Bridging the Water: Dutch trainers deliver PPT and SOM courses in Durban

At the end of March 2022 Claudia Peters and Gabrielle Knufman from World Water Academy, together with Dutch Trainers Hans Mollen and Melanie Vermeeren, traveled to Durban and Cape Town, South Africa, to deliver two final training courses as part of the Orange Knowledge Project ‘Bridging the Water’. In this article Hans and Melanie share their experiences.


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We, Hans Mollen and Melanie Vermeeren, are both employed at the Dutch Water board “Waterschap Brabantse Delta”, respectively as senior process engineer and process engineer. As trainers we try to build bridges between the theory and the practice of wastewater treatment. In Durban, we delivered the three-day training course "Plant Performance and Trouble shooting” (PPT) and the two day training course “Sludge Operating and Maintenance (SOM)”. Both training sessions were given to (senior) process controllers from various wastewater treatment plants of EWS (Ethekwini Water and Sanitation). Both trainings were delivered in collaboration with our South African colleague trainers, who were previously trained to be a trainer by World Water Academy. As local experts, they were very enthusiastic and worked hard to make the training successful. We are confident that they can now continue training independently and train even more of their colleagues, and take them to the next level of wastewater treatment.

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We have experienced how motivated, enthusiastic, curious and eager to learn all participants taking part in the training were. It was amazing to share our knowledge and practical experience with our South African colleagues in an interactive way. It has led to knowledge sharing, interesting discussions, the provision of new information and finally the issuing of 45 certificates. Due to the enthusiasm of the participants, the positive atmosphere and the demand for new learning objectives and even more information we look back on a very successful visit.

We concluded our participation in the project with the final OKP Closing Workshop in Franschhoek near Cape Town. Together with all project partners and stakeholders we evaluated the lessons learned and shared positive results and experiences. We finished this interesting day with an outlook to the future, how future collaboration and moving on beyond the project can be realized together. In the afternoon we joined the excursion to the Water hub in Franschoek. With this interesting day we celebrated the success of the OKP project together.

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It was a very positive experience to help the new trainers in South Africa so that they can regularly give this training by themselves. We would not have wanted to miss this experiences in which we, as well as our South African colleagues, learned a lot. We hope to have contributed to close part of the gap between theory and practice in the South African water sector, and that we can continue to help to make the gap even smaller. We would definitely like to return to in the future!