AGUASAN workshops undergo an annual cycle of preparation, organisation, realisation and assessment overlooked by the steering committee. Every year the team works with a facilitator to choose a “hot” topic and to carefully prepare the event. Due to the nature and purpose of the event, the committee just defines the “playground” for workshop as a function of the topic, but not solutions or outcomes. This flexibility lays a lot of trust in the hands of the steering during the workshop, which has to react to the process during the event and to steer it accordingly (rolling planning). Skat heads the steering committee and bears the overall responsibility of organising and conducting the workshop series.
In order to do this, Skat:
- Facilitates the workshop conceptualisation, development, performance and evaluation of the event by leading the steering committee during the preparation, implementation and after-action phases;
- Coaches the resource persons as well as the case study preparations and presentations involved;
- Organises the workshop venue and excursion, whilst assuring all logistics;
- Supports the workshop secretariat in-between and during the workshops;
- Performs the reporting of the event and produces workshop proceedings in electronic format as well as wider publications according to the guidance provided by the steering committee;
- Sub-contracts, manages and evaluates the workshop moderator as well as the resource persons.
Recent AGUASAN workshop topics include Caring & Integrated Management, Private Sector Participation, Household-Centred Approach, Opportunities & Challenges in a Decentralised Context and the impact of Personal Paradigms. The workshop 2010 dealt with the topic of “Large Scaling-Up”, answering how to effectively influence large water sector investments so that they contribute to the scaling up of successful piloted service delivery models and established good practices. The 2011 workshop addressed the implications and actions needed to put the human rights to water and sanitation into practice. In its most recent editions, the AGUASAN workshop tackled in 2014 the question of “How to bridge the water, food and energy sector divides for increased benefits and resilience in watersheds?”, whereas in 2015 “Disaster Risk Reduction in WASH” was addressed.
The Report on Effectiveness (SDC/SECO, 2008) concluded that the “Swiss experts are continuously kept updated through AGUASAN, which is considered the professional body on questions regarding water and development in Switzerland and represents an effective knowledge community”. Even more approachable and self-speaking about the impact and outreach of AGUASAN is the fact, that the workshops constantly trigger an overwhelming interest for participation among sector professionals (in Switzerland and aboard) and among SDC operational units.
“When you sit together with people that you trust, you know that the new knowledge that you receive is of high quality and is validated. You can find in the internet everything, however in AGUASAN meetings and workshops you can be sure that the information you have has empirical evidence” (Interview 2009)
Knowledge Management for Development Journal, Vol. 5, No. 3, December 2009, 263-271