Translation of “Encuentro internacional para compartir las experiencias en implementación del proyecto WET”, originally published on the CAR website on November 18, 2016. Translation prepared by Kyla Smith.
An international meeting to share experiences with Project WET methodology and the development of water resource management in the territory of CAR [Corporación Autonoma Regional de Cundinamarca or Regional Autonomous Corporation of Cundinamarca, a region in central Colombia] began on November 15, 2016 at the Botanical Garden of Bogotá. Led by CAR, the event included representatives from environmental organizations in Mexico, the United States and Argentina. They shared their experiences implementing Project WET’s hands-on water education methodology with approximately 50 facilitators from different areas in the jurisdiction.
The Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) methodology emerged in  in the United States to communicate the message of the importance of protecting water resources in a simple way. Because of its versatility, the methodology has spread all around the world, not only in the academic context but also in communities in need of increased awareness of water resource protection.
In 2006, the Project WET Foundation signed an agreement with UNESCO with the goal of introducing the methodology in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2013, with the help of the Ministerio de Ambiente y del Programa Hidrológico Internacional del IDEAM llega [the Ministry of Environment and International Water Programs of IDEAM] Project WET was brought to CAR. At that time, 42 community leaders were trained, and those leaders then went on to begin teaching the methodology in their communities. In 2014, each Regional Directorate of CAR replicated the training with the goal of establishing a community of trained individuals in order to communicate this message to other areas. In 2015, they put on training workshops, analyzed impacts and created new groups. In 2016, CAR created new activities with educators from Gualivá and Ubaté focused on the protection of nearby areas, the legalization of water concessions and water footprint measurement.
The worldwide success of this methodology is due to its adaptability to any locale; for its implementation, people do not need any specific qualifications, only the desire to care for water resources. Therefore, once people receive the information and get to know the activities, they can adapt them to their needs. Without being teachers or even water experts, they can facilitate learning so that others can understand, comprehend and fall in love with water resources.
Furthermore, during the event the director of the CAR Néstor Guillermo Franco González and Project WET Foundation [International Project Assistant] Allison Howe signed a memorandum of understanding with the goal of guaranteeing the continuation of the program and applying the new tools offered by the foundation. “The community is captivated by this methodology, so the idea is to continue the project for another 3 years,” Franco commented during the event.
In addition, the director of the CAR emphasized the importance of the methodology in raising community awareness about water conservation. “This project in the territory of the CAR has allowed us to gather not only a great number of young water defenders, already over 4,000, but also to have young voices and to count on facilitators in various areas of the territory. The program that we have developed over the years is very important and is already being utilized by other corporations and by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.”