Bank of Actions

Bank of Actions

Are you seeking examples or inspiration for water protection? There are plenty of potential actions to choose from! The Bank of Actions will provide your organisation with concrete ideas and examples of water protection activities implemented by organisations in the Baltic Sea Challenge network. You can browse these according to the theme, type of actor, country, year or keyword.

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Lifelong learning through German “Neighbourhood” concept

Actor: German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA) - Regional Group North-east   ●   Year: 2017   ●   Address:

© IWAMA - Interactive Water Management projectIn IWAMA project the German concept for lifelong learning in wastewater treatment sector called “Neighbourhoods” was tested in international context during capacity development workshops. This method of exchange of experiences under guidance of experts proved to be extremely useful.


© DWA / IWAMA - Interactive Water Management projectLearning from the neighbour is a useful approach, as the actors are on the same level and “speak the same language”. Every wastewater treatment “neighbourhood” is guided honorary by a professional high-qualified person (so called “teacher/adviser”). The “teacher” is responsible for coordination of meeting date, location and programme. Involvement of “teacher” assure transfer of new information from beyond the daily work to the wastewater treatment workers which leads to a better qualification and finally helps to improve the water quality. Each Teacher can be assisted in organization by a chairman, who is elected by the neighbourhood.

Each neighbourhood can select own topics for their meetings, which ensures that region-specific aspects can be discussed. The topics are usually presented by external experts or personnel of suppliers. These presentations should be product neutral and give a market overview if necessary or show different solutions.

Once a year teachers of a region meet for their skill enhancement. During this meeting a guideline for the topics of the next neighbourhood meetings is developed. The organizing institution names a supervisor who is in charge of professional guidelines, including the topics, the annual meetings of teachers, selection of teachers and their mentoring. The teachers taking part in the neighbourhood work receive information about the current challenges in the field and so new ideas for their daily work, e.g. new research topics for representatives from academia.


Benefits of the “Neighbourhood” work

  • Sustainable increase of the efficiency reduces operational costs and efforts
  • A lot of useful experiences for the operation and the enlargement of sewers and WWTPs
  • Up-to-date information (e.g. new laws and regulations and cognition of the operational safety)
  • Practical tools to support daily work, like forms and operational instructions
  • Benchmark of efficiency
  • Detecting problems and development measures

Background information

The international neighbourhood concept was developed within Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014-2020 financed project IWAMA. Baltic Sea Challenge had close co-operation with IWAMA. The project activities concentrated on developing the capacity of water sector operators and pilot investments to increase energy efficiency and advance sludge handling. All project activities were targeted at better environmental state of the Baltic Sea through reducing nutrient input, optimizing energy consumption of the wastewater treatment plants, training water sector’s employees and ensuring the transfer of knowledge. The partners of the IWAMA project joined the Baltic Sea Challenge network. 

© IWAMA - Interactive Water Management project

Further information

Name: Matthias Ebel   ●  Email: dwa(a)   ●  Web page: