“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”

Oudi Kgomongwe



Organisation / Company

Department of Water and Sanitation South Africa


Oudi Kgomongwe, 34, is a scientific manager at the water and sanitation department and is responsible for the coordination and liaison for the national water resources information management at the department. She is required to handle relationships with their current and potential water science stakeholders. Oudi also coordinated and implemented the ninth phase of Unesco’s Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme. She says her involvement in this key initiative was a recent highlight in her career because it gave her the opportunity to create new systems and processes that the department used to report on its progress, and ensure South Africa practises inclusive and evidence-based water governance and management. This experience taught Oudi about the importance of stakeholder involvement and listening. “The challenges we are facing in the water sector are interconnected and cannot be met if we continue a sectoral-silo approach,” she says. As South Africa faces an impending water problem exacerbated by pollution and climate change, Oudi says there will be a demand for water professionals, and this is an opportunity for the youth to understand the intricate relationship of water and everything else around us.


BSc Honours in Geology, University of Pretoria
MSc in Hydrogeology, University of the Witwatersrand


A recent key accomplishment I am proud of is successfully managing and coordinating the implementation of the 9th Strategy of UNESCO Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP), which acts as the science-policy nexus to achieve water security in South Africa .

I created new systems and processes enabling the Water and Sanitation Sector Leadership Group to accurately report progress ensuring South Africa continues practising inclusive and evidence-based water governance and management. As a national coordinator of IHP, I was able to leverage on all water programmes for the achievement of sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 6. To this end, I have aligned the UNESCO IHP priorities for the country with SDG 6 targets and National Water Resource Strategy, facilitating monitoring and reporting in a collaborative manner.

The key lesson was the importance of authentic stakeholder engagement and listening. This requires continuous improvement and adjusting plans where necessary to deliver impactful results. The challenges we are currently facing in the water sector are interconnected and cannot be met if we continue a business as usual, sectoral-silo approach.


One of my role models that has influenced my journey into public service is Lindiwe Mazibuko, co-founder of Futurelect -a non-partisan leadership development and training programme that prepares young African leaders for roles in politics and public service. During the nine months of an intense training programme with Futurelect, Mazibuko influenced my outlook and transformational role in public service. She empowered me to solve the water challenges alongside a community of young change makers who form part of my inner circle of advisors. The programme equipped me with pragmatic tools for my career in public service from systems, practicalities, challenges of a career in public service to ethics in public leadership.