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✇RWSN Blog

My experience setting up a resource centre for rural water professionals

By: RWSN Secretariat
This year we are celebrating 30 years since the Rural Water Supply Network was formally founded. From very technical beginnings as a group of (mostly male) experts – the Handpump Technology Network- we have evolved to be a diverse and vibrant network of over 13,000 people and 100 organisations working on a wide range of … Continue reading "My experience setting up a resource centre for rural water professionals"

Justine Olweny Potrate

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✇RWSN Blog

Comment j’ai créé un centre de ressources pour les professionnels de l’eau en milieu rural

By: RWSN Secretariat
Cette année, nous célébrons les 30 ans de la création officielle du Réseau rural d’approvisionnement en eau. Après des débuts très techniques en tant que groupe d’experts (essentiellement masculins) – le Handpump Technology Network – nous sommes devenus un réseau diversifié et dynamique de plus de 13 000 personnes et 100 organisations travaillant sur un … Continue reading "Comment j’ai créé un centre de ressources pour les professionnels de l’eau en milieu rural"

Justine Olweny Potrate

ruralwaternetwork

✇End Water Poverty

July 2022 Newsletter

By: editor
July 2022 Newsletter editor 9 August 2022 - 10:21
✇UN-Water News

UN 2023 Water Conference: proposed themes, preparatory meeting dates announced

By: Anna Nylander

The UN 2023 Water Conference will be held in New York, from 22 to 24 March 2023. The event, the first of its kind since 1977, is formally known as … Read more

The post UN 2023 Water Conference: proposed themes, preparatory meeting dates announced appeared first on UN-Water.

✇RWSN Blog

RWSN shaped my professional life

By: RWSN Secretariat
This year we are celebrating 30 years since the Rural Water Supply Network was formally founded. From very technical beginnings as a group of (mostly male) experts – the Handpump Technology Network- we have evolved to be a diverse and vibrant network of over 13,000 people and 100 organisations working on a wide range of … Continue reading "RWSN shaped my professional life"

photos matameye niger 040

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✇RWSN Blog

Le RWSN a façonné ma vie professionnelle

By: RWSN Secretariat
Cette année, nous célébrons les 30 ans de la création officielle du Réseau rural d’approvisionnement en eau. Après des débuts très techniques en tant que groupe d’experts (essentiellement masculins au sein du Handpump Technology Network) nous avons évolué pour devenir un réseau diversifié et dynamique de plus de 13 000 personnes et 100 organisations travaillant … Continue reading "Le RWSN a façonné ma vie professionnelle"

photos matameye niger 040

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✇WSUP Blog

Letter from Ghana: heart of the country, Ashanti Region must adapt to stay strong

By: Rogerio Simoes

This is the second in a new monthly series of articles, named “Letter from…”, written by WSUP’s teams in the main countries where we operate (Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia, and Madagascar). In the first week of the month, one of those teams will have an article on the WSUP’s website about life in their communities. Our second Letter comes from Ghana and focuses on the importance of the Ashanti Region for the country.

By Frank Romeo Kettey, Country Manager, in Kumasi

The Ashanti Region is, in many ways, the heart of Ghana. Considered the cultural centre of the country and home to the famous Kente fabric, it is one of the sixteen Ghanaian administrative regions. The region, located in the middle belt of Ghana, is famed for its gold and cocoa production. The world-renowned Ashanti King has its origins from the Ashanti Kingdom, which originated in the 17th Century.

The Kingdom ruled for centuries until it joined an independent Ghana in 1957, as the Ashanti Region. The region thus retained the rich and culture of the Ashanti kingdom, which includes a 42-day month calendar that helps to mark special traditional days. The Ashantis have a unique way of bidding farewell to the dead, through celebrations that can last for days. Ashanti arts are mostly represented in the adinkra symbols which a many different symbols with distinct meanings.

With a population of about 5.4 million, or about 18% of Ghana’s 30 million people, the Ashanti Region is also urbanising rapidly: 61% of its residents now live in urban areas, against a national average of 56%. Whilst rural urban drift has characterised urbanisation in Ghana for decades, an evolving trend is rural communities metamorphosing into small towns, creating new small urban areas. Rural services are no longer adequate in these communities, and there is a requirement for larger, more formalized systems and services.

The pace of urbanisation has thus outstripped development planning and investment, creating enormous pressure on infrastructure, social support systems, and availability of urban services, including water sanitation and hygiene, especially for low-income communities and the vulnerable.

