The University of Zambia (UNZA) through the School of Mines has launched the Capacity Building programme for the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation and World Vision with a focus on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Groundwater Modelling on Tuesday, 11th October 2022.
Speaking during the launch, Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation Permanent Secretary, Eng. Joe Kalusha, says that the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation values the long-standing partnership with UNZA as evidenced by over 100 members of staff who have been trained in various programmes and initiatives such as basic hydrogeology, basic hydrology and Information Management for the development sector.
“I believe that this training will impart the necessary skills and knowledge my officers and the World Vision needed to enhance their capabilities and skills in groundwater development, monitoring and management, which will, in turn, lead to improved accessibility of clean and safe water to our people in various communities around the country,” he said.
Eng. Kalusha implored participants to take the training seriously because the provision of clean and safe water was one of the most important goals the Government was targeting to achieve.
“The Government is committed to improving access to clean, safe water and adequate sanitation as well as ensuring national water security for all as enshrined in the 8th National Development Plan. This target is very important for the country because it will help us to meet Sustainable Development Goal Number Six (6) which aims to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary further said the aspiration to achieve this target could not be fully realized through dependence on surface water alone, but ground resources were expected to play an important part due to the fact that groundwater, unlike surface water, could be accessed in most parts of the country.
“There is continued pressure on groundwater resources in terms of accessibility and availability. This calls for concerted efforts from the Government and all stakeholders to enhance management, development and monitoring of groundwater in order to protect it from overuse and contamination,” he said.
Eng Kalusaha said to meet this expectation a skilled and proactive workforce was required that could effectively deliver on the vision of the water sector. He added that the application of GIS in groundwater resources management as well as groundwater modelling was constantly on the rise as water specialists continue to realise the crucial role that these methods play.
“It is for this reason that the Government through the Ministry of Water and Development and Sanitation and all its partners has come up with the idea of designing a tailor-made short course, which will equip our officers with up-to-date scientific skills in groundwater resource management. Further, I would like to encourage all of you to participate fully in the training in order to achieve the intended outcome of the training,” he said.
And UNZA Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Anne Sikwibele thanked the Government through the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation for entrusting the University with the responsibility to conduct capacity building training in GIS and Groundwater Modelling.
Prof Sikwibele said the university was ready to partner with the Government and other stakeholders in providing such specialised training programmes whenever called upon.
She further said that in order to meet the demand for such specialised skills the university through the Quality Assurance Unit has made efforts to re-design the curriculum to ensure that graduates acquire critical skills to perform such roles and responsibilities in the industry.
The capacity building training has attracted 15 participants from the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation and World Vision.