Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2009 Kenya: Supporting Sustainable water management and governance for the poor in drought and flood prone areas in Kenya

Executive summary


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In a bid to improve the management and service delivery of water in the country, the Government of Kenya undertook reforms in the water and sanitation sector. This involved the decentralisation of various institutional structures with distinct roles and responsibilities. However, most of the institutions lacked the capacity to effectively translate policy objectives to improved service delivery. Consequently, the water sector reforms were yet to fully realise the objectives for which they were instituted in July 2004.

The overall objective of this project is for water sector reform institutions to carry out their functions effectively in ASAL areas of northern Kenya with the specific objectives of improving:
(i) participation of the targeted beneficiaries in decision-making activities related to the management of water resources;
(iii) capacity of institutions and agencies in the sector.
To achieve these, the project aimed at the following:
• Making communities knowledgeable in water sector reforms, as well as the new institutions and their roles,
• Communities demanding and receiving services from water sector institutions,
• Enhancing capacity for Water Resource Management,
• Strengthening stakeholders’ capacity in health and sanitation sector, and
• Effectively managing Project Support Operations.

The project contributes to the following (UNDAF) outcomes:
• 1: Increased access to basic social services,
• 2: Improved governance;
• 3: Mitigating the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS;
• 5: Reduction of morbidity and mortality resulting from malaria; and
• 6, 7 and 8: Enhanced institutional and technical capacity for disaster management.
UNICEF is implementing this project through partnership with NGOs. It provides the overall planning, coordination, accounting, reporting, monitoring, contracting and management of the project. The entire implementation was carried out within its existing management structures. The Government of Kenya, through the relevant ministries responsible for Water, Health, Gender and Social Services is a key partner. At regional level are the Water Resources Management Authorities (WRMAs) and Water Services Boards (WSBs) while members of the community in the project area are the primary stakeholders and beneficiaries.
The project total cost is €2,497, 415 of which €1, 873, 06 (or 75 percent was funded by the European Commission) while the balance was sourced from SIDA and UNICEF. The implementation was between November 1 2006 and October 31 2009


The purpose of this evaluation is to assess and document the results achieved by the programme and recommend further improvement of water governance in ASAL areas. While considering the time allocated for fieldwork and the vast nature of the project area, five districts were sampled, namely: Garissa, Ijara, Tana River, Isiolo and Laikipia.


The evaluation entailed literature review and fieldwork involving: (i) focused group discussions with WUAs and WRUAs; (ii) key resource persons interviews; (iii) field ground truthing/validation; iv) photography and; v) questionnaires.

Findings and Conclusions:

Relevance: This review found the project relevant in that:
• It supported water and sanitation sector reforms in 10 ASAL districts located in different parts of northern Kenya. These are found in fragile ecosystems characterised by frequent droughts and periodic flooding. According to UNCRD (1999), the project area is located in agro-ecological areas IV to VII. These are regions with high water demand and deficit.
• Globally, the importance of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is recognised in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The tenth goal is to reduce the number of people without access to sustainable portable water and adequate sanitation by half by 2015. Additionally, MDG 7 deals with environmental issues and their contribution to improved livelihoods.
• The Water Act 2002 provides a legal framework within which sector reforms are to be undertaken in the country. Through the Act, new institutions with clearly separated functions have been established. Subsequently, devolved decision-making management systems through autonomous regional bodies have been established but they are still evolving and some are not well understood. The project supports this process and beneficiaries seeking services from these institutions.
Financial resources are well managed and utilised as per budgetary stipulations. In addition, qualified and competent human resources were employed and they matched with the functions undertaken.
• Further, this study has established that training was arranged and conducted in-situ, thus taking skill development to the grassroots, instead of ferrying beneficiaries to urban centres to acquire the requisite training. This arrangement not only ensured cost efficiency but also covered a higher proportion of the target group since the training sessions were open to all members of the community.
• Only six of the 10 districts have had at least two to three years of implementation, with three districts commencing mid and late last year. Implementation is yet to take off in Laikipia due to lack of appropriate partner. The process used by UNICEF to appraise implementing partners was time consuming, though effective.
• The proposed extension to cater for areas where implementation was delayed was found appropriate as no-cost one-year extension was granted.

