Since September 2015, KEWASNET and the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP) have been working together to improve water resources management (WRM) and water stewardship knowledge and skills of KEWASNET, its members, and selected counties. As reported in the Annual CSO Sector Report, there is generally low prioritization of WRM initiatives both by the public sector and civil society organizations The CSOs in Kenya have been mainly focusing on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and there was a growing interest and need like to expand their expertise to water.
IWaSP Kenya focuses on enabling multi-stakeholder partnerships and co-operations on basin level and (semi) urban areas. The programme facilitates partnerships between the public sector, the private sector and civil society to address shared water risks, while improving stakeholders’ use and management of water and building their capacity to develop their own solutions. The partnership with KEWASNET was unique in that it was not a typical partnership involving all the sectors. The main thrust for the KEWASNET/IWaSP partnership was to strengthen the good functioning and implementation of integrated water resources management (IWRM) principles and stimulate effective and operational multi-stakeholder partnerships between government, private sector and CSOs in Kenya.
With nearly two and a half years since the formulation of the partnership, KEWASNET/IWaSP has influenced the policy practices and environment in the WRM sub-sector. One of the outputs of the partnership was the development of a comprehensive WRM strategy presenting a clear strategic direction for the Secretariat and its members on their engagement in the WRM sub-sector. A key aspect of the strategy was the need to strengthen knowledge management in the sector and strengthen Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs) who are tasked with the responsibility of implementation of the sub-catchment management plans.
Through the implementation of study circles and learning forums targeting Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs), Water Service Providers, county officials and private sector, there has been increased awareness amongst stakeholders on the need to protect water resources through the effective implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). The study circles have provided platforms for learning and exchange for CSOs to be able to improve their own programming. There has also been heightened interest by WASH stakeholders including county water service providers to integrate WRM activities in their planning for their own sustainability.
Study circles have been improved networking and coordination of WASH and WRM activities in counties like Kiambu County. Upon request from the county, the partnership supported the county to develop the draft Kiambu County Water and Sanitation Services Sector Policy, 2017 which is currently under review with the current administration. Another expected outcome of the KEWASNET/IWaSP partnership was to stimulate water stewardship in selected counties. This was achieved the launch of the Kiambu Water Stewardship Partnership which took place in June 2016. The partnership which is anchored under the Kenya Industrial Water Alliance is spearheaded by the Kiambu County Government with the support of IWaSP and KEWASNET.
The partnership between IWaSP and KEWASNET was a first in its kind amongst the countries IWaSP is currently based in. The positive outcomes of the partnership has led to the replication of similar partnerships with NGOS networks. A good example being the secondment of an IWaSP technical advisor to Uganda Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network (UWASNET) With the IWaSP programme closing end of 2018, the focus of the partnership is to build capacity of CSOs to act as honest brokers and facilitating partnerships between the public sector, the private sector and civil society to address shared water risks, while improving stakeholders’ use and management of water and building their capacity to develop their own solutions.