Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sliding along the water stream (pathway)

The pathways have started to turn land over, to move the livestock around and to observe cloud patterns shape up and down. As we initiate our water channel (do you see a pathway in the water?) – we are all aware that water is not a side issue in this event. Water is central to the other pathways, and it involves a very wide variety of interest groups and it is composed of a complex set of sub-sectors. At the heart of the matter, or rather in the eye of the maelstrom, we are therefore interested in how to generate and scale up innovation in such a complex environment and secondly how to we stimulate cooperation and cooperation in the water sectors.

But first, we want to map the diversity of participants and start with a couple of short exercises: grouping ourselves around the room according to the country where we are based. Easy task (even though Ethiopia now seems to stretch from Egypt to Mozambique and Eastwards to India). More difficult now: grouping ourselves according to the water sector we represent – water for food, water and sanitation, water as a global issue... Finally, where do we focus our work on a line from grassroots to global level? Tricky, again: most of us work across the whole chain.

Clearly, the water keyword is integration, but there might still be some specific issues at a given level. We’re diving into it: In 20 minutes, groups of participants (at grassroots, district, national and international level) draw a river at the centre of their sheet and brainstorm about the top 3 issues at that level. Overall, what comes up as issues? The capacity to process and document information, poor access to information, language, inadequate use of technology for knowledge sharing and overall (lack of and need for) harmonisation of our initiatives.

The rest of the session is a global pool bar discussion (World café is sooo 2009) around three issues:
- What are the challenges of generating/scaling up innovation in the water sectors?
- What are the challenges of developing (actually, promoting, stimulating) cooperation and coordination in the water sectors?
- What are the general challenges of developing and sharing knowledge in the water sectors?
The last question is deliberately broad enough with respect to the diversity of participants. And luckily some participants have decided to move beyond the challenges to come to suggested solutions.

The results will be introduced at the start of the second session. What is sure, once again knowledge is flowing among water people and on Wednesday we hope to get to interesting ripples, streams and deltas of cooperation among ourselves.

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