-speaking Africa participated in #WaterGeneration Meetup. Students, young professionals and community leaders, they have a diverse range of backgrounds and skills. Environmental scientists, structural and civil engineers, community organizers and journalists were all well represented.

The participants developed a Youth Vision for Water during the event. The document crystallizes the aspirations of African youth ahead of the World Water Forum, touching on the themes of integrated water resource management, access to drinking water and sanitation, climate change and the SDGs. For the participants, it identifies what they see as the most pressing problems, and the solutions that, as change makers, they want to be part of. The Vision fits with the three other Youth Visions for Water developed around the world this year in advance of the 8th World Water Forum. It will also be presented at the World Youth Parliament for Water’s General Assembly, to be held concurrently.

Young African journalists also covered  #WaterGeneration Meetup. One of our participants was Idrissa Sane, an award-winning journalist with Le Soleil, Senegal’s national daily. His articles ran on December 4 and December 6. The latter was accompanied by an interview with ISW Executive Director Sarah Dousse. Burkina Demain, the national daily, published an article Sunday. Lefaso.net and Sidwaya also covered the Meetup.

Rolande Aziaka of Togo’s EcoConscience TV live tweeted the event on Friday and Saturday:

On Sunday, participants visited the Ziga hydroelectric dam and took part in a traditional Burkinabe gourd ceremony.

The participants of #WaterGeneration Meetup also collectively drafted a Youth Vision For Water, to be presented next spring at the World Water Forum in Brasilia. The Vision will also be a part of the next World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW) General Assembly, the global youth network meeting alongside the Forum. The WYPW is an ISW initiative now entering its sixteenth year.

Throughout 2017, the International Secretariat for Water—Solidarity Water Europe group brought together youth of the world with a passion for water. Events took place in Central Asia, Europe and North America. Participants developed collective Visions all leading to the goals of the World Youth Parliament for Water’s General Assembly. As the final event of 2017, #WaterGeneration Meetup – Ouagadougou brought the voices of African youth to the forefront and cemented the foundations of a global youth vision for water.