Holland Alumni from Southern Africa tackle water-energy-food challenges

Publication date: Sep 06, 2019 01:10 PM

Professionals from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa met in Pretoria for three days to discuss challenges and solutions in the nexus between water, energy and food security. Through keynote speeches, panel discussions and workshops the main conclusion after three days was: regional knowledge sharing and joint solutions are the only way to solve current and future challenges.

Common background

The 70 participants have one thing in common: they all studied in the Netherlands on a scholarship or participated in capacity development projects, realised through Dutch government funded programmes, like the current Orange Knowledge Programme. The event in Pretoria marked the first edition of the Orange Knowledge Exchange Series, with as its main aim to create a regional platform, and to foster networking and stimulate collaboration between alumni, knowledge institutions, business and governmental bodies. 

In his In his address to the alumni, Jan Huesken, Deputy Head of Mission at the Netherlands Embassy in South Africa said:  “The Holland alumni are our real ambassadors because they know the Netherlands and their local context very well. Through international cooperation we cocreate solutions for our joint challenges”

Regional solutions

South African participant Sifundo Gwala indicated that the discussions between participants created mutual understanding and that this would help in coming up with solutions: “We learned a lot this week on for example circular economy and sustainable development, but also on governance issues around the challenges we face in the water-energy-food nexus. What I take away from this event, is that I am more convinced than before that regional cooperation and international expertise are key to solving the challenges we face at home”.

Developing knowledge and networks

Nuffic, initiator and host, looks back at a successful event. Mervin Bakker, Regional Director at Nuffic’s Netherlands Education Support Office (NESO) in South Africa, concludes: “For the Netherlands it is of vital importance that Holland Alumni stay in touch so they can share the knowledge gained and build relevant networks in sectors that are important for the further development of themselves, their organisations, countries, regions, and the cooperation with the Netherlands”.

The Orange Knowledge Programme

The Orange Knowledge Programme is a €220 million Dutch global development programme available in 54 countries and managed by Nuffic, the Dutch organization for internationalisation in Education. Launched mid-2017, it aims to have provided tens of thousands with the possibility to change their future through education and training by mid-2020. The programme is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The next regional event in the Orange Knowledge exchange series is taking place in Asia from 20-22 November and focuses on the water-food nexus. 

last modified Oct 03, 2019 02:59 PM