Much needed pipelines

Just like other regions of Ghana, access to basic water and sanitation is challenging in the Ashanti Region. Only 29% of the population has access to basic sanitation, with water coverage faring better at 95.6%, albeit mainly through public standpipes. Less than 27% of the people have access to safely managed water on their premises, with access available whenever needed and without any harmful contaminants.

In order to support efforts to address the challenge of poor WASH services in this rapidly urbanising part of the country, WSUP has been operating in the Ashanti Region since it started its work in Ghana, in 2010, delivering sustainable impacts in 25 out of its 43 municipalities. Since then, WSUP has worked in partnership with municipalities, utilities, the private sector, and local community actors to drive improvement in water, sanitation, and hygiene access, while strengthening capacities to sustain those WASH services.

Woman uses water pump in the cocoa growing town of Nerebehi, in the Ashanti region

Through these partnerships, WSUP has successfully supported extension of water pipelines by the local urban utility to low-income communities in the region’s capital, Kumasi. This meant supporting communities with 75 public standpipes, household connections, and 200 cubic metres of overhead water storage unit, building the capacity of local communities and water vendors to support sustainable services.

WSUP also works with the utility and small community service providers to adopt and operationalise delegated management model in some communities to support the utility to reach underserved and low-income customers.

Similarly, WSUP has worked across 10 cocoa growing small towns with water and sanitation infrastructure. This has included provision of mechanised boreholes, transmission and distribution lines, standpipes with multiple taps, household connections and 20 cubic metres of overhead water storage units for each of the communities. We have also worked with residents to trigger demand and construct household toilets in locations where open defecation was rife.

We have further worked to engage municipalities in the region to support sanitation enterprises and artisans, in order to improve access to household toilets. WSUP’s work also involves developing markets for onsite sanitation and building the capacity of enterprises in technical specification of toilet systems, basic business management, customer relations, marketing, while connecting them to effective supply chains.

More about WSUP's work in Ghana

Education and empowerment

Our work in the region has also included supporting schools and municipal education officers to improve WASH, with the provision of new facilities (including menstrual changing rooms for girls) and setting up hygiene clubs in 10 basic schools in the region.

At the outset of Covid-19, WSUP worked with 9 municipalities in the region to build the community resilience to Covid-19. In collaboration with the Ghana Health Service, National Commission for Civic Education, municipal authorities and community-based organisations, we effectively disseminated Covid-19 prevention messaging and provided much needed PPEs while further building institutional capacity within the municipalities to respond to health and WASH emergencies.

George Asomaning, assistant headteacher of Nkonya Basic School, in Asamang, and local assembly member

WSUP’s work has helped public and private service providers to respond to WASH challenges occasioned by rapid urbanisation. We work in the major city and urban communities in the region, but also support urbanising cocoa growing small towns in the region with improved WASH infrastructure, supporting municipalities and communities to evolve effective management models for sustainable services, building capacity and creating enabling environment for private sector participation in WASH service delivery in these locations whiles improving regulation.

All those efforts have one major thing in common: supporting the Ashanti Region in its major challenge of dealing with a rapid and broad transformation of its communities.

The Ashanti Region will continue to be an important region for WSUP in Ghana. Our 2025 strategic plan seeks to consolidate the impacts made in the region by expanding our efforts into new municipalities, focusing on empowering service providers and community actors. This aims at ensuring sustainable access to safely managed water, access to household toilets, and stronger systems across municipalities for effective regulation. Being the heart of Ghana, the Ashanti Region needs increasing strength, so the whole country can benefit from its growing health, resilience, and progress.

Top image: Community in Asokore Mampong, part of the city of Kumasi

✇UN-Water News

World Water Week in Stockholm 2022

By: Anna Nylander

The 2022 edition of World Water Week will take place 23 August to 1 September online and in Stockholm, Sweden. The conference will be held on the theme ‘Seeing the … Read more

The post World Water Week in Stockholm 2022 appeared first on UN-Water.

✇RWSN Blog

Stop the Rot – Stakeholder perspectives on handpump corrosion and quality – Part 2

By: kerstinldanert
A summary of the second part of the RWSN webinar (April 2022) The findings of the ‘Stop the Rot’ study on handpump* corrosion and component quality was presented at an RWSN webinar in April 2022, attended by 135 people from over 60 countries. What were the reactions of those that attended the webinar and what … Continue reading "Stop the Rot – Stakeholder perspectives on handpump corrosion and quality – Part 2"

kerstinldanert

✇UN-Water News

UN-Water Summit on Groundwater, 2022

By: Anna Nylander

The UN-Water Summit on Groundwater will be the culminating event of the 2022 campaign “Groundwater: making the invisible visible”, implemented by the dedicated UN-Water Task Force, co-coordinated by UNESCO and … Read more

The post UN-Water Summit on Groundwater, 2022 appeared first on UN-Water.

