Whether in Australia, Nepal, Bangladesh or South Africa, Healthabitat needs little convincing about how the work of plumbers contributes to improving health.
So it is a great leap forward to see the words 'plumber', 'design', 'innovation' and 'health' in the introduction to an exciting event, the Water Innovation Challenge, to be held in Singapore in June 2014.
Healthabitat is proud to be involved with the first WorldSkills Foundation Water Innovation Challenge. This eventwill link the brightest and best trade and engineering minds to the sort of tough, real world problems that need the very best design work to bring about solutions.
After you have read the introduction set out below, we hope you will share our enthusiasm for the event.
The United Nations has declared 2005-2015 an International Decade for Action, in which a global “Water for Life” agenda must focus on increased attention to water related issues. By including safe drinking water supply and sanitation in the Millennium Development Goals, the global community have recognized their critical importance and the role they play in ensuring a healthy and sustainable future for all people of the world.
While many parts of the world enjoy access to clean water and effective sanitation provided by a skilled and professional plumbing workforce, the above statement reveals that many global communities are trapped in a vicious cycle of disease, poor health, deprivation and death.
WorldSkills Foundation Water Innovation Challenge – supported by the World Plumbing Council – will bring together a group of international, multi-discipline teams of Plumbers and Engineers under the age of 26 to participate in a series of hands-on design challenges and practical tasks. During three days of intense competition, the teams will develop a series of real and innovative solutions for emerging water and sanitation problems in two developing countries: Nepal and Bangladesh. Solutions created during the Water Innovation Challenge will go on to be implemented by the winning team in either of our Nepal and Bangladesh ‘Sanitation Studio’ programmes – a partnership between Australian NGO Healthabitat and WorldSkills Foundation. Design toolkits created by these teams will also be made available for other NGOs or international development organizations for further use in their own plumbing and sanitation development works around the world. By taking part in our inaugural event, our teams will demonstrate that an idea combined with the necessary technical knowledge and hands-on ability can take a young Plumbing apprentice anywhere in the world, where their skills can really make a difference.
The Water Innovation Challenge will be hosted from 3-5 June 2014 in the Central Amphitheatre at ITE College East (Institute of Technical Education), Singapore; a co-located event of Singapore International Water Week (1-5 June 2014).
The Challenge will be further complimented by a showcase of new Virtual 3D Learning tools created as part of the WorldSkills Foundation–ITE Singapore Innovation Lab project: Virtual Reality training applications for Plumbing and Sanitation, designed for the use of over 500 students in the Higher Nitec Facilities Management courses across ITE.
The World Health Organization has declared Plumbers the most important front line health workers around the globe. Many people appreciate that when they have easy access to clean water in basins, taps and toilets that much of the technical and practical skill required to provide these services happen behind the scenes. This “hidden” work – carried out by Plumbers – meets the essential standards and requirements demanded by our daily lives, especially when living in close communities.
WorldSkills Foundation and the World Plumbing Council have chosen World Plumbing Day 2014 – 11 March, every year, everywhere – as an appropriate day to launch this exciting Water Innovation Challenge event.
Stay tuned … as more details of the event will be featured on our website and social media pages over the coming weeks!