On September 14, 2022, WaterAid, VEi Dutch Water Operators and GWOPA co-convened the workshop “Online and hybrid approaches to knowledge exchange and capacity building for Water Operator Partnerships (WOPs)”. The workshop aimed at discussing the best practices in knowledge exchange and capacity building within WOPs. Most of the attendees to the workshop were staff from water utilities, but only a fraction was already engaged in WOPs.
The session chair, Dr. Jeanne Cole of WaterAid, started by describing what is a WOP and how learning happens in this type of partnerships. Then, Eng. Patrick Kayizzi of Eastern Umbrella of Water and Sanitation (Uganda) described the benefits and challenges of working in a WOP with Welsh Water and WaterAid. In particular, Eng. Kayizzi focussed on data acquisition and on the need for harmonization between the systems used at the local level (e.g., mWater) and the Utility Performance Monitoring & Information System (UPMIS) that is used at the national level by the Ministry of Water & Environment. Mrs. Faustina Boachie of Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) explained how her own path within the organization was supported by the long-standing collaboration with VEi Dutch Water Operators. This led to the development of a low-income customers unit at GWCL. In the framework of the EU-WOP programme, GWCL is supporting Guma Valley Water in Sierra Leone in a South-South WOP.
Lastly, Dr. Giuliana Ferrero of GWOPA/UN-Habitat illustrated the latest developments related to online knowledge exchange and capacity building for WOPs. Dr. Ferrero presented the Global WOPs Community, an online platform that provides a space for interaction to its nearly 700 members; she went on to introduce the online learning programme for WOPs (see https://gwopa.org/introducing-the-wop-online-learning-programme/) and the Partnership Management Platform, an online tool for monitoring and reporting within the EU-WOP programme (https://gwopa.org/eu-wops/selected-projects/).