✇RWSN Blog

Launch of RWSN’s 30th anniversary blog series: reflections from Dr Peter Morgan

By: RWSN Secretariat
This year we are celebrating 30 years since the Rural Water Supply Network was formally founded. From very technical beginnings as a group of (mostly male) experts – the Handpump Technology Network- we have evolved to be a diverse and vibrant network of over 13,000 people and 100 organisations working on a wide range of … Continue reading "Launch of RWSN’s 30th anniversary blog series: reflections from Dr Peter Morgan"

peter-morgan

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✇RWSN Blog

Série de blogs sur le 30e anniversaire du RWSN : réflexions du Dr Peter Morgan  

By: RWSN Secretariat
Cette année, nous célébrons les 30 ans de la création officielle du Réseau rural d’approvisionnement en eau (Rural Water Supply Network). Après des débuts très techniques en tant que groupe d’experts essentiellement masculins au sein du Handpump Technology Network, nous avons évolué pour devenir un réseau diversifié et dynamique de plus de 13 000 personnes … Continue reading "Série de blogs sur le 30e anniversaire du RWSN : réflexions du Dr Peter Morgan  "

ruralwaternetwork

✇RWSN Blog

Serie de blogs del 30 aniversario de la RWSN: reflexiones del Dr. Peter Morgan

By: RWSN Secretariat
Este año celebramos los 30 años de la fundación formal de la Red de Abastecimiento de Agua en Zonas Rurales. Desde unos inicios muy técnicos como grupo de expertos (en su mayoría hombres) la Red de Tecnología de Bombas de Mano- hemos evolucionado hasta convertirnos en una red diversa y vibrante de más de 13.000 … Continue reading "Serie de blogs del 30 aniversario de la RWSN: reflexiones del Dr. Peter Morgan"

peter-morgan-1

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✇RWSN Blog

Série de blogues do 30th aniversário da RWSN: reflexões do Dr Peter Morgan

By: RWSN Secretariat
Este ano estamos a celebrar os 30 anos da fundação formal da Rede de Abastecimento de Água Rural (RWSN em ingles). Desde o início muito técnico como um grupo de peritos (na sua maioria homens) – a Handpump Technology Network (Rede de Tecnologia de bombas manuais)- evoluímos para ser uma rede diversificada e vibrante de … Continue reading "Série de blogues do 30th aniversário da RWSN: reflexões do Dr Peter Morgan"

peter-morgan-1

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✇RWSN Blog

A final personal tribute the Erik Nissen-Petersen (1934-2022)

By: RWSN Secretariat
Dear fellow Rainwater Harvesting Enthusiasts, It is with a heavy heart that I wanted to report to this network the sad news I recently received about the recent passing of Erik Nissen-Petersen in Nairobi. While I am not party to all the details, I understand he had been in hospital for some weeks following an … Continue reading "A final personal tribute the Erik Nissen-Petersen (1934-2022)"

Erik

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✇RWSN Blog

Stop the Rot – Stakeholder perspectives on handpump corrosion and quality – Part 1

By: kerstinldanert
A summary of discussions at the RWSN webinar (April 2022) Handpump reliance, rapid corrosion, component quality and supply chains in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) were the subject of the trilogy of reports from the ‘Stop the Rot’ published in 2022. The research looked specifically at the main public domain handpumps – the India Mark Pump, and … Continue reading "Stop the Rot – Stakeholder perspectives on handpump corrosion and quality – Part 1"

kerstinldanert

✇WSUP Blog

Neil Jeffery: Departing reflections from WSUP’s Chief Executive

By: Rogerio Simoes

By Neil Jeffery

Today is my last day at WSUP after eight years as Chief Executive. I let the Board know of my decision to step down at the end of last year. The substantial notice period allowed for a stable and ordered handover to the new CEO, Ed Mitchell, a very knowledgeable and experienced individual. I am delighted to have been able to organize the transition in such a way to maximize stability for the business. Ed and I have spent the last fortnight visiting most of WSUP’s main funders and supporters to ensure an ‘in person’ handover of each relationship. This period has provided an invaluable opportunity to discuss in detail the future opportunities for WSUP.

Over the weekend I was clearing out papers from my office and came across a presentation on achieving scale that I had prepared for the WSUP Board in 2014. This set me reflecting on the journey that WSUP has been on over the last eight years, and the scale we have managed to achieve over that period.

