October 23-25, 2017 Arusha, Tanzania – International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP) in partnership with Tanzania’s Pangani Basin Water Office held a 3-day regional water stewardship learning event bringing together public and private sector partners and civil society from 13 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia.
“Learning is something dynamic. I am here to learn and re-learn,” said Doreen Wandera, Chairperson of the African Civil Network on Water and Sanitation and Executive Director of the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network based in Kampala, Uganda. “If we improve our irrigation systems as I have seen here, we could better sustain food production.”
On day one, participants joined thematic field excursions to learn from partners and beneficiaries based in the Usa River sub-catchment. As Uganda relies on agricultural production as a primary source of income, Wandera joined the field trip, ‘Water for Agriculture’. In the field, she discussed good agricultural management practices and how they help achieve domestic water quality standards and maintain ecosystem health.
“Networking, getting to know different stakeholders in the water sector, and seeing how communities and ordinary citizens are involved in decision making is what I will take back with me,” said Luciana Mkandara, Capacity and Impact Manager, Water Witness International based in Tanzania. “Learning how communities organise themselves can be very useful for other projects as well.”
Luciana’s field trip focused on demonstrating new technologies for water resources management aiming to address water challenges and promoting sustainability. Her group explored how new technologies can help with data collection, inform different sources of decision-making and discussed how technologies can be used to help mitigate risks.
The five fieldtrips highlighted the benefits of working within a partnership model to improve how water resources are shared among user and consumers. Participants had the opportunity to visit local businesses including Kilifora, a flower farm working to raise standards and address the risks of hydropower supplies negatively affected by water stress.
“I will relate our field visits to my local scenario,” said Dr. Kiran Farhan based in the populous Pujab region of Pakistan. As a professional working on capacity building of water sector professionals, challenges including surface water quality, sweet water zones and ground water availability are issues high on Gilhan’s list to address. Whereas her organization’s partnership with IWaSP only began six months ago, she hopes that by working with GIZ they will be able to identify indigenous solutions to water challenges including improved water efficiency, conservation, and innovative technologies for water use.
Participants shared and exchanged on how their water sectors work. Whereas Uganda’s water sector works under a partnership model using a sector-wide approach, others do not, and found it useful to discuss this with her. On day two, participants engaged in in-depth discussions analyzing learnings from the field and the following day, lessons learned were integrated into the launch of the Pangani Basin Multi-Sector Water Resources Management Forum.
“When you work alone […] what do you achieve at the end of the day?” said Ekwarm Johana, Water Delivery Lead for Tullow Oil based in Nairobi, Kenya. “You achieve a one-person project. When you do it as a cross-sectoral project you can bring in experience and more resources. At the end of the day you achieve the same goal, but this way you achieve it together.”
IWaSP is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).