H2O Maghreb: A Flagship Project Driving Innovation
H2O Maghreb is pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in a number of conferences, workshops, and official high-level visits over the past year, which has allowed the project to share best practices and lessons learned with a wide-range of international actors from both private and public sectors. In July 2019, USAID/Morocco delivered a presentation of the project to the U.S. Congressional Virtual Reality Group in Washington D.C. H2O Maghreb was presented as a model for the Agency to follow in using virtual reality technology to improve the quality of technical training programs. The success of the H2O Maghreb project has merited visits by high-level officials from USAID travelling to Morocco. Among these included visits by Chris Milligan, Counselor to USAID on October 7th, 2019, and Andrew Plitt, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East on January 28th, 2020 (pictured below), who each had the chance to tour the International Institute of Water and Sanitation (IEA) at ONEE and the training space used by H2O Maghreb, where they met with program trainees and trainers. Both Mr. Pitt and Mr. Milligan were highly enthusiastic about the project and greatly appreciated their visits to the H2O Maghreb facilities.
World Water Week 2019
The H2O Maghreb team organized a “sofa” panel debate as part of Stockholm International Water Institute’s World Water Week 2019. The panel brought together project partners, including representatives from Festo Didactic, ONEE, and USAID Washington, to share the objectives of the project, including the development of new curricula to up-skill the Moroccan water management sector, establish a state-of-the-art demonstration and training hub at the National Office for Water and Electricity (ONEE) in Morocco, and contribute to the development of a national qualification framework to establish a new post-secondary education scheme for water and waste water technicians.
“A Public Private Development Partnership (PPDP) is about complementarity among partners to reach excellence in innovation and development. H2O Maghreb is supporting the Moroccan national investment plans in water technology, while creating jobs among youth by offering continuing and basic technician education.” - Nader Imani, Executive VP of Global Education at Festo Didactic
Interest in Scaling-Up H2O Maghreb’s Best Practices in Morocco
Since learning about its innovative approaches and accelerated six-month program, other Moroccan training institutions, including the Office of Vocational Training and Employment Promotion (OFPPT), have taken great interest in exploring ways to further integrate H2O Maghreb’s various training methods more broadly into national training programs. “The H2O Maghreb project is one of the most innovative and original projects ever implemented at ONEE. The project is an important flagship project that has opened up the possibility for greater innovation and modernization of the internal training system at ONEE,” states Abderrafi Mardi, Coordinator at the International Institute of Water and Sanitation (IEA) at ONEE. The International Institute of Water and Sanitation (IEA) in Rabat where H2O Maghreb is based, is proud to be one of the first institutes in Morocco to use virtual reality in its training programs. The virtual reality technology, developed by project partners Festo Didactic and EON Reality, is one of the unique pillars of the H2O Maghreb training program. Furthermore, IEA’s equipment is among the most cutting edge for practical water training, thanks to the integration of the EDS® Water Management system developed by Festo Didactic.
“The H2O Maghreb project has been a demonstrable success, showcasing the versatility of virtual reality to design meaningful training outcomes that can benefit society at large through youth employment and positive environmental impacts.” - Anna Lejerskar, President of Learn for Life at EON Reality