Science - September 15, 2005

Irrigation chair group shares knowledge

The Irrigation and Water Engineering group is to help six universities in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to set up courses in integrated water management. The group will receive 4.1 million euros from the Dutch government department for development cooperation, DGIS.

About twenty teachers from the Asian universities will visit Wageningen to sample the courses offered at Wageningen University. They will also take part in the fieldwork practical in Spain that the chair group organises each year.

The project will be headed by Dr Peter Mollinga, who used to work in India for the chair group and now works at the Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung in Bonn, Germany.
Gerrit van Vuren of the Irrigation and Water Engineering group is proud that the group has acquired the project. ‘We want to familiarise them with our socio-technical approach. We hope that by showing them what we are doing they will come up with their own ideas. The fieldwork practical in Spain, for example, we think that this could be a real eye-opener for them: tetting out and about and talking to people in the field about their problems, not everyone is used to doing that. And of course they are the most suitable people to ensure that relevant problems are addressed in their teaching.’

The Irrigation and Water Engineering group also stands a good chance of acquiring a similar project for the Andes region. Van Vuren: ‘We have also been asked if we can set up something similar for Africa, but we think it’s better to gain some experience first. Next year we can think again about whether we can take on more.’ / KV

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