Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Initiative

Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Initiative

Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Initiative

Supporting Secondary Urban Centres in the Lake Victoria Region to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals

Aide Memoire for a Workshop

to Develop Capacity Building Framework

Organized by UN-HABITAT

Nairobi, 16-18 October 2006


UN-HABITAT in association with the Governments of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda is currently implementing a major initiative to address the water and sanitation needs of poor people, living within the secondary urban towns around the Lake Victoria region. The Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Initiative (LVWATSAN)has been designed to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets for water and sanitation in small urban centers, taking into account the physical planning needs of these urban centers together with attention to drainage and solid waste management as an integral part of environmental sanitation. The Initiativehas a clear pro-poor focus, and is intended to generate desirable outcomes that would have a lasting effect on the poor. These outcomes include improved access to water and sanitation services in the project areas, functional and gender focused arrangements for sustainably managing and monitoring the rehabilitated systems, institutionalised capacity building programmes to regularly update the capacity of stakeholders, and a contribution to the reduction in pollutant loads entering into the Lake Victoria. It is envisaged that these outcomes, within a reformed environment, would lead to improved health status and productivity of the population in the secondary towns participating in the programme. It presents a real opportunity to improve the situation on the ground by combining physical investments in infrastructure provision, with targeted capacity building, while at the same time protecting the Lake environment on which the region depends for survival. The spirit of regional cooperation is under-pinned by the programme and opportunities for region-wide capacity building will further enrich the region's ability to manage itself.

The development objective of the project is to support secondary urban centres in the Lake Victoria Region to enable them achieve the water and sanitation related MDG’s and, generally, to contribute to an equitable and sustainable economic, social and environmental development for the people living within this area.

The specific objectives of the project are to:

  • Support pro-poor water and sanitation investments in the secondary urban centres in the Lake Victoria Region;
  • Build institutional and human resource capacities at local and regional levels for the effective operations, management and sustainability of improved water supply and sanitation services;
  • Facilitate the benefits of upstream water sector reforms to reach the local level in the participating urban centres;
  • Reduce the environmental impact of urbanization in the Lake Victoria Basin.

The need for Capacity Building

The on-going water sector reforms in the three East African Countries to promote good governance and improve sector performance have created huge capacity demands in secondary urban centres. Decentralization and devolution of roles/responsibilities from central to local government and other intermediate level bodies has created new administrative structures with new increased roles and responsibilities which require new capacitiies in terms of financial resource mobilization, and management, negotiation and managerial skills, gender mainstreaming, knowledge sharing and development of methodologies and tools. The main purpose of these efforts is to ensure the achievement of MDG 7 specifically target 10 to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation. Capacity building support is required to ensure efficiency and efficacy of these new institutions.The challenge here is to achieve the required balance between investments on water and sanitation infrastructure and capacity building, conducive policy and regulatory frameworks and multi-stakeholder partnership building at all levels.

According to the recently launched UN-HABITATGlobal Report on Water and Sanitation in the World’s Cities 2005[1], secondary towns also suffer from the effects of their size and economy on the ability to deliver services being characterized by unstable population, small revenue base and limited capacity for development and maintenance of services. A combination of poor planning and design, inefficient operations and inadequate maintenance means that the services that do exist are often of poor quality. Local sanitation problems are often solved at the expense of the wider environment as discharged untreated wastes pollute ground water and surface waters.[2]

Compounding the problem is the reality of the limited skilled human resource within the local authorities of these secondary towns to address their impending water and sanitation concerns.

Previous attempts to address sustained and improved water and sanitation services in these secondary towns failed due to the absence of active engagement with all actors including vulnerable both women and men in identifying required capacity- needs at the all levels. Therefore, what ever was undertaken did not prove sustainable nor did it achieve the required impact at the grass root level.

An initial assessment undertaken by UN-HABITAT to identify water and sanitation investment and related capacity building needs in 30 secondary towns in the Lake region noted that the current water and sanitation infrastructure has not been working to its optimal capacity due to: lack of human resources and capacity to operate and maintain the system, the hardware has surpassed its assets life-time and the original design of the system was for a population much smaller than the current size. The assessment also clearly indicated a wide variation in local capacity for sustaining improvements in services in the secondary towns in the three countries. Further, there is an equal necessity to build capacity at regional levels to which responsibilities are being devolved rapidly because of on-going sector reforms, but not necessarily with attendant enhancements in institutional or human resources capacity.

