Wetskills water challenge: redefining ‘challenge’ to mean teamwork
Wetskills The Netherlands 2019 by Sandra (Zimbabwe) & Oscar (Panama)
Upon hearing the word “challenge” in the Wetskills Water Challenge (WWC), one would envision some form of division amongst participants with everyone being competitors. We sure had a similar picture in our minds when we came to the Netherlands for the WWC. Today, on the sixth day of the 14-day programme, we have since come to the realisation that this could not have been much further from what Wetskills is really about.
Today has been a journey of showcasing and focusing more on the teamwork aspect of the WWC. Some teams worked at the pumping station of the Rotterdam municipality whilst other teams went to work at the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education.
At the pumping station of Rotterdam municipality offices, the whole day was spent in teams as all participants worked on their case studies with Ralph and Odwa also to assist all teams to come up with working solutions.
At some point, Team 5 (blue team- picture above on the right) gave up on trying to come up with a working solution and had to isolate themselves briefly to go and take ‘selfies’ whilst motivating each other to start working on their case again with fresh minds.
At IHE, two of the teams (Green and Purple team, 4 & 6; respectively) went to work on solving water quality and water quantity challenges in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Both teams had a chance to meet with relevant experts, brainstorm and validate their progress with fellow water professionals working in the field. IHE is an international institute completely and thoroughly devoted to water! You can see it everywhere within the building and in the multi-national students and staff that work on diverse water-related projects around the world!
To date, our experience of the WWC has basically reframed our mindsets and taught us that even though there is going to be a winning team at the end, the main focus and possibly the outstanding legacy of Wetskills is more on building a multi-cultural family and fostering teamwork. It is about positioning and conditioning participants to real life situations which often require cooperation and the ability to communicate effectively to collectively come up with solutions, rather than working as an individual and imposing one-sided solutions to other people.