Why do you believe it is vital to improve access to WASH services? And what do you see as the main challenge in reaching access to water and sanitation for all?
“I am so much committed to the quest of improving access to WASH services to communities because WASH directly impacts on their health, wellbeing and productivity, all of which contribute national economic development. To this end, Kenya’s development blueprint ‘Vision 2030’ envisages the realisation of equitable access for all to safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation.
The main challenge in the WASH sector in general, and the Watershed programme in particular, is ensuring sustainability in the universal provision of WASH services in line with SDG 6 – which means ensuring that no one is left behind in decision making and access to WASH services. For a long time development priorities, financing and action have been skewed in favour of providing WASH services to communities whilst ignoring Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) water security issues. I believe that integration processes between WASH and IWRM/Water security is another area that urgently needs redressing by development actors.”
Can you tell us about the Watershed programme and your role in it?
“The programme runs from 2016 – 2020 in six countries: Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Mali, India and Bangladesh. The main focus is to contribute towards attaining sustainable access to Water and sanitation for all, while integrating WASH and IWRM is another key focus area.
As Programme Manager Kenya, my role is to provide able leadership and coherent coordination between the Watershed Programme partners who collectively implement the programme in two County regions in Kenya (Kajiado and Laikipia, both of which have arid and semi-arid climates). The partners include AKVO, IRC, SIMAVI, and Wetlands International from Netherlands. There are five Kenyan Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) involved in the programme: Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network (KEWASNET), Neighbourhood Initiative Alliance (NIA), Kenya Water for Health Organization (KWAHO), Laikipia Wildlife Foundation (LWF) and Centre for Social Planning & Administrative Development (CESPAD).
By establishing strategic partnerships among the partners in the Kenyan programme, I aim to coordinate them towards lobbying and advocating for means of putting policies into practice, and working together to show evidence of the benefits of integrating WASH and IWRM in promoting sustainability.
Last, but not least, Watershed aims to strengthen the existing capacities of Kenyan CSOs involved in the programme to collate, analyse and use available data for evidence based lobbying and advocacy with target stakeholders. Tools like budget tracking are used to address inequalities in WASH and IWRM budgetary allocation/financing by authorities that can be addressed to achieve the goals listed above.”
What are your hopes and expectations for the high-level meeting in Ethiopia?
“Several international and national CSOs involved in WASH/IWRM sector related work will meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a three-day conference with the theme ‘Water Integrity in East Africa: Linking Policy with Practice’. Simavi’s partners in Kenya for the Watershed programme (KEWASNET, KWAHO and NIA) will all be represented at this high-level meeting. I hope, and expect, to share and learn from others on the mechanism of translating policies into practice, especially in the field of sustainable WASH service provision and its links with IWRM. This will help to inform the Watershed programme in Kenya on the best practices available in Africa and beyond, as well as getting better acquainted with the inherent challenges involved in this area – and sustainable means of addressing them.”