Furthermore, there are many good Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Community-based Groups (CBOs) at the local level with fresh ideas, but there are few linkages with city-level government, meaning that good practices are seldom replicated or properly evaluated with respect to their impact on local government systems.

Specific findings and conclusions of the assessment include:

  • At the regional (sub-national) level, there is need for training and capacity building for managerial and financial skills.
  • Local financial resources are very limited due to poor revenue collection; significant gains can be made by setting up a modern billing and revenue collection system; provision of hardware, software and capacity building should be considered in a package.
  • Little attention is given to unaccounted-for-water, except in Uganda, where significant gains have been made in reducing unaccounted-for-water.
  • Very few towns have integrated physical planning into infrastructure development. Capacity building among local authority officials in this area is a high priority.
  • Most raw water treatment & wastewater treatment works are not operated professionally and lack regular supply of chemicals etc.;
  • There is urgent need for community mobilization and public education for the active engagement of all community members especially women, and the vulnerable groups such as orphan headed households and the elderly.

Capacity Building within LVWATSAN

The LVWATSAN seeks to develop the right balance between investments on water and sanitation infrastructure in the secondary towns and capacity-building at the local and regional levels.

Specifically, capacity building efforts will be focused at the following levels:

  • Advocacy and awareness raising at all levels.
  • Local service providers in the areas of business plan development, financial management (including tariff setting), technical management including operations and maintenance (O and M) and demand management.
  • NGOs, CBOs and grass root groups of both women and men in the areas of community mobilization, management, income-generation and partnership-building with local authorities.
  • Local authorities in the areas of solid waste management, drainage, health and hygiene education in schools and communities.
  • Water resource management authorities at local and regional level in the area of water quality management.
  • Regional Water Service Boards etc. in the areas of regulation and management of local service providers.
  • Gender mainstreaming in water and sanitation services.
  • Advocacy and awareness raising on the needs of vulnerable groups such as orphan headed households and widows for improved access to safe drinking water ad adequate sanitation.

Objectives of the Capacity Building Workshop

Drawing on the experience of a range of local and international partners, UN-HABITAT is organizing a workshop to design a capacity-building programme for LVWATSAN that is responsive and demand driven. The main objective of the workshop is to scope the capacity building activitiesrequired to support and sustain investments in water and sanitation infrastructure in the secondary towns. The capacity building framework will focus on the following areas:

  • Strengthening utility management in small urban centers.
  • Local economic development activitiesrequired to support and sustain investments in water and sanitation infrastructure in the secondary towns..
  • Strengthening capacity for urban catchment management in small urban areas.
  • Gender mainstreaming and inclusion of vulnerable groups in the project.
  • Strengthening capacity forpro-poor governance in the provision of water and sanitation services in small urban centres.
  • Strengthening capacity for advocacy, information, education and communication and partnership building.

Thematic Areas

The complexity of the integrated approach to water resources management requires that capacity building must address holistically a wide range of issues, problems and opportunities across sectors. There is no one correct solution which again emphasizes the importance of local control and local solutions backed by local adaptation of internationally accepted knowledge and principles.

The Workshop will focus on six thematic areas:

1. Local economic development

Investments in water and sanitation services and local economic development (LED) are interlinked. On the one hand, provision of adequate water and sanitation services is instrumental to LED. It is generally acknowledged that improved water and sanitation provision contributes to LED by uplifting users’ health and hence their capacity to engage in productive activities. In addition, access to water and sanitation is important for proper functioning of enterprises in secondary towns. Closer proximity to water sources reduces the time necessary for fetching water and improves the lives of women who are traditionally charged with the responsibility of fetching water for entire households. Improved provision has also the potential for contributing to an increase in households’ incomes. Lower cost of water and less time spent on fetching water can mean that disposable incomes are higher. The additional income can be spent on non-farm productive enterprises or on goods and services, which, in turn, may spur local micro, and small-scale enterprises. On the other hand, LED provides the context that allows for better provision of services. Without LED there is not enough demand to support and sustain investments in water and sanitation. Therefore, there is need for a strategy for promoting pro-poor local economic development interventions that will stimulate income-generating opportunities for local communities involved in the Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Initiative.

Local economic development (LED) has the strongest chances for success, if it engages people with vision, commitment and determination. People in the community must work together towards mutual goals, enjoying the benefits of local investment and resources rather than competing for individual gain to the detriment of the community.

