Final Report – Kenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnerships for Integtated Development Program (RAPID) Oct 15′ – May 21′

Basic Information

Program NameKenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development (Kenya RAPID)
Program Coordinated byMillennium Water Alliance (MWA)
Program Base budget$30 Million
Number          of           Target beneficiaries450,000
Program start date21st August 2015
Program end date31st May 2021
Reporting period1st October 2020 – 31st  May 2021
Report submission date1st July 2021
Report submission done byLaura Brunson

Strategic Review and Outlook 

Main results achieved and implementation performance of the program

During this reporting period, the program recorded considerable progress towards increasing access to water and sanitation services for people as well as water for livestock and contributed towards rebuilding a healthy rangeland management ecosystem across the five program counties of Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir. The key results attained are summarized below: 

  • The program continued to support strengthening of county governance and legal frameworks by contributing to enhancement of an enabling environment for increasing access to water, agriculture and livestock production services for increased resilience through policy and regulatory reforms. Water and sanitation laws have been enacted in Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo and Turkana counties and their implementation is progressing well. The Water Acts have resulted in the establishment of new institutions such as a rural water corporation in Garissa (GARUWASCO), Water Sector Fund in Isiolo, Turkana and Marsabit counties as well as restructuring of urban water service providers, intended to improve efficiency in water and sanitation service delivery for communities through improved governance- structured management systems (financial, technical and commercial). The logistics of final validation of livestock/rangelands and agriculture sector policies and bills in Marsabit, Isiolo and Turkana counties and enactment of the Isiolo County Climate Change Act were also supported by the program. These policies and legislations are contributing to enhancement of livestock production, expanding availability of water for domestic and productive uses and promoting sustainable rangeland management through improved planning and increased resource allocation in the water and livestock sectors.
  • The facilitative approach adopted by the program has proven to be a highly successful mechanism in supporting counties to develop and deliver on their County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs). This approach has led to increased cost-effectiveness through more integrated planning and budgeting in the implementation of activities. The approach has also enhanced accountability of resource use, greater reach of more beneficiaries, and has contributed to program ownership by the county, hence building sustainability.
  • Through the County Capacity Building Fund, the program contributed to improvement of operational capacities of the county departments of water, public health, agriculture and livestock through tailor made technical training. The training topics included: human resources management, third party open defecation free (ODF) certification and data management, livestock production and rangeland management, water sector governance and leadership, value addition for livestock and livestock products, holistic rangeland management, solar T1 & T2 levels and senior level management. County staff have been equipped with new skills that have resulted in improved efficiency and effectiveness in delivery of services and deepening of impact by increasing water and sanitation access in the target counties. The counties are also motivated to identify and invest in human resources development and improved human capacity to help actualize the devolution agenda as triggered by the program.
  • The program continued to work with private sector partners to develop and deepen market driven water support services and models such as the prepaid water metering (bulk and water kiosk), repair and maintenance, private operator models, sanitation, and water desalination solutions. These water technology innovations hold promise within the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) by improving water service delivery.  SweetSense sensors and the prepaid water ATMs continue to gain traction within communities with emerging commitment from county governments to invest in these technologies. The sensors have made it possible for borehole functionality to be tracked remotely, saving considerable time and resources for monitoring. Improved access to functionality data has reduced borehole downtime as most repairs are promptly undertaken. For example, over 43 boreholes in Marsabit, Turkana, Isiolo and Wajir were repaired promptly by the respective County Rapid Response Teams based on information from the Sweetsense dashboard. The ATMs distribute set amounts of water based on a prepaid token system, help reduce non-revenue water, stem corruption at the water points, and create a more reliable and predictable income stream for the community water point. Arising from this, Marsabit County has made it a requirement that all new water kiosks should have the ATM component. Turkana county is in the process of buying more ATMs through cost sharing with LOWASCO, the local utility, and other NGOs. 
  • Through support from SweetSense, water point data has continued to be displayed on the dashboard from all 128 instrumented boreholes. The sensors allow borehole functionality and water abstraction volumes to be tracked from anywhere, including county headquarters, saving considerable time and resources that were previously required to conduct monitoring by physical visits. Sensor data transmits via satellite to an IBM-developed cloud-based dashboard (e-Maji Manager). The data are used to guide decision making on water resources management and budget allocation for repair and maintenance of boreholes. a

The water desalination technology piloted in Wajir through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) is providing increased access to large volumes of safe drinking water for households. The need for the solar desalination system was informed by the high levels of saline and brackish water which characterize Wajir Town’s underground water resources. The desalination facility started operations in February 2020 and has so far collected cumulative revenue of $58,000 from the sale of purified water. The plant has made water more affordable at a retail price of KES 5 compared to KES 50 per jerry can; the facility has continued to reduce the amount of money allocated for water trucking by the county government as there is now more safe and affordable drinking water available at a central local point. The project is a significant source of income for WAJWASCO, some of which is utilized to improve operational day-to-day management at the utility. Additionally, the utility has ring-fenced some of the funds from the plant for future development of water services infrastructure to increase access for the underserved within its authority. The PPP structure provides for Boreal Light to recoup their initial capital expenditure and make some profit.

