At the end of August, I had the greatest pleasure of attending the Stockholm World Water Week. It was honestly beyond what I expected and I hope I can capture as much as I can in this post.

Photo: Tshepiso Lehutjo

Firstly, what is World Water Week?

The Stockholm World Water Week is an annual event running for 5/6 days serving as a meeting place for scientist, policy makers, the private sector and civil society. The event is hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute. This year was the 28th year with the thematic scope- Water, Ecosystems and Human Development. You cannot be bored as the schedule is jam-packed with events, seminars, field visits, sofa sessions and my personal favorite, the exhibitors.

There were over 50 exhibitions which were on display the whole week. This gave one the chance to talk directly with companies and organizations. It was the perfect opportunity, not only to network but to see just how many people are concerned with water.

African Ministers during a High Panel session
One of the exhibitors, Department of Water and Sanitation South Africa. There were many more including the UNICEF, UNESCO, Japan Water Forum,WWF and World Bank Group .

My Role at World Water Week?

When I wasn’t trying to get a picture of the King (which I failed at dismally) participating in seminars or collecting business cards, I was working behind the scenes to make the conference run smoothly. Around 90 of us volunteered to be the manpower behind the event. It was the most fulfilling and valuable position to be in- according to me. As an assistant, you knew exactly what was happening and when, so you could be strategic with your day. You were also the person anyone walked up to for information- giving you the perfect position to start chatting to CEOs, dignitaries and the likes under the guise of helping them.

The uniform, the disguise
The many volunteers I got to share the week with!

It was not only just work, we definitely played hard.

Every evening there was one event or the other. From cocktails to dinner and the biggest of them all, the mingle and dance on the eve of the closing. Everyone came out to play and celebrate. It was a happy evening, perhaps because at that moment we had faith that something good would come from the week’s meetings and dialogues.

Cocktails at the Stockholm City Hall

My take home from The 2018 SIWI World Water Week:

  • It is not only for people who are directly linked to the water sector
  • There is hope. We aren’t the only ones trying to make the world a better place.
  • People in “high” places are also just people
From the photobooth. Water can be fun!
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