Hadi's experiences during the UN 2023 Water Conference
During the UN 2023 Water Conference, the first water conference in 50 years, YEP Programmes and many Young Experts were present. Hadi Toure Guindo, a Young Expert for World Waternet and SOMAGEP in Mali in batch 19, was one of them. Currently, Hadi still works for SOMAGEP as a water engineer, she is a university lecturer, a youth advocate, and is an IWA & Grundfos fellow. The latter occupation gave her the opportunity to fulfil and active role during the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York City. Dirk Grimm, project officer at the YEP Programme bureau, interviewed Hadi about her experiences.
Personal Experience during the Conference:
Hadi had a very busy agenda for the conference as she was a youth rapporteur for one of the interactive dialogues and many sessions related to WASH, social inclusion and inclusive science. She had a particular interest for projects lead by scientists and researchers that focus on local ownership and citizen-science. She was involved with New York Water Week and attended sessions related to water as a cultural heritage that explored newer perspectives than the traditional technical knowledge she was used to.
“I feel like I was on a mission to globally know how to best do citizen science and how to best involve local communicates in the water sector. During the conference, I was wearing the Bogolan textile, a mud textile originally from Mali, and it’s made with water from the Niger river. It’s a practise that has been there for years and it wasn’t discovered by science”. She was able to present at the Harlem stage where she used the bogolan fabric as an example of how water is valued in her community in Mali, and how communities in Africa detain knowledge that needs to be more recognized.
She was happy to attend events and dialogues that recognised that “Storytelling is a useful communication tool to trigger understanding of local communities knowledge leading to behavioural change... and my biggest take-away in understanding inclusive science is that local traditional knowledge about water does not need to be validated by the scientific community, they are complementary."
Another takeaway from the conference: “I think a lot of people were stressing that you actually need to go to the roots. So to children, elementary schools, and high schools. You need to go that far to instil some of the knowledge from the water sector or to just inspire them to be leaders.”
During the interview, Hadi also stressed the positive experiences she’s had with the MBTI exercises. She adopted the foundational element of the YEP training into her work at the university. Additionally, she took part in an interesting conversation with her other IWA and Grudnfos fellows during their time in New York.
Additionally, Hadi foresees MBTI as a tool that can could enable youth and increase understanding and compassion between generations. We can show that by identifying our preferences and using it to create a team we can produce results and show the examples to the older generation.
Hadi has used MBTI to make students aware of their soft skills. “With their MBTI profiles, they know how to respond to questions on their interviews. We thought that with everyone’s unique personality they would find something that they would like about themselves and MBTI is a great tool to actually give that confidence”.
Spin-off of the Conference:
“From this fellowship, I had so many other opportunities. I was definitely able to get some credibility, even amongst people from my utility”. “I have now accidentally become a public conference speaker and have attended 3 conferences already this year in the US, Netherlands and Germany.” She has found that remaining authentic and giving real examples of her daily work has helped young people identify themselves easily to her work and establish a strong network.