GWP IWRM ToolBox: Useful Tool for Academia

Posted: 2012-08-06

In 2000, GWP developed the IWRM ToolBox. Broadly defined, the ToolBox consists of a wide range of materials such as case studies and reference documents dealing with water resource management.

As a platform of knowledge exchange, it enables people working within the water sector to discuss and assess the elements of the IWRM process. In the past decade, this platform has grown, both in terms of content and users. In relation to content, the ToolBox has been quick to respond to the wider trends, and it has been consistently upgraded to meet the challenges of today. Currently, in line with the discussions concerning the need for a Greener Economy, new tools are being revised dealing with financial frameworks and economic instruments. In relation to users of the ToolBox, these now include government bodies, researchers, NGOs and private sectors.

Although not targeted specifically for higher education, the ToolBox is increasingly being used by universities worldwide. Examples include universities in Ethiopia, Hungary and China. This has inspired GWP to launch a more intentional initiative to expand the use and accessibility of the ToolBox in universities. This initiative works through the expansion of IWRM Knowledge Centres, facilitated through cooperation with GWP Partners. These Knowledge Centres are academic institutions such as national and regional universities, which demonstrate an interest in promoting IWRM. The goal of this initiative is to further expand the use of ToolBox within higher education. Moreover, it is expected that the Knowledge Centres will support government agencies in policy decisions in regards to water management. Thus, GWP believes that by promoting the use of ToolBox within universities, the tools will be increasingly applied by present and future water professionals, both within the academic and non-academic setting.

In 2012, a ToolBox users survey was carried out. Through this survey, it became clear that a vast majority (85%) of users find the structure of the ToolBox website easy to understand. This survey demonstrated that ToolBox is most frequently used for the purpose of education. A great portion of the participants also responded that the best application of ToolBox is within education. The findings of the survey highlighted that ToolBox, 10 years after its launch, is still a highly relevant tool for water professionals working with IWRM. Additionally, these findings reinforce the relevance of the initiative taken by GWP to target use within universities. However, the survey also stresses that although the increased use of ToolBox within universities is a positive trend, it should not be overemphasised. There is still a need to promote ToolBox among other partners, which GWP is working with continuously.

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