Achieving impact at scale is the “holy grail” of social enterprises. Many talk about seeking or planning to achieve scale, but far fewer manage to reach a level of scale in their operations. WSUP recently celebrated the milestone of improving the lives of 30 million low-income residents in Africa and Asia through improved water, sanitation, and hygiene services. These women, men, and children have benefited through access to sustainable and financially viable services provided by local utilities and private sector providers working under the mandate of the utility. In 2014 WSUP had successfully worked with 4 million individuals, so achieving the target of assisting 30 million required a transformation in the organization’s ability to operate at scale.

I am extremely proud of having been able to lead WSUP through this period of sustained growth in impact. This achievement is down to many factors, not least WSUP’s remarkable, talented and experienced global staff. 80% of WSUP team members work in, and are from, Africa and Asia. This impressive pool of talent and expertise has been fundamental in building and maintaining positive relationships with governments, partners, and communities. It has allowed us to be entrepreneurial, agile, and responsive in the face of external shocks such as COVID or severe climatic events.

However, to reach scale, we needed to help these teams achieve even more. Over the last few years, we have worked to increase the autonomy and agility of our international teams in a framework of strengthened assurance, to allow them to achieve greater and faster impact. As part of this initiative, we established a three-year training and mentoring programme to strengthen the capabilities of our Africa and Asia country managers to prepare them to lead much larger multidisciplinary teams as WSUP grew. In parallel to this, we created new Africa-based senior roles to lead our international influencing strategy.

To grow, funders and investors needed to have confidence that we were able to credibly deliver on time, at scale, and in complex scenarios. I recognised early on that this belief must be underpinned by a high level of confidence from external stakeholders in our internal systems. As a result, I set about transforming our systems to prepare the business to achieve impact in a fundamentally different and more efficient manner. Over a number of years, we completely transformed WSUP’s finance, talent, risk, and IT management systems, and established new learning & development procedures. Additionally, we introduced a “cradle to grave” contract management process for all WSUP’s operational contracts. These professionalised systems, combined together, allowed us to increase support to our global teams and strengthen assurance and accountability, whilst empowering staff to deliver impact at scale.

Equally important was a clear, realistic, and inspiring vision for staff and external stakeholders of WSUP’s trajectory for growth. It was essential to ensure that all believed in the mission and stayed connected to the journey. Articulating the values of the social enterprise and those who worked in it was a critical aspect of this process. For the first time we were able to establish a set of organisational values that truly reflected the aspirations of our staff. We accomplished this through an extensive consultation process with all global teams, collating their perspective of WSUP’s unique contribution and value. This ultimately allowed us to announce six new organisational values to coincide with the 2020-2025 Business Plan.

Finally, an engaged Board was essential for achieving success. The involvement of the Board in each business plan process has increased steadily over my eight years at WSUP. The Board participated actively in defining the strategic direction of the 2020-2025 Business Plan. Based on reflections and suggestions collected through 50 detailed stakeholder interviews conducted with staff and external partners, the Board elaborated five strategic objectives as the basis of the plan. In 2019 the Board travelled as a group, for the first time, to conduct a deep dive into one of WSUP’s most successful operations and finalise the strategic goals for the plan.

Others may point to additional critical factors, but if the experience of the last eight years has taught me anything, it is that you must get the basics right before you can “soar” as a social enterprise. Impact at scale is definitely achievable, but it requires strategic focus, analytical rigour, determination, and passion.

Working with Ed over the last couple of weeks has demonstrated that he has the passion, energy, and vision to lead the organization to even greater impact at scale. I know he is enthusiastically committed to assisting more low-income residents to access sustainable water and sanitation services. I wish Ed and all the WSUP team across the globe the very best for WSUP’s next stage of growth.

Top image: Neil Jeffery and WSUP managers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2018

Read also: WSUP welcomes new CEO

More about WSUP's governance

✇WSUP Blog

Letter from Bangladesh: Climate mitigation in Chattogram

By: Rogerio Simoes

This is the first in a new monthly series of articles, named “Letter from…”, written by WSUP’s teams in the main countries where we operate (Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia, and Madagascar). In the first week of the month, one of those teams will have an article on the WSUP’s website about life in their communities. The first comes from Bangladesh and focuses on the impact of floods in the country.

By Abdus Shaheen, in Dhaka

Bangladesh has survived a number of disastrous events by adapting to climate change and disaster risks. At the time of writing, however, the country faces another gruelling experience: north-eastern districts are suffering from heavy floods, even after intensive preparation to prevent such a tragedy.