At the local level, LED related capacity building is required in the development of business skills; fostering of pro poor- public-private-partnerships and micro financing targeted at ongoing small-scale enterprises and water and sanitation related entrepreneurs. A good example could be support given to small-scale food production from urban agriculture with the potential to make an important positive contribution to both urban food security as well as urban employment.

In the short term, this can be achieved through:

  • Local entrepreneurship development through a competitive process to hire local groups or small entrepreneurs (formal and formal) to partner with main contractors as micro-contractors.
  • Integrating on-the-job training and skills improvement for local groups/entrepreneurs as part of the responsibilities of the main contractors.
  • Procurement of local building materials such as sand and stones through local building material suppliers and community groups.
  • Employment Opportunities for local communities through provision of skilled and unskilled labour in areas such as pipelines/sewer trenching, pipe laying, plumbing, simple masonry and concrete works – (with the main contract having a clause on local employment).
  • Business skills training and community management of water kiosks and public toilets on behalf of the utility service provider
  • Community-Small-Micro-Medium-Enterprise (SMME’s) involvement in solid waste management, where such capacity exist.
  • Reviewing policies and regulations to enhance pro poor public private partnerships initiatives involving local authorities and formal/informal SMME’s

In the medium term, it can be achieved through:

  • Improved governance, transformational leadership and enhanced policies and regulations– to assist local authorities and water utilities to enter into partnerships with the local private sector and communities through local contracting anddesigning “sweat equity type projects”.??
  • Building inclusive financial sector to facilitate Micro financing,and micro-credit facilities -toassist service providers to obtain and access investments.
  • Technical training on income generating activities - creating additional jobs - urban agriculture, sanplat and other affordable sanitation facilities, composting, recycling etc.
  • Development of organisation skills for SMME’s and business oriented CBOs/NGOs - to assist them to better position themselves for tenders/contracts and to also train them on management, social marketing and basic book keeping skills. This will increase demand and make income-generating project sustainable.

In the long term, this can be achieved through:

  • Strategic planning for solid waste management and other municipal services .
  • Financial and managerial training to develop long term local development plans
  • Urban planning for investment, using already developed GIS
  • Monitoring the impact of the project on the town's and regional economy

The success of community based LED initiatives will depend on effective collaboration. Local or regional cooperation will strengthen capacity for mutual reinforcement among communities in the LVWATSAN region. Consequently, community projects and activities should engage people of diverse perspectives and skills such as facility for advocacy, lobbying, fundraising, investor relations, and communications. Women’s skills in fostering collaboration and in mobilizing volunteerism would make key actors in LED.

2. Urban Catchment Management

Over the years, the pressure on the limited freshwater resources has considerably increased due to growing demand and abuse of the catchment areas. Water shortages are often caused by pollution of water resources in the catchment, which renders the quality of water unsuitable for downstream users. The cost of water treatment has also increased due to the increased pollution load. This has had a direct influence on the water tariffs by pushing up the cost of piped water beyond the reach of the urban poor. The problem has been further aggravated by pollution from the various economic sectors notably, agriculture and industrial activities. Of particular concern are the human settlements in urban areas where social infrastructure development lags far behind population growth.

Urban Catchment Management (UCM) is an integral component of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). It incorporates not only water quality and quantity perspectives, but also socio-economic and ecological integrity aspects of projects and programmes. The objective is to protect and secure water resources in urban catchments, coordinate water management in upstream/downstream users more effectively and develop and implement strategies, including livelihood programs, which directly improve the living conditions of the poor.

Urban catchment management initiatives have in the past been unsuccessful due to lack of coordination between and within government and communities, a poorly understood need for an integrated approach, using a standardized approach due to failure to understand the importance of the local context, confusion between bottom-up consultation and community participation and top-down policy and governmental investment, lack of integration of economic development with ecosystem management, institutional barriers to effective integration and lack of integrated information management systems to support catchment management.

The tradeoff between urban growth through LED and the catchment is environmental degradation. Therefore capacity to monitor and regulate business and urban growth and protect natural resources at the same time is imperative for reducing and preventing environmental degradation.

2.1 Objectives of urban catchment management include:

  • Protect and secure water resources in urban catchments;
  • Provide ecological stability and improvement;
  • Provide flood control;
  • Identify major sources of pollution, both point and non-point sources;
  • Develop rehabilitation strategies aimed at improving water quality by in-stream measures, decanalisation and creation of wetlands;
  • Co-ordinate water management by upstream & downstream users more effectively and develop and implement strategies, including livelihood programs, which directly improve the living conditions of the poor.

2.2 Activities required include: