Do you get water? Join our MOOC to find out!

News Apr 22, 2020

Fifty years ago, the world saw the first wave of environmental education, spearheaded by young activists. Now it’s time for a second wave of broad knowledge sharing in the name of protecting the world’s water. Join our MOOC and be part of the movement!

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On 22 April 1970, some 20 million Americans participated in the world’s first Earth Day, a gigantic teach-in to raise awareness of the many threats to the environment that were becoming increasingly apparent. The idea spread to many other countries and led to a flurry of activities, from demonstrations to research and legislation to protect water and other natural resources. Culminating with the world’s first global summit on the environment in 1972.

Now we need the same kind of commitment and sharing of the vast knowledge that has been gathered since then. The field of water has seen groundbreaking scientific advances, but they are often not known to policymakers who need this understanding to ensure their decisions are water-smart.

To change this and spread the knowledge, SIWI offers a unique, free-of-charge Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) on water challenges. It is open to anyone and offers a great opportunity to learn about many of most important water issues, directly from leading experts.

The course Water – Addressing the Global Crisis was first launched in early 2019 by SIWI in cooperation with the United Nation’s SDG Academy. The academy has worked with expert organizations to create official MOOCs on all the 17 sustainable development goals. SIWI was chosen to develop the content related to SDG 6, on clean water and sanitation, but we didn’t stop there. We were able to broaden the scope and demonstrate how water is in fact vital to all the sustainable development goals.

The course therefore explores many of the world’s major challenges through a water lens. Topics include: water and the SDGs; climate change; water and ecosystems; water governance, water and sanitation; transboundary water; food and water, and water and energy. All nine modules are curated by leading experts from organizations such as UNESCO, UNDP, AGWA, Global Resilience Partnership and SIWI. Students even have the opportunity to interact directly with these experts.

So far, approximately 8,000 students from more than 160 countries have taken the course and there is still time to enroll. The reviews have been very encouraging, with comments like “The course was extremely revealing and interesting, the lecturers are first class professionals”, “Very good course with a LOT of content, please stay in the same format” and “The course was actually beyond my expectations.” In a survey, 95 per cents of participants said that the course had provided them with knowledge that makes them able to influence how water is managed where they live and work. 

This feeling of agency is very important – our shared water resources remain as threatened today as they were 50 years ago but from a range of different sources. We all need to learn more about the challenges we face but also about the latest scientific insights that will help us solve the problems. Join the Water – Addressing the Global Crisis MOOC today and tap into that knowledge!

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