Six months after the last workshop, we invited these participants to present case studies on their use of the software in new areas or on new crops, and to discuss their experiences in training others. The best cases were then presented at the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID)'s Asian regional conference held in Indonesia in October 2010. Of the 19 participants that attended, we learned that 16 of them had gone on to train 120 other people, an increase of ten-fold! That, for us, was a real success, as we believe that online guides and training tools like these, coupled with on-site 'training of trainers' and regular post-training feedback, are ideal methods of educating individuals on a global scale in a way that can be improved and repeated in multiple regions.
Another example of our success was our participation in the IFAT Entsorga Trade Fair for Water and Sanitation in Munich in September 2010. Public awareness and reporting results of our activities with and for UN-Water are a main component of UNW-DPC's work, particularly during our first 3-year Work Plan. At IFAT, the UN-Water Center, a UN-Water seminar on institutional capacity development, and a press conference brought ten UN-Water members together under a common visual identity and attracted over 5,000 international visitors, who took home almost 10,000 pieces of UN-Water material. As the only United Nations presence at the trade fair, our booth was a real conduit for reaching new audiences, including that of the private sector – which I believe should be a real goal for UN-Water. In fact, we learned through our IFAT feedback that most of these visitors were hearing about UN-Water for the first time. IFAT also marked our first foray into the use of short videos to explain and advertise our activities, another tool that we believe is very effective in disseminating information, creating a favorable impression of the organization, and garnering interest from the general public.
The UNW-DPC program is now in its fourth year - what 'growing pains' have you experienced, and how will you improve efforts over the next few years in the hopes of achieving the milennium goals?
During our first few years, UNW-DPC concentrated mainly on increasing awareness and acceptance of our programme, and growing the scale of the capacity development activities of UN-Water members and partners. I think that given our small office, which houses about ten people, we did a good job of creating individual activities with as many UN-Water members and partners as possible and gaining their trust and respect through good working relationships. Now in our second phase of work, we have an opportunity to prioritize and concentrate more on activities that add value to all of UN-Water, support THE organization and participation of UN-Water in relevant events like IFAT, which occurs again in May 2012. We've already had around two-dozen UN-Water members and programmes express their interest in the Fair, so we are already growing in strength and numbers!