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Capacity Development in IWRM through E-learning – Experiences of Water Virtual Learning Centre at AIT, Thailand

IWRA World Water Congress 2008 Montpellier France
8. Capacity Building
Author(s): Mukand S. Babel
Velma I. Grover
Devesh Sharma
Shahriar Md. Wahid
Mukand S. Babel, Devesh Sharma Water Engineering and Management Program, Asian Institute of Technology, P.O. Box 4, Khlong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand Tel. +662 524 5790, Fax. +662 524 6425, Email. msbabel@ait.ac.th Velma I. Grover United Nat

Keyword(s): Integrated water resource management, capacity development, e- learning, water professional

AbstractThe targets of developing Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) plan and Water Efficiency (WE) plan by 2005 could not be realized in most developing countries due to a number of institutional barriers related to sustainable water management, including the lack of trained human resources, applicable best practices and experiences. To address the need of capacity building in IWRM of current generation of water managers, e-learning is considered to be a viable and effective method wherein participants can acquire required knowledge and skills without being away from their routine work for a long period to an academic institution. This paper presents initial experiences gained on the distance-based IWRM program offered by the Regional UN-Water Virtual Learning Centre (WVLC) at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand. Objectives and approach, curriculum and courses and their customization and specific features of the program are presented. Based on the lesson learned during the initial implementation of the program and the feedback received from the participants, the paper further discusses issues and constraints for the sustainability of the program. A combination of face-to-face and distance-based learning as experimented has been found to be most effective way of delivering the program. Participants opine that the program is very useful and informational learning experience gained has helped them improving their knowledge and skills necessary to understand and apply IWRM concepts and principles in planning and implementation of water resources management programs and projects in their respective countries. There is a strong interest and enthusiasm among water and related professionals towards the program. There, however remains a major constraint of lack of commitment from the governments and other stakeholders in preparing their staff for adopting IWRM for sustainable development. Lesson learned can be useful for further improvements in the program at WVLC at AIT as well as for education and training in IWRM of water professionals in other parts of the World.
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