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<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

2.7 Training (Topic g)

Human resources development and training in West Asia countries, in the area of wastewater, takes places through different mechanisms. They are (a) University education at the level of B. Sc. and M. Sc.; (b) In-service training through continuing education, on ad hoc basis, offered by local and regional institutions or by the private sector; and (c) Meeting, conferences, workshops and short courses. In the region there are quite good numbers of universities, which offer B. Sc. degree in civil engineering with emphasis on sanitary engineering; some of them offer masters programs in environmental engineering. For example, strong environmental engineering programs at masters level are offered at the University of Cairo, University of Alexandria, University of Jordan, King Saud University, University of Tehran, University of Damascus, and the American University of Beirut. These universities and others have played a major role in promoting the sector, as they are the leading institutes in research, development and training. Special and tailor made courses are available on request on a regular basis in the areas of wastewater management, computer aided design, anaerobic treatment technologies and natural systems for wastewater treatments.

The number of specialized research and training centers are becoming more demand oriented entities in providing training courses and organizing specialized workshops and seminars. The Water and Environment Research Center of the University of Jordan in collaboration with National Research Center of Egypt and Beir Zeit University in the West Bank are organizing special training courses on the anaerobic treatment of wastewater for arid areas. Other institution like the Water Research Center of Egypt, the Water and Environment Center of Sanaa University and the Water and Environment Research Center at al Najah University provide the personnel of the water authorities in their countries with needed training.

As a result, the number of professionals in the field of wastewater has increased significantly over the last ten years. In spite of that, most of the major engineering (design and construction) is done by multi national companies with some kind of linkage with local companies. This is partly based on the request of the lending or donor agencies who require well experienced international companies to design or implement the sponsored projects. Therefore, it is necessary that education and training be oriented toward project management, preparation of tender documents and quality control.

A number of international and regional agencies are involved in training such as the Center for Environmental Health Activities (CEHA). CEHA organizes and supports a number of research and training programs in the area of wastewater treatment and reuse. In cooperation with FAO Regional Office in Cairo and UNEP Regional Office in Bahrain, periodic workshops and seminars are also being organized.

It is noticed that most of professionals in sanitation, environmental health and reuse rely on their on the job training or knowledge gained through field experiences and they do not realize the important of refresher courses to update their knowledge. This subject should be brought to the attention of decision-makers in order that staff members of the implementing agencies be allowed or forced to take such courses. They further should consider that as partial requirement for promotion.

The subject of training should also be extended to the level of technicians, assistants and farmers on the use of new technologies and equipment. The situation of manpower is critical, as the technology of wastewater treatment becomes a complex operation requiring a wide range of expertise owing to the interdisciplinary nature of its management. This dictates that the services of various professionals with their corresponding assistants or middle level technicians must be available.
As the interest in the use of treated wastewater has accelerated significantly in the region during the last few years, training programs for farmers or extension agents are needed. Topics, such as selection of irrigation methods, protection of the health of workers and impact of effluent reuse on crops and the environment, can be covered.

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