A dedicated platform for youth in South Asia: Young Water Professionals Platform, South Asia

GWP South Asia launched the Youth and Young Water Professionals Platform (YYPP) on 26 April 2023.

YYPP is designed to engage youth interaction on water beyond their country of origin, extending to South Asia and even beyond. The design is in line with the GWP Youth Engagement Strategy and GWP Strategy 2020-2025 which has been developed to contribute to building a water secure world. The platform will facilitate knowledge exchange and offer financial and technical support for promising youth-led initiatives. Through the platform, youth are encouraged to engage actively with various stakeholders, respond to challenges and opportunities, and become pioneers in sharing information, data, and outputs with the goal of knowledge exchange, training, and improved educational and professional prospects related to sustainable water management. Through this, YYPP aims to develop a cohesive and vibrant youth network dedicated to effective and sustainable water management in the region. Thus, the platform will partner with various regional and local organisations, universities, and youth networks to build capacities and mentor young professionals.

The YYPP concept emerged in 2020 when GWP SAS conducted a baseline survey to gather the views of youth professionals on their needs and priorities for initiating a regional youth platform. Based on their rating and remarks a detailed programme was developed and GWP SAS engaged 16 regional interns, 2 at a regional level and 14 national interns from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka to populate the platform starting from August 2021. These young founding members laid a strong footing for the platform by conducting national-level focus group discussions to identify gaps and needs of youth to actively engage in water management. They worked tirelessly to engage with parallel youth organisations and initiated partnerships to further strengthen the YYPP platform. The South Asia WAY programme was then hosted in GWP SAS in 2022 and WAY Alumni also have now joined YYPP as members.

The launch of YYPP, on 26 April 2023 was a key milestone of this journey. The online ceremony had more than 50 participants from around the world including youth professionals and members of GWP Regional Water Partnerships, Country Water Partnerships, and partner organisations. Kusum Athukorala, Chair, GWP SAS, inaugurated the session and highlighted the need for youth inclusion for water resources management in the region. Lal Induruwage, Regional Coordinator, GWP SAS introduced the YYPP while  co-presidents of the platform Nivedha Elango and Sabina Khatri reminded the milestones of YYPP and its way forward. This was complemented by the experience sharing of YYPP founding member Asmita Aryal and a WAY programme alumnus Utsab Phuyal. The platform was unveiled afterwards followed by two guests speeches. 

The session featured Nirina Khadgi from Asia Water Council Young Professionals and Maitreyi Koduganti Vekata from the Water Youth Network who shared the value of a regional youth organisation dedicated to South Asia, potential challenges, and pathways for collaboration with existing youth networks at national and global levels. They expressed their excitement towards the initiative and encouraged YYPP to grow further and empower youth to involve in water governance. The programme ended with a networking session and discussion with the participants on youth needs as well as identifying potential pathways to further promote youth inclusion and empowerment.

The progresses

YYPP started hosting technical and soft skills workshops and participated in the SCALA hackathon and was selected for the top 8. Furthermore, it hosts a community of practice in the GWP IWRM Action Hub. Through a MoU with GWP/GWP SAS and Brandix Apparel Limited in collaboration with YYPP has launched the South Asia Youth Water Challenge 2023. In future, YYPP will host podcasts, webinars, networking series and mentorship programmes for aspiring youth professionals.

Stay tuned for more updates from YYPP through their socials on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.