Published on: 23/06/2020
In September 2019, IRC launched the WASH Systems Academy — a learning platform intended to empower professionals in the WASH sector with the knowledge and tools needed to ensure sustainable WASH services for all. The Academy currently offers a series of free courses for all levels and areas of expertise, as well as virtual space for knowledge exchange.
One of the many animations on WASH Systems Academy.
I joined the Academy as a recent international development studies graduate with keen interest in sustainable water governance. I was particularly seeking practical insight into the synergy between governance and systems thinking within the WASH sector. While the WASH systems strengthening: the basics course certainly provided me this insight, it was also an incentive to do more.
You can say the gist of the Academy resonated with me so much I didn't want to just take my certificate and go. Over the past couple months, I've remained involved with the Academy as a facilitator for the basics course. This has been a worthwhile opportunity to not only continue my own learning but also to gauge the user experience of the Academy.
In the global pursuit of sustainability, whereby learning and adaption is key, the WASH Systems Academy is demonstrating this process in real time. More than 1500 registered participants now populate the platform, ranging not only from all corners of the world but also from novices like myself, to technical and non-technical practitioners, policymakers and civil society members claiming their role as stakeholders in the WASH sector.
As a community of practice, the Academy appeals to like-minded people who are interested in sustainability and taking a systems approach to addressing WASH challenges. Yet, each with their own perspectives on the system based on the reality of their context. Features like the ‘CREATE’ activity allows participants to directly learn from one another and create their own materials on systems strengthening.
Even more inspiring is the optimism and energy exuded by participants as they find ways to support their communities in adapting to stronger systems. Particularly recognising the role of government in facilitating effective adaptation, several participants have already initiated trainings to engage their governments. Within civil society and business alike, participants are incorporating lessons learned from the Academy in designing and implementing various programmes.
Soon reaching its one-year anniversary, this first-of-its-kind learning platform on WASH systems strengthening has much to celebrate, including a nomination for the 2019 Spindle Award for Best Innovation for Development. There is also continued ambition to scale up the virtual collaborative space to further mobilise the growing community by enabling participants to launch and source support for their own WASH projects on the platform and offering tailor-made courses to organisations and networks. Participants and alumni of the Academy are invited to contribute to this initiative by sharing their feedback and ideas for the future in an upcoming survey.
To echo a recurring sentiment of some participants in the basics course, perhaps if everyone took part in at least the basic course, then achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would be all the more possible.
So what are you waiting for? Registration is now open for upcoming courses beginning on 3 August, 5 October, and 1 December 2020.
At IRC we have strong opinions and we value honest and frank discussion, so you won't be surprised to hear that not all the opinions on this site represent our official policy.