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Stakeholder engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic: Running an international multi-modal research workshop for the Inclusive WASH-at Work project. 



Happy World Toilet Day from the International WaterCentre! 

Did you know that 4.2 billion people do not have access to safely managed sanitation around the world?
In 2020, the lucky ones amongst us have been enjoying our home toilets more than usual thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. What better chance to daydream of your next overseas visit? When you think about where to travel, will you be thinking about the quality of the hotel bathroom facilities? And what of the toilet facilities of surrounding communities? One IWC research project, Engaging corporate actors for inclusive WASH-at-work, is unpacking the real water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) situation in hotels and surround communities in Indonesia and Fiji. Whilst it has been hit hard by COVID-19 travel restrictions, Mandalika in Lombok (Indonesia) is tipped to be the next ‘big Bali’. It is an increasingly popular and rapidly developing tourism destination for domestic and international visitors. While tourists there enjoy excellent services, this is not necessarily the case for locals, with between 5-15% of the population in surrounding villages not having access to toilets at home. Solutions to address this gap need concerted efforts of government, communities as well as hotels who all have a role to play in delivering clean and healthy environments. To read more about this project’s work to develop Inclusive WASH-at-work approaches with hotels and other stakeholders for equitable development visit the project site.   [caption id="attachment_3220" align="alignnone" width="668"] IWC's WASH project teams wish you a Happy World Toilet Day![/caption]   NOTE: Banner image photo credit, Jax10289/istock via Getty Images.



Professional postgraduate education in a COVID world 

...whilst we are asking ourselves ‘how on earth will we keep going’ in this upturned COVID world, we are also looking keenly to how we can innovate, adapt and improve.
In Australia, COVID-19, means that our international borders remain closed and even some of our internal state borders are closed or require expensive 2 week hotel quarantine periods once you have passed over them. Paying a $2000 or $3000 hotel bill for quarantine is a bit of a deterrent to inter-state travel one has to imagine. So, we need to think really differently about how we deliver the best transformative integrated water management educational experience within the constraints of not being able to travel much, if it all. 2021 will not be a normal year. 2020 has already been a year of rapid adaptation and far from normal delivery. April and May drove us to trial some innovations like the deliberate seeding of leadership behaviours to help our cohort glue together and support each other under lockdown. We ended up on a really fast sprint to online delivery and the creation of ‘Water Droplets’, an interactive online weekly series of guest speakers covering everything from blockchain water trading systems to community-driven urban stream restoration, to both help our students gain insights from some of the most exciting and experienced practitioners around, and to meet and talk with them. Sort of networking for professional development in an online COVID world way. We’re currently looking for ways to connect interested students to professional practice to enrich their learning further and to take the next steps in evolving their careers. 2021 will be a year of further change, but we don’t need to plan and do at the same time. We have a few months up our sleeves to plan and implement the changes we want and need for 2021. What are we thinking of?
  • Creating a digital learning platform to help us create an online learning community – we’re thinking of using Teams as it has an interface that is great for discussions and file sharing, and you can add plugins like wikis etc to enable student authoring and content curation – essential for community based co-learning. Think about a Team as being a course in a Masters program, so you will belong to multiple Teams during your degree. Within each Team there will be Channels, each corresponding to a course topic. The webinar by Dr. Kellerman of UNSW on this page shows some of what can be done with Teams as an educational platform. And because our Masters programs are enrolled at Griffith students get access to Teams and the Office 365 package at no extra cost beyond the standard program fees.
  • Offering FT and PT study wherever you are – up to now we have only offered full time (FT) on campus learning for international students but we know there are many people who want to study and learn whilst keeping their current jobs and living wherever they currently live. We’ve been trialling opening up our Masters programs to live international participation this current trimester 2 with a Norwegian participant and a Canadian participant. The time zones don’t always line up perfectly but we are able to record online sessions and offer more 1-2-1 student support afterwards for interaction and discussion.
  • Moving to a mixed online and intensive experiential model – we know that our students enjoy learning as part of a cohort, a community, and also that our immersive and experiential field based and situation focussed learning intensives create lasting impact. There is no better way to learn about the complex and integrated social-economic-environmental dimensions of a situation than from talking to those who are within it, and observing and analysing it first-hand. So one future we are looking at is running our programs with a core online delivery complemented by a set of the best experiential learning intensives here in Australia or in other parts of the world.
So whilst we are asking ourselves ‘how on earth will we keep going’ in this upturned COVID world, we are also looking keenly to how we can innovate, adapt and improve. Every problem is also an opportunity and we’re getting ready to move. Join us by getting in contact to share ideas or suggestions you have about how you would like to learn about IWM whilst we are in a COVID reality.


New tool shows water security vital for fighting COVID-19 in Indo-Pacific 


Matchmaking for water solutions at high-impact marketplace event 


Challenges and opportunities for the water sector 


How pollution is robbing rural America of fresh water 


Bang for buck in urban water security in Brisbane 


Equity, WASH and Covid-19 intersections 



Safe and secure water in the Pacific Islands 

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