Reflection on turning point of a Myanmar Young Water Professional (Fourth Batch)

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"The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow" ̶ Nelson Mendela. I grew up with the mindset of which person do I like to become tomorrow. But these capacity building programs changed my outlook and contribution to be good enough to impact society. What I have learnt here is "Young people are not only the leaders of tomorrow. They are the leaders of today and tomorrow".
The eleven month long Young Water Professionals (YWP) programme is the flagship programme of National Water Resources Committee (NWRC) and designed to groom young professionals for the implementation of the Integrated Water Resources Management in Myanmar. It is supported by the Government of Australia (through the Australian Water Partnership) and the Government of the Netherlands, and Water Aid Myanmar provides oversight of the YWP program financial management.

YWP fourth batch brought together 13 candidates combined with mid-level government officials from various water related Ministries and non-government professionals from diverse fields. My early career experiences in environmental impact assessment with civil engineering background enhanced my chances to become one of the six non-government candidates getting through particular skill assessment tests. The YWPs received training and mentoring in various decision making aspects of water projects through lectures, seminars and field trips locally and abroad for long-term water security and sustainability to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

Every year YWPs had their own adventures to explore different perspectives and learning to bring positive impact the community. As one of the highlights in the fourth batch, an exciting opportunity had arisen to gain our exposure to a global water community of practice. YWP Fourth batch was fortunate to participate as delegates in the Emerging Water Professionals Programme (EWPP) supported by the Australia Government, which is a part of 21st International River Symposium held in Sydney, October 14-18 last year. EWPP is open to anyone who is within the first ten years of their career to foster water management by supporting the professional development of future water leaders.

The most remarkable EWPP event was the Water Wisdom Breakfast at a Jones Wharf restaurant, Darling Harbour. All 42 EWPP delegates from different countries were invited to join this early breakfast event created the atmosphere to be one-on-one conversations with senior delegates, keynote speakers and different people around the globe. The purpose of the event was brilliant which included coffee talks with experienced water professionals from various backgrounds and fun activities to encourage the power of team spirit.

My personal gain from this event reflects not only the philosophies in my life but also the missions of my professional career. How much do these inspiring people passionate about their contribution to the water sector? How important strong collaboration among different stakeholders is for water security? How can I strengthen my leadership to network effectively? I came home with the head full of racing thoughts for our country.

This participation ignites young professionals like us the pressing water challenges in respective countries and around the world. Moreover, it motivates us to keep learning, inspiring and embracing innovations. We got to know that sustaining our environment for our generations is essential by promoting best practices and collaboration, and cultivating the optimistic way of thinking to find out solutions for the stresses on our community.

"Success isn't about how much money you make. It's about the difference you make in people's lives" ̶ Michelle Obama.


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