Previous interuniversity and interfaculty collaboration of the partners through various projects created the general awareness of the need for educational development in sustainable water resources management and aquatic environments in countries in the South. Each of the Flemish (co-)promotors have a specific affiliation with one or more of the partners of the South through years of collaboration within the VLIR framework. The idea of using e-learning tools presented itself as they provide a cost-efficient way to reach and teach many target groups in the involved countries but even all over the world, are reusable and easy to spread and understand, and stimulate global cooperation starting from the local research activities.
Countries in the South are typically challenged with problems related to water resource management and the collection and processing of data in a standardised way. The aim of this project is to use e-learning tools and learning objects (e.g. short videos) to teach concepts related to water resource management and aquatic ecology (freshwater & marine), to promote standardised methodologies and quality control, and to provide information on how to implement results in water resource management.
Link with the VLIR-UOS country strategy
In all three countries, environmental protection and restoration is of paramount importance and this is also incorporated in the country strategies. In particular the water resources play a crucial role in drinking water provision, aquaculture and fisheries. As these resources are under very high pressure via agricultural, urban and industrial development, a proper monitoring has to be set up as soon as possible. For this, awareness building among both the citizens and policy-makers is crucial to allow that developed methods in science are quickly introduced, and in a convenient manner the methods are learned by a broad set of staff members active in universities and water management authorities (such as environmental agencies). The development of movies has the advantage that via the use of subtitles and dubbing, this information from science can be quickly transferred to and shared with many people, and avoids that crucial elements are overlooked and missed in the training. For Suriname, the project is in line with a main thematic focus area of the VLIR-UOS country strategy (sustainable use of natural resources) and the transversal support themes (education, research and social services). The same counts for Vietnam and Ecuador, where also water related master programmes are developed in the network projects. Furthermore, this project is linked with the existing IUC-ADEKUS programme and the output (E-learning tools) is suited for application in specific courses in the MSc programmes organised within this network.