The Strathmore University Water Governance and Innovation Hub is the first cocreation of its kind in the Kenyan Water Sector as a vehicle for enhancing the gains already made towards universal access to water and sanitation services. The Hub was established through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between AWWL and SBS on 12th June 2021. The aim of the Hub is to transform Water Sector Governance and Innovation in Kenya, Africa and beyond.
Core values of the Hub are:
-Independence: It will provide objectivity to water governance since it is located at a private university and is not part of the public sector system.
-Multi-disciplinary research: The complexity of problems in water governance requires insights from different fields including economics, political science, sociology, anthropology and others.
-Research with a regional and global outlook: Increased economic integration and globalization suggests that water governance research needs to have a regional and global outlook to be effective.
-Local, regional and global research collaboration: Research collaboration with top scholars internationally will help the Hub achieve research of considerable academic rigor with global impact.
-The recruitment of the top scholars both regionally and globally. The Hub realizes that its key resource to deliver on its core values of providing world class water research and policy advice will depend on its ability to attract top scholars from different disciplines. These scholars will be either resident or non-resident fellows.
-Comparative water governance research: This will bring out similarities and differences in global public policy that will be highly relevant for public policy formulation both nationally and in the region.
To provide formidable multi-disciplinary continuous professional development for water professionals.
To promote and ensure continuous enhancement of water governance practices in the water sector through research, technology, innovation and training and inculcating an analytical data-driven water governance culture across Africa.
The objectives include:
- Designing and delivering inter-disciplinary programmes to build capacities and promote water education through short courses and postgraduate studies. The course content will focus on specializing in fields such as finance, ethics, water legislation and policy.
- Collaborate with governmental and non-governmental experts and agencies from a wide range of professional sectors and disciplines in water governance, technology, and innovation.
- Promote innovation and knowledge generation on water governance, technology, and innovation through research, policy dialogues, symposia, workshops, and seminars. Publishing a scientific water governance journal.
- Convene dialogues with communities to lobby for and promote relevant policies for the provision of safe water, sanitation, and waste management in a sustainable way in accordance with SDG 6. Holding regular business and governance roundtables and conferences.
- Establishing a research and data centre as resource to facilitate a data-driven water governance culture in Kenya and the East African region.
- Establishing a repository for information for water professionals in East Africa and beyond.
The objectives of the Hub are aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 and 6 which seek to make basic water and sanitation available to all by 2030 and gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment respectively. This is because women and girls – particularly those living below the poverty line – are disproportionately affected by the lack of water and sanitation services.
Water governance is about making decisions on what, who, when, how, how much, how many times etc people access water. Decisions depend on who makes them and through what lens. The challenge in water governance is not only to identify the problems, but to formulate new solutions in the form of:
- What new behaviors should we adopt?
- What are the supporting values to operationalize those new behaviors ?
Decisions are motivated by a complex dynamic of largely unexamined values and assumptions implicitly attached to those decisions.
- Recognize, identify, and articulate the values inherent in water decisions.
- Reframe the technical, legal, or economic problematics of water decisions to reveal the underlying values.
- Engage in constructive dialogue with stakeholders and decision makers to effect strategic change.
The unique value proposition is to create awareness of the role of values in shaping water governance because the water crisis is only partly a crisis about water; perhaps it is even more fundamentally a crisis of values. Thus, the journey to self-reliance is only possible if grounded on personal and organizational integrity.
The Hub will seek to enter partnerships with corporates, county governments, relevant government agencies and other international agencies that aim to play a part in the development and growth of the water sector. Other partnerships will also be sought with the following:
- Ministry of Water and Sanitation and Irrigation
- Water Works Development Agencies (WWDAs)
- Water Service Providers (WSPs)
- IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands
- Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB)
- Water Resources Association (WRA)
- Water Sector Trust Fund (WSTF)
- Women in Water and Sanitation (WIWAS)
- Development partners
- Local communities
The Hub will endeavour to ensure that water professionals in Africa and beyond have the competencies to govern water resources and services with efficiency and integrity. This is significant towards its vision of transforming the water sector in Africa.
At the core of governance is the need for well-trained and critically minded water professionals who are likely to influence the processes of democracy and development in their societies. This effort derives from a conviction that governance standards are essential for fostering sustainable development through the proper management of water services and resources.
