The voice of youth at the heart of AIWW planning
‘I can’t believe it’s already a year and a half,’ says Andrea Kralikova, the current Youth Ambassador of Amsterdam International Water Week.
Kralikova, who works for international consultancy Accenture, took up the role in late 2015 during the last AIWW. She is now heavily involved in the planning for the forthcoming one, helping to ensure there is a strong representation of youth interests.
Her time as Ambassador has given Kralikova an opportunity to attend a number of events on themes such as sustainable development and climate change, to meet other young water professionals, and to spread the message about the AIWW youth programme. ‘The AIWW youth programme is still something new. We really want to make sure we can scale up what we had last time, and we really want to make sure people know about it, recognise it, and find it valuable,’ she says.
This interaction is an experience that she has found extremely valuable. ‘It has certainly been rewarding for me – not only an opportunity to meet lovely people passionate about water, but also it was a learning process for me,’ she says. ‘It’s really been broadening my horizons.’
Kralikova’s main role as Ambassador is to represent the youth programme team in the overall AIWW programme team. Certainly some exciting new features are emerging that look set to achieve a step up from the successes of 2015. ‘The difference for the youth programme this year is we don’t only want to focus on students,’ she says, adding: ‘We are really very keen to get many young professionals there.’
'We are really very keen to get many young professionals at the Amsterdam International Water Week'
Andrea Kralikova, youth ambassador of AIWW
One emphasis will be on getting young professionals to share details of interesting projects, whether they are from corporates, start-ups or research. ‘We would really like to give those people some space to share their experiences, because this is where we believe the motivation and inspiration for young people comes from,’ she says, noting also the youth programme motto of ‘A little less conversation, more action’.
With planning escalating towards the event in November, Kralikova still has much to do to continue contributing to the expanded youth programme. A new Ambassador will be appointed in November, but the search for the replacement will begin soon. She is keen to encourage potential successors to put themselves forward.
‘I think for anyone who is really passionate about water and is at the beginning of their professional career in the water sector, this is a really great opportunity,’ says Kralikova. The Ambassador gets to work with the experienced people organising AIWW. ‘You get your voice, and you are the voice for the young people,’ she says. The Ambassador also gets to work with young people engaged with the most significant issues and challenges. ‘It’s a great responsibility, but also an amazing opportunity, not only to enhance your network, but to learn new things and get to know great people,’ she adds.
For more information, see www.young-iww.com