  • Kenya RAPID partnered with County Departments of Health in rolling out Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), resulting in certification of 166 villages (out of 130 villages targeted) as Open Defecation Free (ODF). CLTS interventions have been integrated with point of use (POU) water treatment product distribution and hygiene education to respond to an upsurge of water borne diseases during the period of heavy rains occasioned by flooding across the five counties. The impact of these integrated interventions at the community level has contributed to reduced diarrhea prevalence among children under five, according to a report from Turkana. 
  • Due to improved access to water for productive uses coupled with social behavior change interventions and nutrition education and extension support, communities living in the five counties have continued to engage in small-scale irrigated crop production and rearing of small stocks such as poultry. These serve both as a source of food and a means of diversifying their sources of income and livelihoods. As result, beneficiary households are continuing to report increased consumption of rich and diverse diets from 2.3 and 2.6 meals per day for adults and children (at baseline) to 3 and 3.5 meals per day for adults and children, respectively. These households are now consuming at least one meal per day having vegetables, beans or greens or meat, and children are drinking milk at least once a day. The communities continue to produce diverse foods for both household consumption and sale of surplus in local markets.  Agri nutrition activities have also led to the empowerment of women through increased ownership and decision-making power on important agricultural resources such as land and farm produce. Women are using income from the sale of agricultural produce to construct new semi-permanent houses and purchase productive assets such as goats and cows. Further, multiple uses of water (MUS) is being prioritized and integrated in county planning through Ward Development Plans to enhance food production, availability, and utilization in the region.

The Program continued to support pastoral communities to implement dry and wet season grazing plans, which have come in handy to maintain the longevity of pastures; ensuring livestock are well fed throughout the year helps to increase and sustain livestock productivity. Grazing plants have also continued to be helpful as forward planning tools that reduce and mitigate conflicts related to scarce rangeland resources. Through reseeding and monitoring of grazing plans, local communities in Turkana and Isiolo have reported adequate availability of pasture and water for livestock. Increased rains towards the end of 2020 and early 2021 further improved forage growth and water access. To ensure proper utilization of rangeland resources and ensure that conflict prevention and mitigation measures are in place, conflict and pasture management forums continued to be held with traditional elders and rangeland management committees (RMCs) across the five program counties.

  • Through Direct County Transfer (DCT) of funds to support prioritized county activities, the program supported the improvement of county’s operational capacities in WASH and livestock sectors through multiple processes of systems strengthening, improving service delivery and increasing adoption and acceleration of proven innovations and technologies. Commendable results were reported across the four counties supported by the funds.

Main steering implications for the next period of interventions

  • With the passage and enactment of the Water and Sewerage Acts in the four counties of Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit and Turkana, the county governments have continued to prioritize implementation of the new Acts, including setting up new institutions such as County Water Trust Funds in Turkana, Isiolo and Marsabit and the Garissa Rural Water Services Corporation (GARUWASCO). The program continued to fast track finalization and passage of the Wajir water bill into a Water Act, which was the only one pending. 
  • Capacity for front-line service delivery is central in each county’s performance management. Yet, across the program counties, capacity building is still treated as an afterthought that is only considered after other resource allocations to priority areas take place. Few sector strategies or plans systematically address capacity development as a strategic objective. There is a need to increase efforts through learning, policy guidance and training to bring capacity development upfront, even where challenges remain. As an example, in Turkana County, departments have developed a systematic approach to capacity building with regular needs assessments. Additionally, the county monitors training data, develops capacity building plans at departmental levels, and dedicates resources to implement capacity building plans.
  • Learning events were held for each of the five program counties and were then concluded with a national event that brought together key stakeholder representatives from beneficiary communities, implementing partners, county government staff, national government, and other actors in the ASALs. Stakeholders brought forth lessons on resilience programming in the ASALs that will influence the design of future programs for sustainability.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, MWA and partners have committed to continue protecting the health and safety of their staff, while providing appropriate oversight of the program and ensuring the accountable and effective use of donor resources in meeting the program objectives. The government measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 (e.g., movement restrictions and prohibitions of assembly beyond a certain number of people) adversely affected program implementation, especially conducting of trainings and meetings. In response to these challenges, the program devised innovative ways of ensuring work continued through remote monitoring, conducting virtual meetings with partners and government staff, and utilizing county staff for implementation of activities.

  • Implementation of close out plans for the program was concluded during the period. The plans provided detailed activities that were undertaken to scale down and conclude operations under the agreement awards with the donors. The implementation of close out plans was adversely hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic which necessitated negotiations with the donors for a six-month costed extension and a further three-month no-cost extension to provide for enough time to complete all pending activities. MWA and partners are currently designing a new five-year program which builds on the learnings and progress of Kenya RAPID and will be presented to SDC for their funding consideration. Part of the design involves conducting a gender assessment which will ensure that a more gender transformative approach is embedded in the new program. 
  • The purpose of the Direct County Transfers is to improve the county operational capacity in the WASH, livestock, and natural resource management sectors through multiple processes of systems strengthening, improving service delivery, and increasing adoption and acceleration of proven innovations and technologies. Through this initiative, Kenya RAPID continued to support institutionalization and strengthening of GARUWASCO in Garissa and County Water Sector Funds in Marsabit, Isiolo and Turkana. The County Water Sector Funds continues to provide the institutional framework for mobilization of county financial resources for the water sector. 
  • As communities continue grappling with the effects of COVID 19 pandemic, it is evident that one of the most appropriate solutions to contain its spread and prevalence is to embrace effective WASH practices. It is therefore paramount that efforts and resources need be directed towards installing WASH systems for households and public institutions such as schools, hospitals, bus stations and markets. Particularly these institutions are epicenters for disease transmission if the WASH systems and practices are not put in place.