About this Course
The Sustainable Development Goals are driving global efforts to increase water service levels and food security, expand rural electrification, and ensure no vulnerable population is excluded from accessing basic services. In this context, national water supply strategies are increasingly relying on solar powered water systems (SPWS) for rehabilitating, upgrading, and developing new infrastructure and building resiliency against climate change. However, misconceptions and capacity gaps persist. National policies often fail to create a healthy enabling environment for the technology. Existing international standards and reference materials are underutilized, leading to inadequate dimensioning, installation, and maintenance. Unless SPWS are implemented and supported effectively, the benefits of the technology will not be realized and existing water supply challenges will only be amplified.
This online instructor-led course aims to address common misconceptions regarding SPWS, raise awareness and increase utilization of existing standards and reference materials, and ultimately improve sustainability and impact of SPWS and ultimately improve sustainability and impact of SPWS. The content of this course was developed in collaboration with seasoned experts from UNICEF, Water Mission, IWMI, IOM, Oxfam, Practica Foundation, the University of Texas at Austin, USGS, and Engineers Without Borders.
By the end of the course participants will
- Understand opportunities, risks, and common barriers to sustainability associated with SPWS
- Appraise the existing capacity gaps for effective SPWS programming in their own professional context
- Apply existing standards, guidelines, and best practices for SPWS in their own professional context
- Interact with professionals from around the world who are implementing SPWS in various capacities
Participants are expected to dedicate a minimum of four hours per week over a seven-week period to the course. This time dedication should be enough to review required readings and participate in all activities (forums, exercises, quizzes). All participants who wish to read suggested readings and view related videos will require more time.
Ensuring commitment to the course and avoiding dropout
In order to minimise dropout from the course and to obtain a baseline of knowledge, attitudes, and practice all selected participants will complete a mandatory pre-course survey. Individuals who fail to complete the pre-course survey within two weeks will not be eligible to participate in the course.
The course is structured by modules. Each module will run for one to two weeks, during which course participants must complete all required activities.
In all modules, participants are expected to:
- View brief introductory video
- Complete required readings
- Participate in an online discussion forum
- Prepare an individual assignment (two assignments throughout the course)
- Complete a quiz
Participants will also have access to recommended readings, videos, and suggested websites.
- Module 1: Introduction to solar powered water systems: 16 September – 29 September
- Module 2: Design and installation of solar powered water systems: 30 September – 6 October
- Module 3: Costing and procurement of solar powered water systems: 7 October – 13 October
- Module 4: Enabling environment for solar powered water systems: 14 October – 20 October
- Module 5: Operation and maintenance of solar powered water systems: 21 October – 27 October
- Module 6: Leaving no one behind in solar powered water supply programs: 28 October – 3 November
Criteria for course completion and certification
In order to pass the course and receive a certificate, participants are expected to score a minimum of 50 points according to the following criteria while completing required activities including participating in discussion forums, completing quizzes, and submitting assignments:
- Participation in discussion forums – Five points per module (30 total points for participation in all six modules, minimum participation in three forums required)
- Quizzes – Five points per module (30 total points for completion of all six modules, minimum completion of three quizzes required)
- Assignments – 20 points per assignment (40 total points for completion of both assignments, both assignments should be submitted)
Participants who obtain at least 50 points will receive a certificate granted by the course organizers.
The course discussion forums will be facilitated by a team of seasoned experts from UNICEF, Water Mission, IOM, Engineers Without Borders, IWMI, and Cap-Net.
Andrew Armstrong – Senior Program Advisor, Water Mission
City: Oxford, UK
Bio: I am a licensed professional environmental engineer in the United States and have been a sustainability advisor for Water Mission programs since 2011. I also have the privilege of serving as the solar pumping topic lead for the Rural Water Supply Network. In this capacity and based on Water Mission’s experience designing, installing, and supporting more than 1,200 solar powered water systems in rural communities, institutions, and refugee settings over the past decade, I work to promote best practice and build capacity of the rural water supply sector to support solar pumping solutions.
