The staff of GWP Regional Water Partnership Secretariates of South Asia and South-East Asia, the Country Water Partnership staff of South Asia, South-East Asia and Central Asia, Cap-Net Staff in Indonesia, few of the GWP ToolBox Team members and Jeroen Warner a Professor from the University of Wagenigen attended the three-day workshop. Altogether there were 26 participants representing different countries in the Pan Asia region have actively engaged in the workshop while Regional Water Partnership of Central Asia and China were not able to make it due to unavoidable circumstances.
The objectives of this activity were;
- To present the newly modified GWP ToolBox – IWRM Action Hub to GWP Network partners in the Pan Asia region
- To make them familiar with how to use it and its various features and functionalities
- To collaboratively produce the “MSP Sourcebook for Improved Water Governance”, which will be a flagship publication for GWP and the water sector
- To strengthen the relationship among Country Water Partnerships leaders, Regional Water Partnership staff, and GWP partners and in the Pan Asia region
The workshop consisted of group activities, brainstorming sessions, presentation and discussions and onsite writing sessions. On the first day, after participants were introduced to the GWP ToolBox, they were encouraged to use the tools through a group activity and assigned to find solutions to a case study using collaborative modeling. The exercise given a clear understanding to the participants on how to access the toolbox and its tools and how to select the appropriate tools relevant to the scenario. The second half of the first day was dedicated to introduce the MSP Sourcebook to the participants and they were asked to analyse the specified goals identified under each chapter and the outlined content as practitioners. Almost all the participants were under the impression that a book cannot be written in two days which was surprisingly changed towards the end of the workshop because the participants were ultimately managed to write the book, supported with case studies and have already peer reviewed some of its chapters.
The participants were divided into two groups from the second day onwards, one was focusing on the ToolBox Learning Lab and the other on the Sourcebook Book Sprint. Still there were several plenary sessions were included where participants have interacted and built on each other’s work. Both the groups were using the “sprint” approach where the participants in both the groups were producing materials in real time for the Toolbox and Sourcebook. The two groups were further divided into smaller groups in carrying out the tasks where they have interacted and contributed actively to produce the expected outputs.
The first task assigned to the ToolBox Group was to develop practical and compelling ToolBox Learning Labs Activities based on the water governance challenges faced by their respective regions and the countries in groups. This was an interesting task where the group of four have prioritised the most appropriate activity after brainstorming and decided on one activity and developed a detailed concept, by including the desired participants, session content and event follow up. Groups suggested a ToolBox training for decision makers at the country level in a novel way and to encourage multi-stakeholder interaction and engagement, and to develop an educational video game or an app based on the ToolBox. “Communities of Practice” is completely new space created in the GWP ToolBox where the platform allows users to learn, exchange and built their skills in different areas of interests in this space. The next group exercise was to map the potential Communities and design the appropriate content for each Community of Practice in the ToolBox. The groups suggested to develop a community with private sector companies owning Community-Social-Responsibility (CSR) projects, a high-level community who can address water governance issues in the country and innovators and water practitioners i.e. engineers.
After sketching structures for the MSP SourceBook Chapters, the MSP Sourcebook group started writing the sprint and presented the content and progress intermittently to follow members for comments. This allowed the writers to review their writing on the spot. Furthermore, the peer review exercise held with the participation of the ToolBox Group held in the morning of day three facilitated the writers to get new ideas and fill the gaps on the missing content.
The day 3 was fully dedicated to writing. Therefore, after the peer review exercise in the morning, the MSP Sourcebook Group requested the ToolBox group to assist them by writing case studies, which were suggested by them. The completed case studies will be reflected on the GWP ToolBox after expert review as well as are to be used in the book. While the chapters of the book are being revised and finalised by one group the other group started writing case studies on few suggested themes i.e. modes of communication, success story on SDG 6.5.1 reporting process involving multi-stakeholders at country level and the strategic collaboration of GWP in Global Water Leadership (GWL) in a Changing Climate Programme launched in Nepal.
Outputs of the workshop
The three days intensive workshop facilitated the participants to be familiarise with the GWP Toolbox: IWRM Action Hub and gain a good knowledge of its new features. The scenario studies and role play provided practical knowledge on how the platform can be used to support various activities of different water actors. The ToolBox group have learnt to carry out Learning Labs in their respective countries where the GWP Toolbox: IWRM Action Hub can be used to help solve real-life water management challenges and the plenaries that were held regularly facilitated the group to share their learning with peers. They have gained practical knowledge on designing and setting up a Communities of Practice for the GWP TookBox. Participating for production of a flagship knowledge publication, MSP Sourcebook for GWP was another key achievement of the Pan-Asia group and the participants are eagerly looking forward to utilise the book in their daily work.
The way forward
Most of the participants have confirmed they are going to utilise this valuable IWRM Action Hub as a refence for developing new projects and rejuvenating projects, as a place to share experience either positive or negative. Especially GWP South Asia regional and country officers indicated their willingness to contribute more case studies to improve the content of the IWRM Action Hub. One of the suggested learning lab activities were to introduce the GWP ToolBox to the decision makers at the country level. GWP South Asia would initiate this at the country/regional level by involving the GWP ToolBox Team as resource persons. In addition, there will be follow up review sessions organised by GWP to further refine the content of the sourcebook in the near future.
The “A Stake in Water” (ASiW) project funded by Austrian Development Agency aims to advance knowledge and learning for taking action towards inclusive IWRM. Under ASiW, GWP has developed the revitalised GWP ToolBox IWRM ActionHub, an online knowledge platform that supports and connects water professionals in designing and implementing IWRM actions. The focus now is to train partners of the GWP network so that they can promote uptake of the platform by various stakeholders. Another focus of the AsiW project has been to develop the MSPs for Improved Water Governance Programme. In 2021, GWPO, Cap-Net and Wagenigen University and Research conducted a workshop series on how to build effective multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) for improved water governance. The workshop series helped GWP platform leaders strengthen their skills as MSP facilitators and share insights with one other. A guidance note (8-10 pages) was developed to accompany each workshop. The objective is now to consolidate the insights of these workshops into an “MSP Sourcebook for Improved Water Governance”. The Sourcebook will be a practical guide for professionals seeking to create and strengthen multi-stakeholder platforms in the water sector with the aim to catalyse meaningful action.