The selection process behind the Women’s Water Initiative
When it comes to water management, women in developing countries are often not involved in the decision-making process. This means that women’s perspectives often go unheard.
When it comes to water management, women in developing countries are often not involved in the decision-making process. This means that women’s perspectives often go unheard. The Women’s Water Initiative (formerly known as the Women’s Water Fund) helps address this issue by supporting women from developing countries who want to further their water management careers.
We spoke with DHI Group CEO Antoine Labrosse – in his first year as Chairman of the Women’s Water Initiative – about the value of the programme. He also discussed the process of selecting just eight participants from this year’s applicant pool of approximately 50 women.
Why was the Women’s Water Initiative established?
Antoine Labrosse: Women are under-represented in the water management field. The Women’s Water Initiative provides participants with managerial knowledge and insight into how water sector managers work. This inspires and helps them advance in their careers.
What is DHI’s role in the Women’s Water Initiative?
Antoine: We share our 50 years of global knowledge of water environments with the participants through training at our headquarters. They also visit key water management organisations. In addition, the women participate in a one-week internship as well as a mentoring programme. They continue to maintain contact with their mentors after returning to their home countries.
What is the selection process for the Women’s Water Initiative?
Antoine: First, we look at whether the candidate has fulfilled the qualifications put forth in the call for applications. For those who do, the Women’s Water Initiative Board then reviews each CV, the applicant’s work experience and their letter of motivation before making the final selection.
What makes a candidate stand out from the crowd?
Antoine: To stand out from the crowd, the most important factor is the letter of motivation. We’re looking for women who show strong leadership potential and demonstrate the desire to develop it.
What value does the Women’s Water Initiative bring to the women who are selected?
Antoine: We’ve received very positive feedback from previous participants – many of them credit their career progression to the skills and training provided by the programme. Many of the previous participants keep in touch with their mentors and praise the support they’ve continued to receive from them.
How does the Women’s Water Initiative support our quest of solving challenges in water environments?
Antoine: People in developing countries are especially affected by inadequate water management. We use our experience – gained from working in more than 140 countries – to give these women the insight and tools they need to improve water management in many ways: by saving water, sharing it fairly, improving its quality, quantifying its impact, protecting from flooding and pollution, and managing it wisely. By doing this, we’re helping contribute to better development and implementation of water policies.
The Women Water Initiative was originally funded by the “King Hassan II Great World Water Prize” presented to DHI’s Professor Torkil Jønch Clausen at the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico in 2006. This year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Danida) is co-sponsoring the programme, which will begin in September.