On the Road to Dakar, Recruiting the Voices of Youth for the World Water Forum

March 22, 2021

GWA Webinar Series

Full-recording of Webinar

GWA Webinar Series 

On the Road to Dakar, Recruiting the Voices of Youth for the World Water Forum

When: March 22, 2021 | 12:00PM – 1:30PM EDT 


On March 22, 2021, GWA will hold a Webinar to create awareness and motivate young people to contribute to the success of the World Water Forum 2022 (WWF) through active involvement with water organizations from around the world. This Webinar is also intended to motivate young people to come to Dakar and participate in the Forum itself.

The World Water Council and the government of Senegal will hold the WWF in Dakar on March 21-26, 2022. The theme of this Forum is “Water Security for Peace and Development”. This Forum, organized every three years, is the world’s most important water event. It is centered on multi-actor exchanges build upon a combination of thematic, political, regional and citizen processes.


★ To provide more opportunities for youth to participate in planning the WWF;

★ To strengthen working groups for the WWF by ensuring youth representation and facilitating their ability to present youth issues;

★ To initiate intergenerational dialogue on the key Thematic Priorities of the Forum;

★ To give youth the opportunity to present their experiences and perspectives on the issues to be addressed at the WWF;

★ To strengthen collaboration and exchanges between young people;

★ To motivate young people to come to Dakar and actively participate in the Forum itself.


#1 “Water Security and Sanitation
#2 “Water for Rural Development”
#3 “Cooperation
#4 “Means and Tools”

Webinars are organized in different sub-regions of the world. This consists of panels for young people to share their concerns, experiences and recommendations on the thematic priorities of the Forum. The participation of senior actors is not excluded, as it can help launch intergenerational dialogues on issues of concern to young people


Speaker: Mamadou Guisse

Mamadou Guisse is a water engineer out of the University for the Sciences and technologies Houari Boumedienne of Algiers (Algeria).  He is specialized in Water Resources Mobilization at the International institute for Water and Environmental Engineers of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)

He lived for years in the United States, Philadelphia region working for an MEP firm before heading back to Senegal and being coopted by the Executive Secretary for the 9th World Water Forum which will be held in Dakar from 3/21 – 26/2021 (https://www.worldwaterforum.org/en) to serve as Coordinator for the Initiative Dakar 2021. 

To make the Dakar 2022 Forum a Forum of the Responses, Senegal and the World Water Council have decided to launch, during the preparatory process the Initiative Dakar 2021, which is aimed at selecting innovative and impacting water and sanitation projects in order to promote and support them. The call for projects is open at https://bit.ly/InitiativeDK2021-EN.

Speaker: Nalat Phanit Black

Nalat Phanit Black is the Sustainable Development Goals Director at the United Nations Association of USA, Atlanta Chapter. She was the Chapter’s President (2015-2017) and has been a member of the UNA network for over ten years. Nalat has over a decade of nonprofit leadership and project management experience, working in communications, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, and environmental sustainability. She believes that when human development and the natural environment work in harmony, basic human needs would be met by all, lessening the potential for human rights violations, and creating a more peaceful world. She was featured in VoyageATL Hidden Gems in April 2020 for her work with UNA-Atlanta. Nalat holds a Master of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from City University of New York: Baruch College and Macaulay Honors College.


Speaker: Dr. Arun Deb

Dr. Arun Deb has more than 60 years’ experience in teaching, research and consultancy in water and wastewater management. During the last 30 years, while working for Weston Solutions, Inc., Dr.  Deb started his volunteering activities with a goal to help poor people of developing countries in providing them safe drinking water and good sanitation. Many of those projects tie into volunteer activities for Water For People (WFP). In the early 1990s, Deb initiated WFP projects to bring safe drinking water to about 10 schools with nearly 1,000 students each. Deb, who has served two terms on the Water For People board, is the man behind the project in India to remove arsenic from drinking water. Deb spends several months each year in Kolkata, India. During the last twenty years, he initiated and completed sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects in about 50 schools in West Bengal.

Arun Deb demonstrated his passion for delivering safe drinking water and improving the quality of life. At present, as a Board Member of GWA, Dr. Deb is involved in a safe drinking water supply project for many schools in West Bengal and involved in improving education and health of students. 

Speaker: Christa Cook

Christa received a bachelors degree in civil engineering from Louisiana State University. After working as a civil engineer in the private sector then joining the Peace Corps in Peru, she went on to complete her a masters degree in sustainable engineering from Villanova. She later co-founded Solidarity Engineering, an humanitarian NGO focused on applying community-driven engineering projects in emergency and displacement settings. Christa has focused her career on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and the integration of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and drone technology into WASH work. 

Speaker: Linda Bui

Linda Bui is currently a Government Relations Specialist with the Council of Ontario Universities in Toronto, Canada, on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. Active in global and local sustainability issues, Linda served as a North American representative at the World Youth Parliament for Water from 2014-2018, a youth network advocating for young people’s participation in the water sector globally, and on the leadership team at the North American Youth Parliament for Water. During her tenure, she was a selected youth delegate to attend the World Water Forum (2015) in South Korea and World Water Week (2017) in Stockholm. Linda has also served on her local municipality, the City of Brampton’s Environmental Advisory Committee and the Grow Green Network, advising local council on environmental planning policy and sustainability initiatives of strategic importance. She continues to volunteer to share advice to younger youth as an alumnus ‘Trailblazer’ with her local watershed conservation authority, the Credit Valley Conservation. Linda holds a B.A. in International Development Studies from the University of Toronto Scarborough specializing in gender, health, and public policy.

Speaker: Jordan Ermilio

Jordan Ermilio has been directly involved with the engineering design and implementation of community development projects in countries throughout Southeast Asia, Central America, and Africa. He served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines and has worked with Oxfam International in East Timor. He is the co-founder of the Villanova Engineering Service-Learning Program and is currently the director of the Center for Humanitarian Engineering and International Development. He has degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Water Resources Engineering from Villanova University, and he completed his Ph.D. with the Water Engineering Development Center at Loughborough University in the UK. His current research includes developing metrics to evaluate the sustainable management of water infrastructure and he is a strong advocate for participatory research that includes water utility operators in developing communities. He is happily married and has two children, a boy (age 12) and a girl (age 10).

Program Description
The Center for Humanitarian Engineering and International Development engages students and faculty in unique learning opportunities that reinforces engineering fundamentals, a commitment to life-long learning, and service to society. Built on the success of the Villanova Engineering Service-Learning program, this new center integrates curriculum, research and outreach within the college and creates interdisciplinary opportunities within the university. 

Speaker: Kelly Bridges

Kelly Bridges is a Senior Associate at Global Water 2020, a DC-based advocacy and facilitation initiative working to solve critical challenges in the global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. Kelly works across the organization’s portfolio, leading efforts to integrate WASH and health investments, policies and programs, as well as advocate for water security for conflict prevention, stability and resilience. Kelly graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Science, Technology and Society, concentrating in Energy, Environment and Technology; after which, she pursued her MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management at the University of Oxford. In her final year at the University of Pennsylvania, Kelly served as Program Manager of the Global Water Alliance. She has also worked in various capacities with the Environmental Law Institute, Catholic Relief Services, World Wildlife Fund, Samaj Pragati Sahayog, and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment. In February 2020, Kelly began a 3-year tenure as the Young Professional Representative Director on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association, a professional association of over 400 members across 60 countries. Kelly is also a Climate Reality Leader with Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, having been trained by Mr. Gore himself in Mexico City in March 2018.