By Peter Schulte
For those who don’t know, the Hub is an online collaboration and knowledge sharing platform for water. Or, as we like to say sometimes, it’s a “dating” site for water sustainability partners. Originally launched in 2012 by the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, which is implemented in partnership with the Pacific Institute, the Hub now features over 900 projects and 700 organizations around the world.
While we were initially inspired to build the Hub because CEO Water Mandate-endorsing businesses wanted to be able to better identify and connect to potential water partners, the Hub is actually designed and available for anyone in the world: NGOs, communities, utilities, academics, and individuals. Anyone in the world can go to the Hub, create an account for free in five minutes, list their water-related efforts and goals, and find and message others from around the world with similar interests.
Water Action Hub 3.0 – made possible through a grant from GIZ’s Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) – features hundreds of new projects and organizations, a new and improved interface, and considerable new functionality including:
- Proactive matching that suggests potential water partners to one another via email
- The ability to author and share lessons learned related to water sustainability efforts
- Community “portals” that capture all relevant information on particular locations, topics, and interests and fosters discussion and coordination around their communities of practice
Sharing Lessons Learned
We are particularly excited for the new “lessons” functionality. Through these lessons, anyone in the world can articulate insights on good practices or barriers to project success and tag them by country, topic, project phase, etc. Once they publish the lessons to the Hub, they are then recommended to other projects around the Hub based on shared location, topic, project phase, etc. In this way, the Hub can help ensure that key insights on designing and implementing water sustainability can be shared around the world, making all of our efforts more effective and efficient.
As part of this effort, earlier this year Hannah Baleta of the Pacific Institute traveled from her home in South Africa to four other countries in sub-Saharan Africa to talk to project partners and stakeholders involved with GIZ water sustainability projects there. Through these discussions, Hannah was able to glean several core lessons about water sustainability partnerships, which were published as lessons in the Hub. And stay tuned for an upcoming blog series from Hannah about her visits and discussions.
More Relevant Content with “Portals”
New community “portals” on the Hub help you hone in on the areas most relevant to your work. So, if you are based in California, you can go to the California Portal and connect to others working there. Or if you are focused on groundwater management efforts, you can go to the Groundwater Portal and do the same. In this way, we hope to better tailor the now hundreds of projects, organizations, resources, and lessons in the Hub to your own particular interests.
We encourage anyone in the world with an interest in water sustainability to create their free profile on the Hub today. Just visit the Water Action Hub and select “Sign up.” And feel free to drop us a line with any questions or ideas at: email@example.com. If you’d like, we’d be happy to help assist you in creating and expanding your profile.