Washington DC – MWAProgram Officer Daniel Smith presented MWA’s growing experience in Multiple Use Water Services – or “MUS” at a U.S. Water Partnership workshop at US State Department March 22.
The workshop capped off the first anniversary celebration of the U.S. Water Partnership, a coalition of government agencies, academia, NGOs, and the private sector which MWA joined this year. Other panelists sharing the stage at the event included representatives of USAID, iDE, Winrock International, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, World Vision, and Conservation International.
Daniel emphasized that MWA has adopted MUS as an institutional strategy and gave specific examples from the field. MUS, defined by MWA member IRC as “a participatory, integrated and poverty-reduction focused approach …[that] takes people’s multiple water needs as a starting point for providing integrated services,” is a model that the U.S. Water Partnership promotes as combined water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and poverty reduction strategy.
“While MWA’s programs several years ago didn’t necessarily call MUS “MUS,” it was happening naturally, so we started supporting it in our programs at a small scale”, Daniel said, explaining how MWA started on its path towards applying MUS principles. “In our most recent programs in Kenya and Ethiopia, we have moved MUS up to the level of full-fledged strategy.”
A key piece is incorporating MUS into monitoring and evaluation systems.In December 2012, MWA’s completed its first monitoring round in Ethiopia to expressly include MUS indicators. Results showed that 20% of MWA-sponsored water schemes were actively using multiple use infrastructure, and about 140 cows were being watered per scheme, per day.
The next step in deepening MWA’s MUS strategy in Ethiopia is a joint initiative with The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation that launched on April 12 in Addis Ababa. Over the next two years, MWA and its members will leverage their previous efforts to realize the great potential for MUS for income generation among water users, and therefore as strategy to promote water system sustainability. In addition to improving basic infrastructure to increase available water quantity, this program will take the extra step to incubate small-scale entrepreneurs and link them with mircofinance institutions to encourage water-related income generation.
“Like all of our members, we [as a WASH NGO] are entering the age of stimulating the provision of sustainable water service rather than just executing projects,” Daniel noted. “We see Multiple Use Water Services as crucial to delivering in this new paradigm.”