The Water Hub is uniquely placed due to ethos and reputation of Strathmore University for excellence and trail blazing in the professional development of water professionals and research on water governance in Africa.
The water governance and innovation Hub conducts extensive research in water governance. The research outputs of the Hub serve as the anchor for training programmes offered at the Hub.
Findings from the research work in the Hub will easily be published in an envisaged refereed scientific journal. The periodicity of the journal will be decided by an editorial board, which will be formed once the Hub has been set up and all required administrative structures established.
To provide a repository of large data banks of water governance and services statistics, the Hub shall set up a data centre, which will sit in a specialised information centre, within Strathmore University. The data centre will contain specialised data in water financing, performance of the different WSPs and WWDAs, e-journals and books on water governance. The Hub will also leverage on existing data available locally or internationally for use by its students and faculty. Sources for this data would be the World Bank, IMF, UNCTAD, AfDB, OECD and other institutions.
- Stakeholder Engagements and Partnerships
Achieving sustainable long-term change in Kenya and in Africa requires a significant strengthening of policy formulation and implementation process. This involves directly influencing policy makers, regulators and companies in water services. As a result, the Hub will utilise the resources of the social media, social networks and dialogue sessions to advocate for the improvement of the business engagement with society. Over the years the Hub will be engaged in collaborative partnership with some of Kenya’s leading organisations in mainstreaming the water sustainability agenda in Kenya, Africa and beyond.
- Business and water governance roundtables and conferences
The business and water governance roundtables and conferences are envisioned to bring together various water governance stakeholders to discuss issues such as integrity in the water governance, innovations in water services, universal access to water services, hydraulic infrastructures etc
The roundtable meetings will critically examine how corporate social responsibility/sustainability initiatives can more effectively support youth empowerment and employment on the continent. The forum will offer unique opportunities for water professionals in Kenya and Africa to brainstorm and share their experiences.
To provide continuous improvement, training programmes will be consistently evaluated and refined to ensure they remain relevant and of immense use to various participants. As such, the hub will offer a series of capacity building programmes for public officials, private providers of water services and embedded executive education in water sustainability courses.
Broadly, the Hub will offer Short and Professional Course Modules. Both course modules will be triple stranded programmes that will provide the essential elements within the field namely;
- Leading self- transitioning from the current role to next and across all facets of life; personal ethics and integrity;
- Leading people- identifying and nurturing talent, organizational behaviour and culture;
- Leading organizations- managing change, financial management, management information systems, corporate governance, water organization strategies, institutional frameworks.
1. Women in water leadership programmes
These programmes are 2 pronged:
(i). Women in water business: The programmes that aim to improve the business skills, self-reliance and autonomy of women so as to generate employment opportunities for the marginalised, assetless rural women and urban poor with specifically for families living below the poverty line.
(ii). Leadership for Executive Women in Water to address the unique challenges women in leadership face within the context of the water sector. These will be designed to engage senior female leaders in a highly interactive environment to increase self-knowledge and awareness.
2. Corporate Governance Training Programme for water utilities
3. Managing water organizations executive programme
- Water resources management
- The competitiveness of water sector.
- The economics and management of the water sector and the environment.
- Sustainable performance strategies for water organizations.
- Gender issues in the water sector
- Climate change adaptation and mitigation
- Management of sanitation services.
- Financing the water sector
- Corporate governance in the water sector
- Sustainable water management
- Innovative water technologies
Ongoing and Proposed Projects
Women in Water Training Program
The impact of incentives on the WASH Sector’s ability to leverage financing.
- Dr. Irene Ngunjiri – Senior researcher and Hub lead
- Dr. George Njenga - Senior researcher and advisor to the hub
- Dr. Thomas Kibua - Senior researcher and advisor to the hub
- Prof. S. Wagura Ndiritu – Senior researcher
- Dr. Elizabeth Gachenga - Senior researcher and advisor to the hub
- Dr. Christin Berretta - Senior researcher and advisor to the hub
- Mr. William Mboya - Senior researcher and advisor to the hub
- Dr. Damaris Ochanda - Senior researcher and advisor to the hub