South Asian Water (SAWA) Leadership Programme on Climate Change has evolved as a continuation to the Crossing Boundaries (2005-2012) and SAWA Fellowship (2012-2016).

The Crossing Boundaries Project (2005-2011) focussed on imparting and integrated approach to water resources while laying emphasis on the local context in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. Since 2005 the project has been crossing boundaries in water education, injecting principles of sociology, development studies and macro economics into what was previously considered a pure civil engineering subject. The key of Crossing Boundaries relevance to the water sector in the region lay in its interdisciplinary approach. Its ultimate goal was to stimulate a paradigm shift in water resources management in the South Asian region

The SAWA Fellowship Programme (2013-2016), was funded by International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and was implemented by SaciWATERs and its four partner institutions in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. The objectives of the project was firstly; to create a new generation of 60 interdisciplinary water professionals in South Asia trained to deal with issues of climate change adaptation, water and food security. Secondly, the project aimed to generate action-oriented research in the aforementioned fields through Master’s degrees in Integrated Water Resource Management in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Thirdly this project sought to address this gender imbalance in participation in water sector by awarding 80 percent of the fellowships to women; the rest of the fellowships will be awarded to men from lower socio-economic groups. Fourthly, it aimed to share knowledge and ideas about water issues in the South Asian context, through meetings and exchanges between fellows.



As a further initiative from these projects the SAWA Leadership Programme aims  at  facilitating  the  creation  of  a group of interdisciplinary women leaders in south Asia,   having   a   common   understanding   of   the crosscutting  scientific  and  societal  issues  of  water resource  management.  The program will award fellowships to 36 women enrolled in master’s-level Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) programs.  The  program  will  place  emphasis  on intensive  trainings  in  the  application  of  research methods,  internships  to  allow  candidate  to  link their research to actual decisions and applications, mentorship to support the student’s research and common curriculum development to ensure coherence across all the partner institutions.