Connect4WASH: Setting the pace for Simavis' new Strategy

Article: 16.05.22, Kenya, Patrick Mwanzia

A new and unique program to amplify local voices to accelerate the realisation of Human Rights to Water and Sanitation for all

By Patrick Mwanzia, Programme Manager, Kenya

Recently, Simavi and partners Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network (KEWASNET) and Integrity Action signed a Partnership Agreement for a new, unique flagship programme; Connect4WASH: Amplifying local voices to accelerate the realisation of Human Rights to Water and Sanitation (HRWS) for all.

About Connect4WASH

Connect4WASH is a new flagship programmes in which Simavi aims to amplify local voices to accelerate the realisation of Human Rights to Water and Sanitation (HRWS) for all. The programme is envisaged to run for three years (2022 -2024) and will be implemented in Kenya. Specifically, in Kajiado and Makueni counties.

Connect4WASH builds upon the successful implementation and legacy of the “Watershed - Empowering citizens” programme that was implemented in Kenya from 2015 to2020. However, some adjustments will be made to meet Simavi’s new strategic focus.

Valentine Mombafi Watershed
Connect4WASH builds upon the implementation and legacy of the Watershed programme, this is the story of Valentine.

Uniqueness of the programme

What differentiates Connect4WASH from other approaches is that the programme proposes a unique approach to achieving the realisation of HRWS – namely, by working on the intersections of WASH, climate change and human rights, and taking into account gender and social inclusion issues along the way. The programme is designed to support the development of innovative ways to engage citizens and civil society in framing their solutions to realize their HRWS.

It applies a system change approach, which is a key proposition within the WASH sector to achieve sustainable change and impact. It is built to break silos between WASH and the climate sectors, which has shown to be of increased importance within both sectors. Furthermore, Connect4WASH uses a human rights approach and focuses on gender and social inclusion, by applying the learnings and tools developed by Simavi and other partners in this area.


The programme includes the adaptation and testing of other innovative tools for the engagement and mobilisation of civil society and communities in climate change discussions. An example includes the use of Human Centred Design (HCD). ‘Minions of Disruption climate board game’ will be co-adapted to the Kenyan context and used as communication and advocacy tool to influence the narrative and encourage cross-sectoral collaboration.

Goals of Connect4WASH

Through this programme, women, girls, youth and others in disadvantaged situations are targeted to continue to enjoy their HRWS, free from discrimination, coercion and violence. Connect4WASH programme focuses at realising the following expected outcomes.

  1. Enhanced participation, influence and leadership of women, youth and those in disadvantaged situations and/or their organized/informal groups/networks in public and societal debates, decision-making processes and actions related to Human Rights to Water and Sanitation (HRWS) and Human Rights to a Healthy Environment (HR2HE).
  2. Improved governance (access to information, transparency, mutual accountability, participation and integrity) of WASH systems.
  3. Improved availability, quality, accessibility, acceptability, affordability and sustainability of WASH services and products.
  4. Unified vision, greater collaboration, trust, actions, learning and management of results across stakeholders, sectors, boundaries led by county governments in WASH & Climate sectors.

Partnership arrangement and roles

Connext4WASH has three main consortium partners who co-created the programme together. They include Simavi, Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network (KEWASNET) and Integrity Action. The three have recently signed a Partnership Agreement that outlines the engagement processes and joint fundraising to further sustain and take the programme to scale.

In addition, Simavi will take up a leading role for continued collaboration with global networks, such as Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), End Water Poverty (EWP), Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) among other networks to exchange learning with other actors and engage in joint lobby and advocacy.

Shift the Power

‘I look forward to seeing this flagship programme being rolled out in Kenya and with successful new funding streams, going to scale in-country and the rest of East African region. The programme is unique in testing and learning what ‘shifting the power’ agenda in Simavi’ s strategic focus looks like in practice. 

For instance, KEWASNET has relatively higher budget (€289.410,00 ) than Simavi (€ 276.750,00), signifying the key role in the driver's seat of the programme, rather than Simavi taking such lead like before. The partner will lead key activities including strategies development as well as allied roll out, coordinating other joint activities in the country and identifying other local CSOs, sub-contracting and managing programme implementation in Kenya’, observes Patrick Mwanzia, Programme Manager, Kenya.

Help and contribute to solutions for the water crisis.

What you can do