The fifth batch of Myanmar Young Water Professionals (YWP) attended their graduation ceremony at the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems in Yangon on 30 May and a new batch is due to start next month. ‘Batch 5’ was made up of 13 participants all under the age of 35—seven from government departments and six from universities—who participated in a series of courses and activities designed to develop their capacity in Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and river basin planning.
The Myanmar YWP program is supported by the Australian Water Partnership (AWP) and has been running for the last five years. In partnership with the Hydro-Informatics Centre (HIC) in Myanmar and with additional support from the Netherlands Government, the program builds the skills and capacity of the next generation of water leaders in Myanmar.
Over an 11-month period, the 5th batch of Myanmar YWPs (eight female and five male) gathered both in-person and virtually to complete a series of Foundational, Core, and Technical Units. The delivery of these units took up over a third of the time to complete, with the remainder of the time spent completing assignments, participating in local site tours and events, and completing on-the-job training.
AWP supported the International WaterCentre (IWC) to provide program coordination and training delivery with assistance from Myanmar lecturers. The Foundational Units covered topics such as hydro-informatics, GIS processes and measurement; English skills; introduction to IWRM; research methods for business; smart cities; climate change and ethics; and collaboration basin planning and assessment.
The Core Units covered democracy and federalism, and planning for multi-purpose dams—topics that are central to water management within Myanmar.
The Technical Units then provided knowledge and technical skills which are considered important for IWRM in Myanmar under the four thematic areas of resilient water systems, water for the environment, water for vibrant communities, and policy and institutional frameworks. Four field trips were also incorporated within these technical units.
In early May, IWC assisted the HIC in organising online sessions designed to complement the remaining training required for Batch 5 while COVID-19 travel restrictions were in place. Under the coordination of IWC Education Director Dr Brian McIntosh, YWPs learnt about environmental and social impact assessment for water professionals (delivered by Rory Hunter, AWP); water quality for development (delivered by A/Prof Cara Beal, Griffith University); integrated flood risk management (delivered by Dr Piet Filet, IWC plus Daniel Rodger and William Prentice, JBP Pacific); and ethics for water professionals (delivered by Dr McIntosh).
After the conclusion of the program, feedback was gathered from all YWP participants which showed that all of the YWPs found the program engaging and well organised, with 92 percent saying that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of the program. Furthermore, participants’ familiarity with water-related topics increased significantly after completion of the program.
Prof Dr Khin Ni Ni Thein, NWRC Secretary, said that the YWPs are embracing the essential principles for successful IWRM and that she is optimistic about the potential for them to make a real difference, especially for Integration, Innovation and Invitation:
“Young Water Professionals will ‘integrate’ the Myanmar Water Sector, they will ‘innovate’ better water solutions for the Myanmar Water Sector, and they will ‘invite’ like-minded water professionals to the Myanmar Water Sector.”
Batch 6 of the YWP Program will commence at the beginning of August and the curriculum has been modified to address feedback provided by Batch 5 participants. It will include more time for each course, more discussion and active learning, more assessments and fieldwork, better integration of class and field activities and better lecturer time management. The Batch 6 curriculum will also assist HIC to deliver the program in light of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
AWP’s Program Manager Mr Rory Hunter said, “We are very excited to be supporting Batch 6 of the YWP Program and in helping the National Water Resources Committee set up the Myanmar Water Academy in the future.”
Feature image: Front row (L-R): Prof Dr Nilar Aye (Head of Department of Civil Engineering, Mandalay Technological University), Prof Dr Khin Ni Ni Thein (Secretary of Advisory Group, NWRC), U Win Hlaing (Joint Secretary NWRC and Director General DWIR), U Cho Cho (Advisory Group Chair, NWRC), Khin Theingi Sann (Project Officer, AIRBM Project).
Back row YWPs (L-R):
1. Zwe Pyae Kyaw (Civil Engineering, Hmawbi Technological University)
2. Hein Htet Naing (Marine Engineering, Myanmar Maritime University)
3. Phyo Hay Mann Myint (Chemical Engineering, Mandalay Technological University)
4. Su Thandar (Civil Engineering, Dawei Technological University)
5. Su Thandar (Assistant Engineer, Ministry of Electricity and Energy)
6. Thandar Win (Sub-Assistant Engineer, Ministry of Transport and Communications)
7. Myat Myat Toe (Sub-Assistant Engineer, Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Irrigation)
8. Thang Lun Man (Civil Engineering, Kalay Technological University)
9. Saw Hnin Mu (Deputy Staff Officer, Ministry of Social Welfare)
10. May Thet Khaing (Sub-Assistant Engineer, Ministry of Transport and Communications)
11. D Seng Nawng (Science Hydrogeology, Yangon University)
12. Chit Ko Ko (Deputy Staff Officer, Ministry of Planning and Finance)
13. Min Ye Lwin Oo (Deputy Staff Officer, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation)