Our Why

TIW Our Why

Why a Waterway Management Twinning Program?

We believe valuing and supporting those working in waterway management is vital if we are to have happy, enthusiastic, creative and committed people doing great things for our rivers, wetlands, creeks and streams.

In 2013, the Glenelg Hopkins CMA won the Australian Riverprize.  Glenelg Hopkins CMA was required to share expertise and understanding with other organisations working in river restoration.  Rather than focusing the $50,000 allocated to this activity on one organisation through a typical twinning arrangement, the Glenelg Hopkins CMA founded the Waterway Management Twinning Program with the Australian River Restoration Centre. This program pairs river management professionals from across south-eastern Australia through a mentoring relationship that enables them to share ideas, build capacity and extend networks.  The ultimate aim of the Program is for participants to feel renewed, supported and excited about their role in delivering world class river protection and rehabilitation projects.

Mentoring is a powerful way of effecting change in organisations.  This is because mentoring focuses on supporting an individual to achieve their goals in a way that is collaborative, personal and uniquely human.  People are social beings, yet in our fast-paced world we often neglect to invest in the relationships with peers and colleagues that sustain us.  Mentoring creates an opportunity for two people to develop a relationship of trust and respect, and to work on a project that combines their skills, expertise and enthusiasm.   The following quote summarises what mentoring provides for those involved:


The role of the Waterway Management Twinning Program Team is to support the mentor/mentees and further extend their skills and understanding through workshops that cover both personal and professional development topics.

The inaugural Waterway Twinning Management Program began in August 2015 and finished in July 2016.  The response from the ten participants involved in this first year was overwhelmingly positive, and since then we have had another 40 people participate in the Program, with solid relationships established and a range of projects undertaken.  What has become clear, is that there are very few opportunities for people working in natural resources management to access the sorts of resources and support the Waterway Twinning Management Program has provided.   Most coaching and leadership programs are beyond the reach of people due to their highly competitive nature, or cost.  Mentoring is, in contrast, relatively inexpensive, and develops skills that can be taken back into the workplace and easily shared with others.

We are delighted that through the support of the Victorian Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning, and the River Basin Management Society, the Waterway Management Twinning Program has had funding for 2017, 2018 and 2019. The stories for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Program are on the website, and you can access these throughthe Our Stories and Our Alumni page.   In 2020, fully funded scholarships are available for mentees from Landcare, Traditional Owner/ Aboriginal Community Members.  Any queries can be directed to the Program Coordinator Dr. Jan Barton j.barton@ghcma.vic.gov.au (03) 5571 2526 or 0436 628 541.

Waterway management twinning program objectives:

Objective 1:

Build capacity and confidence in people working in waterway management across a range of disciplines, from on-ground river restoration to evaluation to community engagement.

Objective 2:

Connect and create networks that will sustain people in the long-term so that they continue to get support and assistance from the people they meet through the program.

Objective 3:

Foster supportive behaviours within organisations so that mentoring becomes a part of workplace professional and personal development.

Effectively delivering these objectives will contribute to improved waterway management and assist in delivering the recent Regional Riparian Action Plan  and Water for Victoria Plan that emphasises the importance of continually strengthening the delivery of Victorian riparian restoration programs and specifically highlights mentoring and knowledge exchange.  An independent evaluation of the Program was conducted in 2018 and found strong support and wide ranging outcomes from all participants, including the managers who had facilitated their staff’s involvement.  You can read more about the evaluation here.


Waterway Management Twinning Program Team:

The Waterway Management Twinning Program is a collaboration between the Glenelg Hopkins CMA (GHCMA) and the Australian River Restoration Centre (ARRC) – with GHCMA being DEWLP’s primary contractor.  Key individuals are Dr Adam Bester, Dr Jan Barton (GHCMA) and Dr Siwan Lovett (ARRC), who work together to develop and deliver the Program.   The Twinning Program is based on industry-based mentoring principles and practices, with these tailored for the natural resources management sector.  Both Adam Bester and Siwan Lovett bring skills in leadership and mentoring from the Peter Cullen Trust Science to Policy Leadership Program, of which Adam has been a participant and Siwan a former co-facilitator.   Siwan is also a qualified Executive Coach and regularly facilitates workshops and organisational leadership and communication training, she also co-facilitated the Victorian Women in Water Leadership Program for three years.  Together, Adam, Siwan and Jan believe ‘Twinning is Winning’ and care passionately about Program participants gaining a positive and enriching experience.

In addition to the core team, are the Waterway Management Twinning Program Alumni who will be contributing to the ongoing development of the Program and participate in 2019 events.