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EUROPE : WFD-Community : Virtual Community for the training of water professionals

Published 2008

The project consists in testing a device for the continuous training of professionals, based on collaboration between counterparts, and on the remote management of a community for the training of professionals (CVA), working together on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD).


The targeted public gathers beginners and confirmed executives of basin organisations, members of the International Network of Basin Organisations (INBO) at the European level, facing the implementation of the WFD: the CVA serves to train the young executives by helping them “to learn while doing”, by involving confirmed executives, as tutors or as contributors to the exchanges, thus giving the young their formal and informal knowledge and know-how, and benefiting in return with the upgrading of their own knowledge. 

The trainees (about twenty young executives in a team) will be in charge of facilitating open discussion groups widely open to the professionals of the sector. This organisation will be at the core of the training process, and will consist in making the reflection live, in providing reference elements, in contributing, and drawing up regular syntheses, etc. Each individual will give his/her thoughts in all the forums, will have to write “lectures” on special topics, will make monographs on the implementation of the WFD in his/her context, etc. 

The different contributions will be capitalised to supply a knowledge base. 

These teams will be supported and guided by teachers and tutors. The tutor will be a confirmed professional, paid to accompany the team (participation in the discussions, validation of the activities, help in the facilitation, etc.), and the trainers will direct and validate the training process (follow-up of progress in knowledge, provision of methodology to the teams to capitalise the completed work, etc). 

The device will be also opened to non-tutor professionals, who will be able to participate in the exchanges and benefit from the obtained results in the framework of their continuous training. It will be also opened to those who are concerned by water management without being at the core of the target, to widen the debates to the stakeholders. 


Multilingualism will be privileged; the technological tool will include a translation aid tool.

The project will consist in preparing operational specifications for a virtual training community, in developing the necessary technical and methodological tools, then in testing them for a sufficiently long length of time (18 months); one will then have a methodology and tools validated for a long-term collaborative training and the educational framework of the device will have been studied and formalised (ready for a transfer). 

The Charter will be based on a referential, that will include the description of the training programme, the passage points to validate, the methods for validating the obtained knowledge, etc. 

The partnership regroups basin organisations ( Apele Romane , INBO), the University of Bucharest and Training Centres and information institutions on water management ( IOWater , Gdansk Water Foundation, Hydrocontrol ) for a 36 month period:

  • • IOWater is the contractor and technical co-ordinator of the project, in charge of creating the Operational Unit of the Project, that will organise, using the expertise of the partners, the writing of the specifications, then the experimental phase, before formalising the feasibility of the community. 
  • • INBO provides a widened validation through its members and will direct the dissemination and promotion of the results.
  • • HyC is more particularly responsible for the validation of the recognition method for the obtained results, and for disseminating the intermediary and final results, thanks to its close partnership with the network of companies and universities, Techware ; its experts will also intervene in the technical exchanges and it will be in charge of mobilising the Italian participants.
  • • The Gdansk Water Foundation participates, as an expert, to boost the reflection on the system specifications, and will participate in the mobilisation of Polish executives for them to participate in the experiment and collect the data from them for evaluation.
  • • Apele Romane represents the recipients of the device, and will bring its expertise on the needs, its personnel to do the tests (several young recipient executives, a tutor and confirmed professionals participating in the exchanges) and to validate the functioning of the community; AR will be the pilot of the experimental phase.
  • • Within the project, the University of Bucharest is in charge of validating the educational specifications of the device, in participating in the evaluation of the experimental phase and of looking for the conditions for recognition and validation of the acquired knowledge. 

The financing of the project (€ 380,000) is borne at about 75% by the European Leonardo da Vinci Programme.