A coastal country, Bangladesh witnesses 2,200 millimetres of rainfall each year, but the north-eastern districts can receive as much as 5,000 millimetres. In the most recent event, the districts surrounding the Sylhet area have been suffering from very heavy rains, and the Himalayan meltdown – which is not stopped by Indian barrages – leads to the overflow of local rivers. This flow is going southwards, causing widespread damage, including in the Chattogram area, in the south-east.

Due to these disasters, people mostly suffer from water and sanitation-related crises. WSUP Bangladesh has been playing a vital role in mitigating human-induced climate issues, especially in providing safe water supply and waste management services.

Infrastructure in risk zones

In Chattogram, WSUP has been implementing water supply infrastructure projects where regular authorities have not been able to supply safe and clean water to the poor households in risk zones or underprivileged areas. Those areas are also prone to landslide risks, and when incidents occur electricity and water, including all types of utility connections, tend to be cut off.

Areas of Bangladesh with Major Disasters Source: Bangladesh Climate and Disaster Risk Atlas

The Chattogram Water Supply And Sewerage Authority is responsible for supplying drinking water to the city, but in the most low-income communities (LICs) it has been a major challenge to offer the service, as residents usually live in hill tops or very low-lying lands. WSUP Bangladesh tries to fill these gaps.

Alongside water infrastructures, WSUP Bangladesh is also implementing safe sanitation infrastructure activities for LICs that have been struggling to implement disaster-coping sanitation systems on their own.

Sustainable and waste management

Chattogram is a heavy industrial area, and there are various garment factories in the industrial zones. WSUP Bangladesh has, therefore, also focused on ready-made garments (RMG) workers’ communities whose water and sanitation facilities are inadequate.

Under heavy rainfall, dwellers most commonly suffer from waterlogging, which is contributed by the waste dumping at the drainage and canal networks, blocking the path that is supposed to carry the water out of the city.

WSUP Bangladesh has been helping build awareness for sustainable and waste management services and concentrating on faecal sludge management, including treatment and safe disposal. While the raw sludge water carries harmful bacteria – and is a nightmare for any public health institution –, treated water from faecal sludge is safe for the environment.

Our teams have already constructed a large faecal sludge treatment plant in the area of Chattogram City Corporation, and some private enterprises are engaged with the local authorities to provide sludge emptying services. The same enterprises also carry the collected sludge from the containments and transport it by vacuum trucks – which are much less likely to expose it to the open environment.

The carried sludge is dumped in a treatment plant, where the treated water is released into the open environment, while the treated solid from the sludge is transformed into compost or soil conditioner to be used in the local agricultural sector.

More about WSUP's work in Bangladesh

A history of floods

Out of 18 minor and major floods in Bangladesh during the 20th century, the most catastrophic ones happened in 1951, 1987, 1988, and 1998. In 1987, more than 57,000 km2 of land were affected by the devastating flood. In 1988 the disaster was even more damaging, as 82,000 km2 – or about 60% of the whole territory of the country – ended up underwater. Yet, resources were not prepared adequately, and a decade later, in 1998, about 75% of the country submerged in floods once again.

Flooding in Chattogram in 2022. Credit: New Age BD

Significant floods this century took place in 2004 and 2010. Bangladesh’s southern districts (all  coastal areas) also suffered immensely from cyclones Sidr and Aila, in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Later several small and large cyclones hit the country, causing massive saline intrusion in the agricultural lands, therefore making the southern agricultural sector almost incapable of cultivating crops.

Bangladesh is a riverine country. River erosion, flash floods, the peak of river waters, heat waves, and various other disasters are yet to be addressed. The Chattogram region also suffers from earthquakes, on top of flooding and land-sliding in the hilly areas. In the northern areas of Bangladesh, the Himalayan meltdown causes massive water inflow in neighbouring lands, flooding farms for thousands of miles. Bangladesh’s preparation for disasters, however, has become stronger with the dramatic experience brought by these events. Several government departments have been working to provide tools to prepare citizens for any potential calamity, as the country learns to be more resilient.

Environmental disasters, caused by nature but increasingly exacerbated by human activities, still have severe potential to harm Bangladesh’s livelihoods and nature. WSUP Bangladesh is one of the change-making organisations aiming at overcoming issues surrounding the water and sanitation sector, a mission also embraced by other national and international agencies working with the country’s authorities. We hope and work for a cleaner urban environment, in Chattogram and the whole of Bangladesh, where people can enjoy healthier and safer lives.

Top image: Flooding in Chattogram. Credit: Chattogram City Corporation

✇End Water Poverty

June 2022 newsletter

By: editor
June 2022 newsletter editor 1 July 2022 - 09:00
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