• While considering the result areas cumulatively in the three-year implementation period, result area 1 on “Communities are Knowledgeable in Water Sector Reform Process, the New Institutions and Their Roles” reached 123,679 beneficiaries. This result area mainly sought to create awareness and impart essential knowledge on water sector reforms. The performance was well above the anticipated coverage as indicated in reviewed targeted-oriented results, which aimed at reaching 70,000 people across the 10 districts. The performance would have been higher if all the 10 districts were at the same level of implementation.
• Indirectly, many more people might have been reached through their respective WUAs and WRUAs. According to WUAs records from Ijara and Tana River districts, which are part of the Lower Tana sub-region that covers 77,400km2, the total number of population served adds up to 163,650 persons (See Appendix 6) – an average 81,825 people for each district. Assuming similar coverage is indirectly attained in the other eight districts, the entire project area (10 districts) coverage estimate, therefore, is 818,250 people.
• This study has revealed that the community members who have undergone training on water sector reforms are knowledgeable about the roles of many of the institutions, in spite of them being multiple and newly-created.
• Field information revealed that public health officers (PHOs) have been exposed not just to sanitation and hygiene training, but also water governance and reforms. At community level, sanitation hygiene awareness was reported to have been undertaken across all WUAs and WRUAs participating in the project. Other issues such as gender, HIV and AIDS, governance, conflict resolutions, environment, etc., were well integrated in the awareness campaigns and training sessions.
• This methodology synchronised well with the approach adopted by the implementing partners who opted for participatory training (use of drama and plays). This approach underscores why the project managed to reach many more people than initially projected.
• The effectiveness with which UNICEF carried out the assessment of partner organisations was found to be excellent as the groups provided evidence of competence in their respective fields and so far, none has breached the PCA.
• Re-registration of former self-help groups as associations under the Societies Act was undertaken immediately after the realisation that their former status did not grant them legal recognition. As associations, the communal organisations are recognised as legal entities that can sue or be sued in a court of law.
• Half of the community water associations interviewed had submitted their proposals for funding from WSTF through their DWOs to take to WRMA. Through training on resource mobilisation, the communities learnt of other sources of funding like the CDF, ALRMP II, and internal funding through annual registration fees and money from water levy.
• WUAs and WRUAs are aware what service they need, and from whom it can be sought.
• The water governance project relates to the WASH projects in that it is possible to apply for financial support to WSTF where WASH is funding all water development projects.
• Increased awareness on water issues has resulted in increased service demand, thus increased service delivery. For instance, Garissa WRMA Station emerged second out of the nine stations in service provision.
• Through training, this study encountered informed CAACs able to discharge their duties fairly well. They know their catchment in terms of scope and the available resources.
• Capacity of WUAs and WRUAs in water-related conflicts has been improved and the knowledge gained directed towards resolving issues affecting the management and access of water facilities.
• From the community point of view, sanitation and hygiene training by the project has resulted in general improvement of health standards as cases of water-related diseases have considerably reduced.
• At policy implementing level, the intervention has improved working relationships, especially between Public Health Department, local authorities, water office and water authorities (WRMA and NWSB).
• Increased coverage of latrine use is another benefit. For example, in the past two years, latrine coverage in Garissa has risen from 30 to 34.2 percent, which DPHO attributes to the training. This has also brought down the prevalence of diarrhoea since latrine usage and diarrhoea are linked.
• Public health standards are being developed and popularised among stakeholders.
• There was overwhelming evidence of integrating HIV and AIDs and gender-related issues in the project. While it was not easy to discuss HIV/AIDS openly among Muslims, Gedilun’s WUA was a manifestation of the awareness created. Members noted that one could contract the virus if he or she came into contact with blood from infected person(s) or having unprotected sex with an infected person. The community observed that HIV and AIDS was being experienced in marriage and everybody risked contracting it if necessary prevention measures were not observed.

Gender equity was being ensured at all management levels of project activities. It was observed there was improved participation of women and youth who had been previously excluded. Communities were aware of the need to include all.

Working with and strengthening WUAs, WRUAS and waste management committees means that the skills acquired would be available within the community. This ensures continuity even after the water governance project is concluded. The communities are assuming responsibility for their decisions and contributing to project impact and sustainability. The partnership forged between a community and water institutions is a key project strategy for sustainability.

Moreover, training on governance is a prerequisite for sustainable development through the creation of structures that instil accountability, good practices and is the best way of enhancing citizen participation in processes that affect their livelihoods. The reforms provide opportunity to strengthen community for sustainable growth, even after the life of the project. Also, the integration of cross-cutting issues allows viewing the reform process from a holistic perspective as issues that infringe on the rights of some members of the community are identified and mitigated against, while respecting the people’s traditional beliefs and practices.

However, UNICEF should encourage scaling down and eventually phasing out within the phase of no-cost extension, which is planned to last one year.


• The one-year no-cost extension phase is necessary but short. Therefore UNICEF ought to move with speed to ensure the activities planned for the districts lagging behind are implemented on time, with strict adherence to quality and quantity design specifications. Assessment to identify a partner for Laikipia district should be hastened as there may be no time left for implementation.
• The water governance project, which was software by design, should strive to expand the hardware component by taking deliberate action directly linking with WASH Programme. This will give an opportunity to put the acquired capacity into practice.

Lessons Learned (Optional):

• Good governance is a prerequisite for sustainable development. Where it is skipped or insufficiently addressed, development interventions are slow and at times impractical.
• Participatory training enhances adoption of skills. In spite of the high illiteracy levels amongst the beneficiaries, the training methodology adopted, which included visual aids, dramatisation and use of other PRA interactive techniques, enhanced awareness and effective transfer of desired information and skills. The community members are utilising the same in the management of the water resources and conservation of the catchment areas.
• Taking training to the grassroots means that one is targeting direct project beneficiaries and gatekeepers.
• Involvement and education of leaders on water governance accelerated the reform process. The local leaders are playing a key role in promoting good water governance and sanitation practices. For instance, some chiefs are using their positions to enforce good practices like promoting construction of toilets.
• Water governance impacts directly on sanitation and hygiene. If the project is expanded, the burden of water-borne diseases on the community would be lessened.

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