Article

UNESCO creates the Groundwater Youth Network

UNESCO is committed to engaging with youth not just as beneficiaries but also as knowledge holders, change-makers and leaders. In this context, the Organization is launching the Groundwater Youth Network (GWYN) to collaborate with young scientists in addressing water security.

The Groundwater Youth Network (GWYN) is a youth led network aiming to provide a coordination mechanism between pre-existing youth organizations focused on water, and more specifically groundwater. The network will place an emphasis on inclusiveness and diversity in order to facilitate the global exchange of ideas, to contribute to groundwater resilience around the world.

Action Plan

The network connects leaders in youth organizations from around the world to share groundwater-related ideas, challenges, and solutions that can improve the knowledge, management and sustainable use of water resources. It also connects people within and between regions, to facilitate exchanges among different groundwater disciplines in order to more easily achieve groundwater resilience at the local, national, and international scale.

Youth representatives

The Groundwater Youth Network (GWYN) comprises 13 different organizations and youth networks that are all committed to achieving groundwater sustainability through practical solutions to modern challenges.

  • Chair
    • Michel Frem (The Netherlands)
      Michel Frem is a Lebanese water resources and environmental engineer with an MSc in Water Science and Engineering from IHE Delft. He also holds a Master of Civil and Environmental Engineering, a Master of Oil and Gas, and a Master in Water Sciences from Saint Joseph University of Beirut. Michel’s main area of expertise is groundwater management and modeling. 
  • Vice Chair
    • Zhilin Guo (China)
      Zhilin Guo is a Research Assistant Professor at Southern University of Science and Technology since 2019. She got a Ph.D. from University of Arizona in 2015 and did her Postdoc at the University of California, Davis. Her research interests lie in the fields of groundwater hydrology, contaminants transport, and groundwater quality sustainability. 
  • Rapporteur
    • Sana Dahmani (Germany)
      Sana Dahmani is an Environmental Engineer specialized in Hydraulics Engineering and Rural Management. She is currently conducting an MBA (Master of Business Administration) in Life Science at the University of Applied Sciences for Engineering and Economics - HTW Berlin, Germany.
  • Committees
    • Communication Committee:
      • Chair: Joseph Fickett (United States)
        Joseph Fickett is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Water, Society, and Policy at the University of Arizona. He has a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in Water Policy and Law. Joseph is passionate about groundwater conservation and global agricultural water resilience.
    • Scientific Committee
      • Chair: Amin Shakya (Nepal)
        Amin Shakya, has a double masters in Water Science and Engineering from IHE Delft, the Netherlands and TU Dresden, Germany. His current research interest focuses on remote sensing and data assimilation techniques for water application. Amin is currently working as a Senior Project Associate with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research (ICWaR) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India.
    • Outreach Committee
      •  Chair: Jonathan Opoku Oti (Ghana)
        OTI, Jonathan Opoku is a master student at UNESCO IHE-Delft where he is specializing in Groundwater and Global Change. He has working experience in the WASH sector with a keen interest in groundwater protection. 
    • Partnership Committee
      • Chair: Pablo Navas (Guatemala)
        Pablo Navas is currently conducting a Civil Engineering Grade in “Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala”. Proud member of "Red de Jóvenes por el Agua Centroamérica, Capítulo Guatemala (Youth Network for Water Central America, Guatemala Chapter)", his work includes: Advise on sustainable use of resources by conserving water, water security and the sustainable development goals. 
  • Committee Members
    • Neil Patel (United States)
      Neil Patel is a water and sanitation international development professional, representing the World Youth Parliament of Water. He is a Staff Associate with the Water Resources and Infrastructure sector of Tetra Tech, where he works on a portfolio of USAID-funded water and sanitation programs, including as the Assistant Project Manager on USAID’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Finance (WASH-FIN) activity. His previous research focused on innovative applications of blockchain toward sustainable groundwater management in Mexico City.
    • Gergino Chounna (Cameroon)
      Gergino is a young and passionate Environmental Engineer and Scientist interested in Research for Development in order to promote sustainable development with focus on Water-Soil-Food Nexus and groundwater dynamics. His recent research work focused on the use of rock-water interactions to explain nutrient availability, nutrient depletion and low crop yields within sedimentary and igneous watersheds. He is Green Ambassador for Climate Change in Africa-2020 and Ambassadors of Sustainability. 
    • Sabina Khatri (Nepal)
      Sabina Khatri is a hydrogeologist to the Government of Nepal. She is currently pursuing research at UNU-FLORES (United Nations University-Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources) on Water Policy and Climate Change with Alexander von Humboldt International Climate Protection Fellowship 2021-22. Her area of expertise is Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) esp. groundwater, policy-science interrelationship, advocacy and mentorship. 
    • Dr. Gokul Dayalan (India)
      He is a Research Scientist at Water & Effluent Treatment, Larsen and Toubro Construction (L&T). He holds a Ph.D in Environmental Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras. Dr. Gokul is passionate about Water management, prevention of groundwater contamination and sustainability.

Member Organizations

  • Youth for the Rhine
  • UNESCO
  • University of Arizona
  • World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW)
  • Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN)
  • UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) - Youth 
  • World Youth Network (WYN)
  • Early Career Hydrogeologists' Network (ECHN)
  • International Water Resources Association (IWRA)
  • Elijah Cummings Youth Program (ECYP)
  • International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR)
  • Red de Jóvenes por el Agua Centroamérica (RJxA Centroamérica), Capítulo Guatemala