UN 2023 Water Conference: looking back with Ayman

In March 2023, the UN 2023 Water Conference was organised in New York. This was the first water conference in 50 years, and YEP Programmes and many Young Experts were present. Ayman Kassem was one of the Young Experts active during this event. Ayman is a Young Expert in Batch 24 for World Waternet in Jordan as a local project leader at the Yarmouk Water Company (YWC). With an educational background in electrical engineering and his work in the water sector, he joined the Wetskills Programme in New York City during the UN 2023 Water Conference. Dirk Grimm, project officer at the YEP Programme bureau, interviewed Ayman about his experiences:

Ayman's motivation behind wanting to go was to “try to understand everything about water and be involved in water and the issues in the world. Maybe the youth can be the key for the solution for the climate change”.

During the Wetskills challenge, Ayman and his group worked on a case for 10 days. “Our case was about rainwater in Bichi city in Nigeria. They don’t have drinking water and they need to walk 2 kilometers to fetch the water. It’s not clean, but they drink and use it for daily use. As a solution, we wanted to collect the rainwater and make it drinking water”. More concretely, they came up with “a small box in which we can put all the elements like sand filtration, storage, and the UV unit”. Afterwards they identified a location in the city where they could put this box. Ayman also stressed that all elements were from local materials.

In addition to the box, the team thought of a solution on how to pump the water through the system. Since often the women and kids had to fetch the water, they thought of a children’s playgrounds with treadmills and other products to produce the energy to pump the water. “We calculated everything about the rain, participation, and capital costs, and we found it’s good. It’s easy to apply. We just need community effort. They can build the parks, they can build the storage, the sand filtration, everything. We just need the pump and UV unit”.

Ayman’s main takeaway from the conference is that it’s good to look outside towards other countries. “We can manage our culture and our thinking together and bring something we can use for solutions”.

Meeting his Majesty, the King of the Netherlands:

“Yeah, it was really nice to meet the king. Also, because he was very active in water. He asked us about our solutions, and we explained our project and solution. He was really excited to know our case. Especially because he was very active in water before he became a king”.

Intergenerational dialogue:

“To make decisions, we cannot do without the generational people. We need them because they are the advising people there. They have the experience, and they can help us like a coach. They have the experience; they have the knowledge. But we have the power and also the ambition to make things better.”

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