It’s Mr. Mirkhel’s final week in the Netherlands before he returns to his home country. His supervisor Dr. Haidari, an Afghan diaspora expert who took part in the CD4D project, organized a workshop on June 6th 2018 at TU Delft in cooperation with IOM.
The workshop, appropriately titled “Water, Capacity building and Peace in Afghanistan”, presented a range of challenges to water management that Afghanistan faces today and how these could be resolved.
One of the key persons in this workshop was Mr Mirkhel, an Afghan water specialist who works at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) of Afghanistan. The aim of his study visit was to gain more insights about how to implement the revival of an ancient irrigation system- Kariz – on a technical level. With the support of IOM and CD4D, bringing the Kariz back to life is included in Afghanistan’s national budget for the first time in the country’s history. Upon return to Afghanistan, Mr. Mirkhel plans to give workshops to engage local communities and development organizations.
Mr. Mirkhel presenting the Kariz system
Dr. Haidari, who is a water specialist himself and closely worked with Mr. Mirkhel during his visit said, “The future discourse of Afghanistan and its neighbour Tajikistan requires an enhancement of capacity building, particularly in legal and technical matters related to water” – and notes how that is precisely how CD4D counteracts brain drain in Afghanistan.
The Professor of Drinking Water & Urban Water Cycle Technology at TU Delft, Luuk Rietveld, emphasized the importance of water sustainability and knowledge transfer. For those who would like to remotely learn about water management, he recommends a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) from TU Delft.
Later the Afghan Ambassador to the Netherlands, His Excellency M. Homayoon Azizi held a moving speech about Afghanistan’s wealth of natural resources that are less accessible now than ever due to ongoing atrocities. He firmly believes that capacity building is the best aid for strengthening his home country and for that reason, he believes the CD4D project to be vital as no water management institutions currently exist in Afghanistan.
Martin Wyss, the Chief of Mission IOM The Hague, stressed the importance of IOM’s role as facilitator in capacity building by connecting diaspora with their country of origin to counteract brain drain. Next to transferring knowledge, diaspora experts can be vital in establishing and maintaining connections between institutions in the country of origin and institutions in the Netherlands, the water management unit at TU Delft and the MRRD in Afghanistan being a perfect example.
From left to right: Mr. Tabesh, Mr. Wyss, Prof.dr.ir. L.C. Rietveld, H.E. Mr. Dr. M. Homayoon Azizi, Mr. Mirkhel, Mr. Gulam, Mr. Akrami, Dr. Haidari
To learn more about the topic, the presentations of Mr. Mirkhel and Dr. Haidari can be found below.