After two years of exciting measurement campaigns, collecting loads of data and translating these to useful information, the Partners for Water project “Leapfrogging Delta Management in Myanmar” came to a successful end. To share all the results and spin-offs of the project, a session was held at the WLE Greater Mekong Forum in Yangon on the 4th of December 2018. This session took place in a fully packed room, consisting of many of the Myanmar counterparts, government staff, university staff, students and international guests. For this occasion, also 7 of the Dutch start-ups travelled to Yangon to share their stories and demonstrate their innovations.
The session began with an opening speech of the DG of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (DWIR), DG Htun Lwin Oo. He shared his vision on the future water system of Myanmar and stressed the importance of having access to reliable data. From the beginning onwards, he was closely involved and at every progress meeting he was personally present. In his view, this project has opened the eyes of the Myanmar people that collecting data and using high-tech equipment is also accessible, affordable and understandable for them. He urged everyone in the room to keep on sharing the experiences and knowledge, because it is of great use for the country.
After his opening remarks, the first copy of the booklet was handed over the DG by Marjan Kreijns, the project leader from the TU Delft. This booklet was especially made for the end of this project and it is a wonderful collection of all the start-ups, demo’s and measurement campaigns that were done (one can download the booklet on the following website: https://www.tudelft.nl/myanmar/). After the DG, the project leader Marjan Kreijns gave a presentation about the rationale of the project, the cooperation and the partners involved – followed by a panel discussion moderated by Lindsey Schwidder with some of the key partners involved.
During the panel discussion, Robert Rohaan of Shore Monitoring & Research explained he just returned from a 5 weeks measuring campaign to gain more data on the river system. He explained that they set up many benchmarks all over Myanmar to get good reference points for reliable data. Daw Hla Oo Nwe of the Irrigation and Water Utilization Management Department (IWUMD) was asked to reflect on the work of Shore and the other start-ups and she explained that for Myanmar it is very useful to have reliable and accurate data. Many of the available data is outdated and scattered. To have the staff of the department working together with the Dutch partners and students was very helpful. She stated that this project really showed concrete tools and solutions, instead of paper reports. It’s especially in this way of working, in getting real exchange and transfer of tools that made this project also for the Dutch government a real showcase.
Fernanda van der Velde of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency/RVO.nl financed this project and she was very happy with the enthusiasm of all the partners. She said: “We came a long way together and we will continue our work”. The continuation is especially relevant for the future generation, which was underlined by the other panellist, Ms. Yee Mon Thu. Yee Mon Thu will finalise her PhD at the Yangon Technological University (YTU) at the end of December 2018 and she just began her career at Royal Haskoning DHV. She explicitly stated that for the future generation of engineers, the need for good data is of utmost importance. “Without reliable and accurate data on the ground, one cannot make good models and predictions. Without good data, it will only be garbage in, garbage out. So it is very important that we can collect such data and learn how to access and use the information available”.
It is especially this component of knowledge exchange why some of the start-ups not just demonstrated and involved the Myanmar partners, but also provided specific trainings to make sure the Myanmar partners are able to continue the work themselves. Gijs Simons of FutureWater explained that he will give a 3 days training at YTU starting on the 5th of December 2018 to share and explain the use of Google Earth Engine and the Rainfall Map Myanmar that he developed. It is the second time he will give this training and it will be followed by more than 40 people consisting of government staff as well as teachers and students. The combination of measuring together, demonstrating the tools as well as providing the training ensures that this project will continue to prove its value. All the equipment and tools will stay in Myanmar for future use and the data portals will keep providing online access to the data, collected until now and in the future.
After the panel, the whole group split into four corners to witness the demonstrations and listen to the stories of the start-ups involved. In each corner, a duo of a Dutch expert and a Myanmar expert, explained the activities that were done and the lessons learned. After 15 minutes, each group moved to another corner to be able to learn from all the innovators and to be informed about their tools and what was done. It was a very dynamic session with a lot of questions and enthusiasm.
We sincerely thank all the partners involved for their continuous support and commitment. Special thanks to DWIR, IWUMD and ITC Bago for always facilitating the tests and the great support to all the Dutch experts and students – without their support we could not have made this project such a success. Also a special thanks to the Dutch government and the Partners for Water program for their contribution, as well as all the Dutch start-ups and SMEs. We will definitely continue the project and keep on sharing and learning together!
For more information about this project and the other activities of the TU Delft in Myanmar, please visit our website. For further questions, please contact: Marjan Kreijns (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Lindsey Schwidder (email@example.com).