Funded by a range of partners, including the United States Agency for International Development, (USAID) and the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC), the program, called the Kenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development (Kenya RAPID), will increase water coverage from the current average of 37% of the population to more than 50% by 2020 in Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana, and Wajir.
It is a unique partnership between local government, civil society and the private sector. Aqua for All coordinates the contribution and development of private sector parties that are investing from a CSR or business perspective in the program.
Leaders of the program were joined at a special event at the Safari Park Hotel Thursday morning by His Excellency Mwai Kibaki, the Third President of Kenya, who was also named last year as the United Nations Special Envoy for Water. The Third President also serves as the Patron of the Millennium Water Alliance Kenya (MWA-K), a consortium of nonprofit organizations working with the Government of Kenya and county governments to achieve full water and sanitation coverage by the year 2030.
“My hope is that the water and related benefits we seek to provide under Kenya RAPID and other similar programs will become a tool of empowering the targeted populations,” said President Kibaki. “Mainly, we seek to empower them to modernize and diversify the range of their market-oriented economic activities, and improve their standards of living.”
MWA Kenya Patron Mwai Kibaki greets MWA Board Chairman Malcolm Morris (left) at the Feb 18 launch in Nairobi of the new US$35.5 million Kenya RAPID program. In the center (l to r) are special guests Ralf Heckner, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, and Robert Godec, US Ambassador to Kenya.
Spokespersons for MWA-K also emphasized that the program is aligned with the Ending Drought Emergencies framework adopted in 2014 by the national government.
Private sector partnership is a major force in the program, noted Dr. Susan Mboya, Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. Kenya RAPID provides the kind of framework, she said, involving the “golden triangle” of the private sector, civil society, and government.
Joining the launch were the United States Ambassador to Kenya, Robert F. Godec, and the Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, Ralf Heckner, representing two governments providing major funding for the new initiative.
Ambassador Heckner told attendees that the partnership has the potential to create long-lasting change. “It opens a window of opportunities for counties to spearhead their own development, and to develop leadership and ownership by county governments” – the key to long-term development, he noted.
Stressing that the new program “will not be business as usual,” Malcolm Morris, Chairman of MWA-K and of its parent nongovernmental organization in the US, the Millennium Water Alliance, noted the program focuses on developing strong local institutions at the county level. All five counties will co-invest with funding, new software and equipment, and staff resources.
Kenya RAPID will use coordination units in each county to direct design and implementation of projects to deliver water for people and livestock from new sources and to improve and protect water service from existing sources, tied to simultaneous improvement in the handling of waste, in better hygiene education to prevent disease, improve rangeland management and increase demand for better services.
Partners include the ministries for water, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, health, and education for each of the five counties and at the national level. Major private sector partners have also stepped forward as stakeholders in the success of Kenya RAPID: Acacia Water (supplier of groundwater solutions), Sweet Sense Inc. (developer of technology for low-cost monitoring solutions), The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, and the Vitol Foundation, coordinated by Aqua for All (a Dutch nonprofit). More private sector partners will join later.
The Millennium Water Alliance coordinates the overall program. For the past two years, MWA, headquartered in the United States, has been working closely with the Kenyan government and USAID to implement water and sanitation programs in some of the same areas targeted for work under Kenya RAPID.
The Millennium Water Alliance is composed of 16 international organizations now working in more than 90 countries around the globe. CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Hungry, and World Vision are the MWA members implementing the field programs of Kenya RAPID, under coordination of thMWA Kenya Patron Mwai Kibaki greets MWA Board Chairman Malcolm Morris (left) at the Feb 18 launch in Nairobi of the new US$35.5 million Kenya RAPID program. In the center (l to r) are special guests Ralf Heckner, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, and Robert Godec, US Ambassador to the Kenya MWA-K secretariat in Nairobi.
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Persbericht © Millennium Water Alliance February 2016