Today, I would wish to address each one of those whose path I crossed during my professional life since 2002.
This is the year of the foundation of IRHA, and at the time our mandate to promote globally rainwater management as a part of the Integrated Water Resources Management seemed quite futuristic. Apart from a few very enthusiastic scientists, NGO leaders, and some countries where traditional collection and use of rainwater was practiced, almost the entire development and water-related community considered Rainwater Harvesting as an incomplete “alternative” and not an important means to contribute to the MDGs.
As a founding member of IRHA, I remember very well how much we struggled to change this perspective, and if today, rainwater management is getting placed at the top of the strategies for adaptation to climate change, I am tempted to think that IRHA has contributed at least a little to this change in mindset. The Blue Schools programme initiated by IRHA has changed the life of thousands of children and teachers. I am proud that other organizations are now starting to apply the concept. Hopefully, they will improve and enlarge it. For IRHA, Blue Schools is a practical demonstration of the effectiveness of a holistic approach to development starting with rainwater management. In this sense, we welcome collaboration with anyone inspired by the objective to introduce rainwater management in national policies, through guiding and knowledge sharing.
Now, it is my time to step down and to hand over the executive management of IRHA to younger, but competent and talented professionals. I will be close to them, will enjoy their successes and help them to avoid the pitfalls, as I am moving to take a seat in the IRHA Board of Directors.
To those who have trusted me or helped our organization during my service, all my gratitude.