22 March 2017
Estonian water companies taking their knowledge of water management to Africa
On the conference organized today in the event of the international World Water Day, the Estonian Water Works Association (EVEL) announced the launch of a cooperation project with the NGO Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE), which aims to develop and implement a water education program in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. In the coming weeks, the project will produce an expert opinion and based on the results of that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Environment will decide on their possible support to the project.
„Aim of this project is to change the Nigerians’ attitudes towards water consumption, to teach them how to use water more sparingly, how to reduce pollution, and to promote the importance of water systems among various target groups, but especially at schools,” Managing Director of EVEL, Vahur Tarkmees explained. „EVEL also contributes its time, knowledge, skills and expertise to this project; I can see an opportunity here also for the Estonian construction companies, consultancy and IT companies who could export their know-how to the region with the fastest growing population in the world.“
Above all, the Estonian assistance is expected in the development of the particular education program and methodology, in finding the teachers and preparing the study materials. To raise the awareness, the program hopes to use as many e-solutions as possible – videos, smart solutions, interactive web-based learning – to attract the attention of young people.
Initially, EVEL anticipates a four-years project with a total cost of approximately EUR 500,000. According to Vahur Tarkmees a local NGO PAVE has promised to finance 30% of this, the rest of the sum is expected to be found with the help of ministries and sponsors, not precluding also the involvement of an external assistance.
Today, the population of Nigeria is 182 million inhabitants, by 2050, this number if expected to increase to nearly 400 million people. Need for protecting the country’s groundwater resources has increased drastically, due to the increasing population, climate change, urbanisation and shortage of energy, but the population’s awareness about the risks in water management is low.
EVEL’s expert forum recently came back from its first mission to Nigeria, financed from the Development Cooperation funds provided by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Aim of that mission was to collect locally information about the condition and management of the existing water infrastructure, and people’s attitudes towards the implementation of the education program, in order to make the recommendations.
„In the coming weeks, the project will produce an expert opinion based on the collected data, which will confirm whether our skills and resources are sufficient to provide assistance to Nigeria. What we saw there was definitely promising – today, all the stakeholders clearly have the will and physical readiness to start the program,“ member of the EVEL’s expert group participating in the mission, lecturer and doctoral research fellow from Tallinn University of Applied Sciences Erki Lember sätted.
„This is the first official cooperation project between Estonia and Nigeria. If this proves successful, it may become a platform for the sectoral cooperation and a success story for Estonia, making even stronger the image of Estonia as an e-country in the world,” Vahur Tarkmees said.
News about the Estonian water companies’ mission was reflected also in the Nigerian media:
Estonian Waterworks Association (www.evel.ee), EVEL, is a nation-wide voluntary association of water companies, providing service through the public water supply and sewerage system, and other companies related to the same field of activity, established in 1995. EVEL represents 47 water companies and 30 water-related companies.
Erki Lember, Member of the EVEL expert group
Ph: 5358 5360 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vahur Tarkmees, Managing Director of EVEL
Ph: +372 530 92 153; e-mail: email@example.com