Young Experts working together in Zambia
Aquaquest Zambia has participated in the YEP Programme as a local partner organisation through the Dutch Stichting WE Consult Africa since 2014. With their team of international and national water development experts, they have been able to work on a wide range of different projects to support the Zambian people. Frank Meins started at Aquaquest as a Young Expert himself (batch 5), and is now, Managing Director of Aquaquest Limited. Frank takes us along their 2020 developments and how he reached out to the YEP network to look for help.
‘After a relatively difficult start of the year 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are now working on a range of WASH, water resources assessment and water supply development projects to improve access to water and sanitation in rural Zambia. Due to the sudden increase in project activities since August 2020, Aquaquest was facing a shortage of staff: we therefore resorted to our regional YEP network of current Young Experts and YEP alumni to look for help.’
Fortunately, within Zambia they found Mutina Chowe (YEP Tailor-Made, TM1) to assist with the WASH assessment carried out for UNICEF, together with their current local YEP colleague at Aquaquest, Cephas Ngazimbi (batch 19). From WE Consult Mozambique, Roel Toonen (batch 2) came in to assist with the coordination and data management under the same project.
Another project for which we got support through the YEP network, was a GIZ project which involved the improvement of existing earth dams for local farm communities in Southern Zambia. To assist with the required watershed studies, Roel’s colleague and current Dutch Young Expert, Zebulon Spruijt (Batch 18) flew in from Mozambique, and has conducted the required field measurements for 3 dams and river catchments.
The last project, was a hydrogeological and geophysical field investigation for the development of 40 boreholes with handpumps, funded by USAID. On this new project, current Dutch Young Expert, Juan Smulders (Batch 20), former local YEP Expert, John Kaluba (Batch 13), and another former local YEP Expert, Stephen Mwape (Batch 9), closely work together.
‘This collaboration shows that even after completing the YEP programme, the network remains active and extremely valuable. Participants in the programme have enjoyed similar professional training and working experience (even though this may have been in different countries), and can therefore easily adapt to a wide range of environments, cultures and project settings. It is a pleasure to work with such a group of motivated colleagues – despite the sometimes harsh challenging working conditions in the field and the current global health crisis, spirits are high and the various YEP members and alumni closely work together to bring improved access to water and sanitation to needy rural communities in Zambia’.
On Photo: Zebulon Spruijt, Stephen Mwape, Juan Smulders, Roel Toonen, Frank Meins