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Building on institutional commitment and demand-driven training for maximum impact
In its 2019 draft water management strategy, the Government of Afghanistan mentioned the need for capacity enhancement in its water sector. Having crafted a multi-stakeholder partnership across ministries, agencies and academic institutions, the Strengthening Water Resources Management in Afghanistan (SWaRMA) initiative took a baseline capacity self-assessment to understand partners’ desired water resources management capacities including strategic and institutional support mechanisms; service provision across knowledge management, data access, and other service functions; and networking and partnerships.
Over 2019, SWaRMA conducted more than 27 events with 190 participants, specifically encouraging women’s participation. A dedicated demand-driven series of events set up expectations for result-based activities, and institutional commitment and ownership were ensured from the participating agencies. The contiguous training series created synergies among the ministries, agencies and departments, operated on principles of knowledge co-creation and co-learning, and were supported through continuous follow up, ensuring implementation of the learning. Further support was provided through a resource book on integrated river basin management which provided a conceptual framework to implement water resources management and through the regional Upper Indus Basin Network (UIBN) which provided stakeholders science-based knowledge sharing opportunities and exposure to learn from other basin countries.
An end-line capacity self-assessment and tracer survey on institutional and individual capacity enhancement reported participants’ increased knowledge, confidence, and use of material learned. Participants learned intermediate to advanced level knowledge. Although results varied with individual organizations according to the level of support, many institutions reported increased overall capacity in water resources management. This is evidenced also through the establishment of a benchmark glacier for longterm cryosphere monitoring, the start of mass balance measurement for the Pir-Yakh glacier, the installation of an automatic weather station, two pilots of telemetry-based flood early warning systems, and the wider adoption of the J2000 hydrological model. Institutional progress on these fronts will enable planners and professionals within these nodal agencies to contribute to better understanding of climate change dynamics and water needs within Afghanistan.
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