2010 Kenya: Evaluation & Review of WESCOORD Structures
Author: Pierre Bwale
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WESCOORD is a national multi-agency emergency co-ordination body on water
and environmental sanitation focusing on multiple interventions during
emergencies and establishing preparedness for emergencies.
It was formed as a result of the La Nina related drought of 2000/2001 which
inflicted severe difficulties on the Kenyan population, making an already difficult
situation worse particularly in 12 mostly northern arid and semi-arid districts.
WESCOORD was to be a water and sanitation sectoral specialist group of the
Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG), itself a technical arm of Kenya
Food Security Meeting (KFSM), which oversees the Emergency Operation
The purpose of this evaluation was to analyze theWESCOORD structure both at
the national and district levels and propose recommendations that could
improve coordination at these two levels.
The specific tasks were the following:
Review WESCOORD response to recent emergencies in Kenya & comment on
effectiveness of response taking into account UNICEF’s Core Commitments
for Children in Emergencies (CCCs) and the Government’s response
Review reformed institutional structures in the WASH sector and make
recommendations as to how existing emergency response structures
including WESCOORD can be strengthened and institutionalized within the
existing structures. Examine possible linkages to the long term development
agenda, for example cooperation in planning, reporting, policy development
& uptake, sourcing requirements etc.
Undertake field visits to emergency prone areas where the WESCOORD
managed to deliver effective results in response to emergencies.
Review preparedness plans and pre-positioning options/sites.
Review linkages between WESCOORD and other sectoral emergency
response structures position at national & district level and identify capacity
gaps, recommend strategies to address these gaps with an emphasis on
improved quality and accessibility of WASH infrastructure data and the need
for improved horizontal & vertical communication.
Review linkages between WESCOORD and UN emergency coordination/
disaster response structures, identify capacity gaps and recommend
strategies to address them
Evaluate both GoK & NGO emergency interventions for sustainability &
reliability and recommend minimum capacity building requirements to
provide sustainable operation & maintenance of WASH emergency developed
Recommend a set of operational strategies to reduce community
vulnerability to climate variability through preparedness and response while
maintaining environmental sustainability
The methodology used for the review includes:
- Literature review;
- Interviews with a wide range of government Officials, NGOs
representatives at both the national and district levels, donor
representatives and UN actors;
- Attendance to meetings including WESCOORD monthly (October 2010)
meeting and a training workshop in Nakuru (4 to 5 November 2010);
- Field visits: the following areas were visited: Turkana, Garissa, Kisumu,
Kakamega and Busia.
Findings and Conclusions:
Information collected was different from one geographical location to another
and subsequent to the nature of emergency. Cholera, floods and drought were
the most emergencies dealt with. It must be noted down that some
respondents were newly appointed and were not much aware about the past
In Turkana whereas few actors found the response to floods successful, most of
contributors found that the planning took too long and therefore interventions
were minimal and untimely.
To strengthen the emergency structures, there is a need to organize a
coordination forum of all working groups in theWASH sector under the SWAP
process in order to understand the roles played by each group and to agree on
a coordination mechanism. That forum could also be a platform to evaluate the
long term development agenda, the planning, the reporting and the sourcing
WESCOORD has not come up with emergency plans both at national and district
levels. Nevertheless few agencies members of WESCOORD have internal emergency
plans but these plans are not shared with other actors or with WESCOORD
To improve communication, district WESCOORD actors urge national
WESCOORD to initiate an information system and set up a database to which
they can easily access. While there is still a lot of works to achieve into creating
efficient linkages between the two levels, national WESCOORD emphasized on
this matter during the last training workshops carried out in Nakuru, Garissa
and Mombasa in November 2010.
1. The Secretariat to ensure that the WESCOORD TORs are circulated to
members and understood. TORs should be reviewed and revised periodically
with the participation of members.
2. WESCOORD Secretariat to establish an effective information system and set
up a database - collect information from districts, collate and disseminate
information from all actors, and follow-up on specific actions. A permanent
or half-time dedicated staff may be needed!
3. Meetings at the national level should be thematic oriented rather than being
generalist in nature. Members who have more experience in a subject of
common interest could be asked to make a presentation and share what is
considered to be best practices. Among other topics; new technology, cross
cutting issues (HIV/AIDS, gender, child protection), Water in Slams, capacity
4. At least once a year the national WESCOORD should organize an experience
sharing and lesson learning forum for all district WESCOORDs. In addition
C. Opportunities D. THREATS
members of the national WESCOORD should be encouraged to attend district
WESCOORD meetings in order to assess what is on the ground.
5. Consider a rotation around membership in chairing WESCOORD meetings
so that members are more involved and WESCOORD is not regarded as a
6. Develop or update a comprehensive mapping of potential emergencies,
current actors, identify gaps/needs and possible interventions to be carried
7. WESCOORD can play an advocacy and representation role for districts: i.e.
Fundraising role from donors following gaps/needs identified in each district
8. Facilitate the development of emergency preparedness and response plans/
Contingency plans – Can be planned during a sharing forum session.
9. The national WESCOORD can design curriculum for capacity building to be
adapted at district levels following their characteristics.
10. WESCOORD in collaboration with partners, helps develop common
standards and common strategies for emergencies (flood, drought, cholera
etc.) based on best practices;
11. In agreement with partners, develop a framework for interventions and
establish norms for monitoring and evaluation of all WES projects.
12. WESCOORD to play a role in mid-term and long-term development
of WES for the sector is crucial even out of emergency.
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