Ken Thiess Memorial Scholars

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  • José Fernández

    Country of citizenship: Peru
    Completed scholarship: Ongoing
    Current role/s: Environmental Specialist, AQUAFONDO

    I was born on the year 1989 in Peru and was raised in Lima city and had the chance to live a year and a half in New York city due to my mother’s job.

    I obtained a degree on Forestry Engineering from Forestry Sciences Faculty of the National Agrarian University of La Molina, this program provided me with the necessary knowledge to develop a wide variety of interdisciplinary skills.

    The last two years I have been living in Lima again and working as a environmental specialist for the Water Fund for Lima and Callao (AQUAFONDO). Here I developed social, environmental and political skills to bring together water related stakeholders in order to address and to take action on water related issues mainly on the upper part of the Rimac river basin.

    My work experience can be resumed on geographic information skills by working on different GIS consultancy jobs, as well as skills working with environmental issues during consultancies for the elaboration of environmental permits. Also I’ve had the chance to work with local communities from the low land rainforest to the highest part of the Andes. The last years I’ve centered my work on ecological and water issues that are related to ecosystem services for water regulation.

  • Jamyang Namgyel

    Country of citizenship: Bhutan
    Completed scholarship: ongoing
    Current role/s: Deputy Executive Engineer for Bhutan’s Department of Hydropower and Power Systems in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Bhutan

    Jamyang is the Deputy Executive Engineer for Bhutan’s Department of Hydropower and Power Systems in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and has joined the Master of Integrated Water Management Program full-time in 2018. For the past seven years he has been involved in a number of notable hydropower projects in Bhutan, including the Reconnaissance Studies of Hydropower Project and in the Detail Project report preparation of the 2,640MW Kuri-Gongri Hydropower Project. Jamyang joined the MIMW to gain and develop insights in the context of integrating water resource management for water, food, energy and environmental purposes to take back to Bhutan where the planning and development of hydropower is a key strategic priority for the government.

    Jampyang’s thesis topic is ‘Valuing of natural capital and ecosystem services: Exploring benefit transfer as a technique to estimate economic benefit of protecting Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhutan.’ This is in the context of a proposed hydropower development that would be built within, and inundate large parts of the Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • Luisa Arredondo

    Country of citizenship: Panama

  • Reg Bungabong

    Country of citizenship: Philippines

  • Camaria Holder

    Country of citizenship: Antigua & Barbuda

  • Jackline Muturi

    Country of citizenship: Kenya
    Undergraduate Qualification: Bachelor of Science in Hydrology and Water Resources Management
    Most recent position: Water Resources Officer, Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority
    Completed scholarship: 2016

    “I decided to study the Masters of Integrated Water Management because, having worked in diverse areas of Kenya, I have experienced first-hand the challenges inherent in water resources management, and I realised that I need knowledge of the multi-disciplinary nature of integrated water management to be able to improve the water sector in Kenya, and in the wider world as well.

    Water management is a key issue all over the world, but it cannot be done independently because all natural resources are closely linked in one way or another. For instance, water catchments cannot be managed without considering forest management, because the water is naturally nourished by water catchments formed by forests either natural or manmade. So it is important that when managing water resources, an integrated interdisplinary approach is used so as to be able to manage the ecosystem as a whole.

    I wish to be involved in coming up with strategies to counter the water shortage and sanitation issues in Kenya and help in the management of projects towards achieving a water sufficient nation. As such, I will be in a position to be involved in activities that increase water recharge in catchments and empowering local communities in sustainable water management. I will be a water leader who is able to make positive changes for the betterment of livelihoods of the rural poor, especially women and children.”

  • Denise Cheah

    Country of citizenship: Malaysia
    Undergraduate Qualification: Master of Science in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring (University of Kebangsaan, Malaysia)
    Position: Technical Officer, Wetlands International, Malaysia
    Completed scholarship: 2016

    “Working with an environmental NGO on several projects concerning wetland conservation and wise-use, I realised that a great majority of people are unaware of the water security risk our nation is facing or the causes leading to it. This is disturbing as it allows rapid land conversion and unsustainable resource usage and other activities that result in deforestation, leaching and ground water contamination, greatly affecting water resource availability.

    The scholarship has helped me to identify the gaps in current water management strategies and propose ways to improve upon them, finding common understanding between various levels of stakeholders and bringing them together in managing the limited water resources. I hope that by doing this, we can work towards ensuring that every person and organism will have access to clean and safe drinking water.

    I want to highlight water security issues in the country and the importance of conserving our natural environment, as our main source of water, through initiatives such as strengthening policies and enforcement of water management and conservation by the government, best management practices in private industries and greater awareness of water usage by the general public.”

  • Bounthavivanh Mixap

    Country of citizenship: Laos
    Undergraduate qualification: Bachelor of Social Sciences, University of Newcastle, Australia
    Completed scholarship: 2015
    Current role/s: Mekong Regional Water Governance Capacity Building and Networking Coordinator – Oxfam; EWPP Coordinator – International RiverFoundation.

    “To me, it is very important that leaders have extensive experience and knowledge across their discipline in order to deeply understand the issues, have a clear vision for practical and sustainable solutions, and to gain the respect of everyone involved. Learning from textbooks and theories is a good background, but unless you try to implementthose theories in the field, you can only assume that it will work. “One size does not fit all” and that is why a number of organisations, educational institutions and workplaces encourage their staff/students to interact and connect with people that are sharing the same interest/goal or working in the same discipline. There is no exception when it comes to water management.

    To effectively and sustainably manage water resources, we can not simply look at water management from purely scientific or engineering lens but we need a team of people who can contribute to a more comprehensive solution. This includes an ability to look at the problems from different perspectives including the social aspect (how different ethnic groups,  or people with disabilities, for example, will be impacted by certain policy or decision making), the environmental aspect and of course the economic aspect.

    By integrating, involving and empowering people from different background/skills to be a part of water management, I believe we will see that there is more than one direction in solving problems and together we will be able to better achieve a sustainable water management through interdisciplinary approaches.”

  • Faisal Elias

    Country of citizenship: Ghana
    Undergraduate Qualification: Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Rural Development
    Completed scholarship: 2014

    “Ghana is a developing country with plentiful natural water resources and in African terms, relatively well-off. Yet a large part of the population still don’t have access to clean portable drinkable water and some of the poorest Ghanaians use a quarter of their income on water buying from private suppliers.  I observed that the challenge stems from human attitudinal indifference to the conservation of the resource and weak institutional regulations enforcement. Water they say is life and if people don’t have access to safe water, their fundamental right of life would have been trampled upon.

    The greatest challenge requiring urgent attention is the unbridled human activities such as mining and farming which pollute the sources of freshwater especially in developing countries such as Ghana. In addition, the effects of Climate Change on water resources needs to be considered using appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures.  Another key challenge is the lack of technical and technological expertise in developing countries as Ghana to manage the water crisis.

    As a prospective researcher and leader in water management, this MPhil IWM programme, will equip me with the necessary tools to proceed further in my aspirations and also built a career as a researcher/leader in the field of integrated water resources management. This will also equip me with contemporary ways of solving water problem upon my return to my home country, Ghana to help in finding solutions to the perennial water problems

  • Nonceba Noquayi

    Country of citizenship: South Africa

  • Indrawan Prabharyaka

    Country of citizenship: Indonesia

  • Kundai Chihambakwe

    Country of citizenship: Zimbabwe
    Qualification: Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Geography & Environmental Science (Monash University)
    Completed scholarship: 2013

    Having experienced first-hand the effects of a dilapidated water infrastructure in Zimbabwe and having had to seek alternative sources of water coupled with having worked in an environment that requires sustainable water management, I have the drive to see the Zimbabwe water situation improved. I want to be involved in improving the water management situation initially in rural communities and later on in the high-density areas which are rampant with broken water pipes, poor sewage removal facilities or simply no municipal water and help implement a scheme whereby they can be self-sufficient in managing their water in an integrated manner. My time doing voluntary work since high school has also instilled in me that “Give John a fish and he will eat today, but teach John to fish and he will eat forever”  and I believe that the same stands true for the current Zimbabwe water situation.

  • Olita Ogonjo

    Country of citizenship: Kenya

  • Michael has over 30 years’ experience across the resources & industrial industries in Australia, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Prior to being appointed to the joint role of Executive Chair and CEO of Thiess, Michael was the CEO of ASX listed CIMIC Group, responsible for leading Sedgman, UGL, CPB Contractors, Leighton Asia and Thiess. He joined Thiess in 1998, starting as a Project Manager, and has held leadership and operational roles in the mining, construction and services sector, giving him expertise across operations, technical, commercial and strategy.

    Michael is a highly regarded and innovative leader focused on delivering value to clients and inspiring operational excellence by building strong, safe and performance-driven teams. He serves as a Director of the Minerals Council of Australia and the Sustainable Minerals Institute.

    He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Civil from the University of Sydney and a Master of Engineering Science from the University of New South Wales.