For Naparla Bhanu Prasad, the president of an NGO in southern India, observing
Israeli water distribution techniques and municipal management systems will be
among the ideas that he takes back to his own local governments in the state of
“I came here to learn about different local sustainable
development technologies from Israel,” Prasad told The Jerusalem Post on
Wednesday. He is one of 30 men and women involved in sustainable development in
their home countries who are visiting Israel for a 25-day course sponsored by
the Weitz Center for Development Studies and MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for
International Development Cooperation at the Foreign Ministry.
which concludes on October 12, includes leaders from government branches,
universities, development foundations and other types of NGOs, from Angola,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, China, India, Kenya, Kyrgzystan, Moldova,
Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone,
Tanzania, Thailand, Ukraine and Zambia.
“People who applied for the
course are decision-makers in local governments,” Dr. Reut Barak, the program
coordinator, told the Post
. “The aim of the course is to give tools that they
will be able to take home with them.”
The foreign delegates have been
able to explore issues of water, waste and energy management, as well as
municipal infrastructure. During their last week in Israel, they will be
observing agricultural research and development and renewable energy sites in
the country’s deserts, according to Barak.
Among the many tours and
lectures experienced by the group thus far was a visit on Tuesday to the Mei Lod
corporation, which manages water distribution and sewage treatment for the Lod
area. During the visit, the delegates were able to see various company
facilities as well as a neighborhood with newly installed sewage and water
monitoring systems, which had been without water and sewage infrastructure for
60 years, according to a statement from the company.
For Prasad, the idea
of having a water distribution system with careful metering and budgeting was
critical, and is something he plans on suggesting on behalf of his Extensive
Rural Poor Development Organization to his local municipalities.
India, there are a lot of economical disparities, [which are reflected] in the
water distribution also,” he said. “The rich people bring more money to areas
for all kinds of facilities. So the poor obviously are not receiving their water
full time, and they have to wait with their buckets in the queue; whereas, rich
people get water into their homes. The resources are not distributed equally.
Here the water is equally distributed,” he added, referring to
Ivana Stosic, the general manager of Business Incubator Center in
Vranje, Serbia, was impressed by the Lod company’s ability to install water
monitors and enforce water payments even in neighborhoods of the city with
illegal housing, an issue that affects her city’s Roma community, she
“We also have a lot of Roma community members with illegal houses,”
Stosic told the Post
, noting that residents of these homes often do not pay for
their water or electricity.
“I would like when I’m back to tell to our
mayor and the companies in my municipality that there are ways people can
actually control water payments and that it is possible to educate people to
understand that they must pay something for water.”
Stosic said she felt that there should be a stronger presence of water discounts
for the disabled in Israel, as there is in Serbia, she admired the fact that
discounts are given to large family households.
“This is a very good
system – we don’t have this system,” she said, noting that in Serbia, exactly
what the customer uses it what he or she pays for.
In addition to
adopting Israel’s water advancements, Prasad said he was also interested in
modeling off of the type of extensive municipal infrastructural development he
saw in the city of Netanya and its development company, and that he appreciated
the way the company fluidly melded housing demands and desire for open spaces
into its city planning.
Altogether, Stosic said that she has benefited
immensely from the lectures and programs that she has been able to attend during
the program, as well as the social and tourism aspects that were part of her
experience in Israel.