On behalf of the Alumni Special Projects Program, German Academic Exchange Service the Centre for International Capacity Development (CICD) at University of Siegen conducted the alumni expert seminar “Environmental Strategies and Water Technologies” at Kochi, Kerala, India. The expert seminar was organised in close cooperation with the SCMS Water Institute (SWI), SCMS School of Engineering and Technology, the Section Sewage and Waste Technologies at University of Siegen, and the German Association for Water management, Waste water and Waste (DWA). The seminar took place at the SCMS Water Institute (SWI), Kochi, Kerala; thereafter participants travelled to Mumbai and visited the international trade fair IFAT India at Mumbai.
The Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany Bangalore officially opened the seminar by lightning the traditional oil lamp. Participants were happy about the active participation of the two DAAD delegates and got latest information on actual types of cooperation.
Thanks to our partner SCMS Water Institute SWI, the seminar has been a great success! University of Siegen and the network GAWN have a new and competent partner on their side. SWI maintains an excellent network in the region, local institution like the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, Municipal Corporation, the Environmental Planning Department, and the Agronomic Research Station Kerala presented and discussed water and waste challenges and solutions.
The program of the seminar at SCMS Water Institute (SWI) switched between presentations of alumni, German lecturers and guest speakers and group work sessions. Presentations focused on water use efficiency, waste water treatment, water distribution systems, and measurement and control mechanisms for water quality and pollution in the respective home countries of the alumni. Within group work sessions new types of learning material were demonstrated and actively used in working groups: DWA has developed a simulation game with a set of cards representing main components of the water cycle. Participants were asked to develop solutions in teamwork using the cards to overcome environmental challenges in a fictional landscape. Four teams developed solutions focusing on water supply, waste water and waste management, one participant ordered additional sets at DWA.
Two excursions were organised. The scientific excursion led to the water treatment plant of the Kerala Water Authority and to the research waste water plant at the SWI. The cultural excursion led to the famous backwaters of Kerala providing a glimpse into the long history of the water dominated history of Kerala, being an early meeting point of many cultures. All in all, it was worthwhile to separate between Kerala as venue for the seminar and Mumbai as venue for the fair.
The outstanding cooperation with the DWA team during the IFAT has increased networking of participants with german and other companies at the fair. DWA encouraged alumni to actively participate in the fair and provided useful contacts. One highlight has been the invitation of the Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany in Mumbai for a networking event of all German exhibitors and the alumni, another good chance to meet people and exchange ideas.
All the objectives of the seminar have been met, like increased sensitisation for sustainable use and management of the resource water, improved networking of the local actors, and exchange of experiences and strategies available in the region regarding the efficient use of water and water distribution systems, waste water collection and waste water treatment, and technologies to measure and control water pollution including laboratory techniques.
Alumni demonstrated links between private sector, government institutions and universities in their home countries and developed mechanisms to improve their relations. The network GAWN and activities of alumni related to water management has been highlighted at IFAT India with a poster at the DWA booth.
One of the participants has taken interviews with participants to share their views and experiences during seminar and fair. Read more on