Mahmudul Haque is contributing towards better water resource management practices in Bangladesh, using the exposure and networks he created through his Australia Awards Scholarship to create change in the sector.
“I’m currently working with an Australian classmate to prepare an article about transboundary water sharing between Bangladesh and India and its impact in south-west Bangladesh, for a journal publication.”
“I’m also collaborating with my University of Queensland thesis supervisor to turn my master’s thesis into a water sector publication,” says Mahmudul.
A civil engineering alumnus from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Mahmudul began working at the Institute of Water Modelling in Dhaka in mid-2011, just four months after graduating. The Institute of Water Modelling is a trust organisation operating under the Ministry of Water Resources that works with both public and private sectors and earns funds by charging for consultancy services and research projects.
Mahmudul worked at the Institute until undertaking his Australia Awards Scholarship in Brisbane in early 2015. He initially decided to pursue further education because he believed that higher studies make people more skilful, confident and adaptable in solving complex issues. “At the time I applied, I was exploring different study options in line with my future career plans. Studying in Australia seemed to be the right choice for me as Australia hosts several high-ranking universities. However, the cost of studying and living there is quite high, and so it was just not possible for me to enrol as a private student and bear the expenses. That’s why I decided to apply for a Scholarship,” Mahmudul explains.
Mahmudul’s master’s degree program was completed at the University of Queensland, where he had the opportunity to exchange Integrated Water Resource Management ideas and share best practices with fellow students from many other countries. “It helped me to gain a global perspective,” says Mahmud.
After returning to Bangladesh in July 2016, Mahmudul re-joined the Institute of Water Modelling and was soon promoted from his previous position of Junior Engineer to a new position as a Junior Specialist. His master’s thesis from the University of Queensland related to the Urban Water Management sector, and his Australia Awards studies align closely with his past and present job requirements.
“Every project we handle is unique in nature. Therefore, we constantly need to update and upgrade ourselves,” adds Mahmudul.
Mahmudul’s immediate work supervisor, the Director of the Water Resources Planning Division, values his young employee’s new skills and knowledge. Mahmudul says that the Director “once said that he finds a great difference between the skills and attitudes of someone with a foreign master’s degree and a local one. He even borrowed some of my course materials to apply some technologies in one of our projects.”
In his current work with the Institute, Mahmudul applies his knowledge in Water Sensitive Urban Design technologies and has already been involved in two very significant Integrated Water Resource Management projects: a surface water treatment plant in Sylhet City and an action plan for pollution control of peripheral rivers in Dhaka City. Mahmudul is pleased and proud that his achievements are not restricted to the skills he gained directly from his master’s degree. He has found that he is now more confident, a better leader and communicator, and valued by junior work colleagues because of his increased knowledge and skills.
Even in the short period since his return, he has mentored two of his colleagues and three other friends in successfully applying for an Australia Awards Scholarship. A member of the Australian Water Association industry body, Mahmudul stays in touch with colleagues, water sector professionals and consulting organisations he met and worked with while in Australia. He also attended the 19th River Symposium held in New Delhi in September 2017.