The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska made a statement at World Water Week in Stockholm Aug. 28-Sept. 2, leading two sessions and participating in several meetings and events.
WFI Executive Director Peter McCornick introduced the first session, “Role Playing How Water Markets Improve Food Security and the Environment,” co-convened by WFI, Mammoth Trading and the Rockefeller Foundation. Co-leader Nick Brozovic, director of policy for the institute, discussed the worldwide problem of drought, causing substantial losses to jobs and the economy at large. While many have pointed to water markets and market-like transactions as a solution to scarcity, markets are little understood and often misrepresented in the media. Co-leader Richael Young, co-founder and president of Mammoth Trading, explained that water transactions occur through a variety of structures, including bilateral contracts, auctions, bulletin boards, and algorithmic clearing. Fred Boltz with the Rockefeller Foundation discussed how markets must integrate geophysical and social sciences with business, environmental, and legal issues. Markets can be leveraged for many purposes by many users, including agricultural, environmental, industrial, and municipal.
Session leaders helped the participants engage in a real-time mock trading exercise where participants made water trades based on various assumptions. The room became loud as buyers negotiated with sellers, both parties looking to make the best deal.
At the close of the event, participants shared their comments and asked questions from the co-conveners. “This was very enlightening,” said Debra Leigh, president of Leigh Environmental Equipment. “And it was a lot of fun!”
The second session focused on the importance of effective communication. “Telling Your Story to Make an Impact,” was co-convened by WFI, the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, KickStart International and Canary & Coal. Executive Director Peter McCornick once again introduced the topic and session leaders. WFI Director of Communications Molly Nance set the stage, outlining the many challenges to effective communication and providing an example of how KickStart International used video to creatively tell their story.
Co-leaders then organized the participants into five groups to discuss the communication steps involved in telling your story:
- Identifying your communication goals and audiences by Molly Nance, Water for Food Global Institute
- Determining the most effective media to reach your targeted audience by Randa Zalman, Canary & Coal
- Building trust by Michael Victor, Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, CGIAR
- Developing a creative platform by Jenna Rogers-Raffery, KickStart International
- Producing outreach events by Jesse Starita, Water for Food Global Institute
Every 10 minutes, the topic leaders would move to the next group so that all groups had the benefit of discussion on the topics. The room erupted in conversation as participants asked questions and shared their communication trials. The audience included young engineers, new and more experienced communicators, NGO coordinators from African and European countries and others.
After the round robin session, moderator Anna-Carin Windahl, founder and managing director of Grapevine Communications led a panel of experts from various backgrounds:
- Christopher Neale, director of research, Water for Food Global Institute
- Michael Ramaano, WACDEP regional manager, GWP Southern Africa
- Mbaruku Vyakweli, head of corporate communications, Nairobi Water and Sewerage
- Chhavi Sachdev, Public Radio International
Each panelist discussed the importance of communication from their unique perspectives, generating more comments and questions from the session participants. Co-leaders provided all of the session participants with a USB flash drive of resources they could use as a communications toolkit following the conference.
In addition to leading World Water Week sessions and participating in other sessions focused on water and food security, WFI leaders participated in meetings with partners, such as FAO, IWMI, IFPRI, the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Water Council, U.S. Water Partnership, UNESCO-IHE, USDA, and several others.
World Water Week is one of the largest international conferences focused on the world’s water issues. It is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute, or SIWI. This year, the theme was Water for Sustainable Growth. It was also the 20th jubilee of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. More than 3,500 individuals and close to 300 convening organizations from 130 countries participated in the event.
For more information about World Water Week and the progress being made, visit: worldwaterweek.org/category/pressrelease