City: New York, NY, USA
Bio: My background is in hydrogeology, the understanding of which is critical to design solar powered water systems. I have worked in Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan, Kenya, Haiti, Bangladesh and Jordan, as well as in UNICEF’s Supply Division. As UNICEF’s focal point in the partnership with Water Mission, I had the honour to participate in a series of conference calls with UNICEF colleagues from around the world. These calls helped us gauge the challenges faced by UNICEF programmes at all stages of SPWS and understand what support is required to make SPWS successful, both of which have influenced the design of this course.
City: Charleston, SC, USA
Bio: I lead the global engineering department at Water Mission and am a registered professional engineer in the United States. Water Mission has used solar powered water systems in development and disaster projects for over 10 years in multiple countries worldwide. My task is to ensure that technical standards are followed within the design and installation of these systems, as well as to be a resource to other organizations that want to hold to the same standards of quality.
City: Copenhagen, Denmark
Bio: I work in UNICEF’s Supply Division in the WASH Technical Unit, where a large part of the programs’ SPWS are procured. Prior to that, I worked for 3 years in UNHCR Geneva HQ’s WASH team, supporting SPWS implementation in the field through technical support and data analysis/knowledge management.
City: Kampala, Uganda
Bio: I am a licensed professional engineer with the Engineers Registration Board of Uganda. I have over 15 years’ experience in the water and sanitation sector in Uganda, Liberia, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia. I currently lead the design and installation of solar water pumping systems in refugee settlements and host communities in Uganda. Relatedly, I am extremely honored to be leading the Uganda Solar Technical Working Group which has been tasked to prepare an annex to the Water Supply Design Manual of the Ministry of Water and Environment, focusing on Solar Water Pumping Systems.
Sean McSwain – Director of Partnership Support, Water Mission
City: Charleston, SC, USA
Bio: I develop and maintains partnerships, facilitate the success of field implementers through design, training, and equipment sales, and provide oversight for the field staff located in Indonesia. I also oversee the logistics department that supplies solar pumping equipment to Water Mission country programs and supported partners. I hold a BS in Civil Engineering from Auburn University, an MBA from Liberty University, and am a licensed professional engineer in Virginia.
City: Nairobi, Kenya
Bio: I am an electronic physicist with postgraduate degrees in Water engineering, Hydrogeology, Climate Change Management and Solar PV Technologies. I have over 15 years of emergency and post crisis with different NGOs and UN agencies. Since 2015 my work is focused on the Water-Energy-Climate Change link, coordinating the Global Solar and Water Initiative.
City: Yangon, Myanmar
Bio: I am a Senior Researcher at the International Water Management Institute and currently lead the Research Group on Agricultural Water Management. My research group focusses on developing suitable solutions such as solar based irrigation for smallholder farmers to improve their agricultural resilience and assess the impacts and trade-offs of scaling those solutions on water resource availability and quality.
City: Charleston, SC, USA
Bio: As an engineer and the project manager for Water Mission in Tanzania, I have experience with full life-cycle management of solar projects in a variety of contexts including hospitals, schools, rural communities, and large refugee camps. I also have a master’s degree in Integrated Water Resource Management which incorporates integrated approaches to technical solutions.
City: Port Vila, Vanuatu
Bio: With a Master’s degree in Renewable Energy and a pre-“development” career in career oil and gas exploration, I have since been tackling water-energy nexus challenges in Indonesia and the Pacific. Now working as a WASH Specialist in Vanuatu, I am also the Sustainable Energy Focal Point for UNICEF Pacific.
The course is free to participants and is sponsored by a partnership of international development organisations.
Interested participants may apply online until August 16.
The course is open to a maximum of 100 participants representing various stakeholder groups from the global water sector and who are interested to actively follow the course, participate in all activities, and complete all modules.
The course is targeted to professionals with technical and non-technical backgrounds who are involved or considering involvement in planning, managing, or monitoring water supply programs that utilize solar powered pumps.
The following criteria will be considered for participants selection:
• Gender balance
• Engagement of young professional (target at least 30% aged below 36 in January 2019)
• Professional responsibilities directly related to the course topic
• Global representation while accommodating regions that have higher percentages of applicants
• Preference given to members of Cap-Net affiliated networks or partners, such as RWSN
• Preference given to applicants who present a letter of institutional support
As this an introductory course, no previous knowledge on or experience with SPWS or electromechanical pumping systems is required.
This course is (co)-organized by
September 16, 2019 - November 3, 2019