World Bank To Boost Kenya’s Water, Sanitation Services

view geneva;”>As part of the project appraisal document, sildenafil Kenya Water and Sanitation Services Improvement Project (WASSIP) is committed to partner with the Water and Sanitation Program in strengthening social accountability.

Kenya water-scarce areas face a challenge of access to sustainable water supply and sanitation services, and so the Water Sanitation Program adopted a strategy to assist the Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB) to put in place community Water Action Groups.

Water Action Groups are local committees made of community representatives that act as intermediaries between consumers and service providers

Reforms have been set to focus on addressing lack of transparency, poor delineation of responsibilities, and inconsistent enforcement of regulatory standards among water service providers.

Although the Kenyan government has embarked on these reforms, the lack of a strong presence at the community level has created substantial hurdles for the Ministry of Water and Irrigation’s Regulatory Board WASREB in protecting consumer interests and ensuring service delivery standards.


“You can have infrastructure investment in pipes and sewer treatment, however ensuring proper service delivery requires project mechanisms that listen and respond to consumer preferences,” said Rosemary Rop, World Bank Water and Sanitation Specialist.

The project has also introduced water and sanitation report cards which allow the Kenyans to rate the quality of the water services they are receiving and then the cards are later collected, analyzed, and used to identify service gaps.

However, since it was time consuming to work with these manual feedback mechanisms, as a result, Rop and her team (TTL, Daniel Kamiri, Dickson Marira, Anthony Nyaga, Halima Murunga, Michael Kane, Sheryl Silverman, Maximillian Hirn, Toni Sittoni and Jecinter Hezron) launched an ICT tool for feedback collection–“MajiVoice” (“Water Voice”).

This new tool enables beneficiaries to submit real-time feedback on service delivery using SMS, an online website, or unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) which also allows a two-way data exchange. Through these channels, citizens can report corruption, submit a complaint, request explanations for their bill, or provide suggestions.

“The automated system is complemented by a ticketing system. As soon as the consumer sends a complaint they get a reference number and can track the progress of the response to the complaint,” explains Rop.

Meanwhile this project has registered a huge success, in the first two years of the pilot, the community groups solicited a total of over 400 complaints and successfully resolved 97 percent of them, some which had been outstanding for over 3 years.

“The Water Utilities and Boards involved in the project have experienced unprecedented citizen attendance at public hearings and an unprecedented level of engagement from the community,” said Rop.

However, the true secret to success has been the ability of Water Action Groups to guide unresolved complaints up the chain-of-command. Rather than allowing complaints to languish at the local level, water utility official are now incentivized to fully respond to consumer concerns and investigate complaints.

According to Morris Mae, Mombasa Water Action Group member, “The water utility has accepted what we report to them is a genuine situation and now they have become very responsive.”

There are four partners essential to the beneficiary feedback project, the Water Services Regulatory Board (WSRB), the Water Services Boards (WSBs), the commercial water companies and Water Action Groups.

World Bank has provided funding and technical assistance to support development of essential infrastructure, legislative and regulatory institutions, and water sector management capacity.

“As part of the project strategy, a partnership was forged with a trust fund, the Water and Sanitation Program. The feedback mechanism began in the 3 board areas of the project, namely Coast, Athi and Lake Victoria North Water Services Boards. Based on the lessons learnt, the feedback mechanism is being scaled up in 2012 in all 8 Water Service Boards in the country,” said Rop.

With support from the Water and Sanitation Program and GIZ, the sector now has a regulatory guideline for citizen engagement that outlines how citizens will access information, participate in service delivery and seek redress on unresolved complaints through WAGs and MajiVoice.

“The telecommunications platform will make the project far less cumbersome,” said Rop. “Collecting feedback data manually would require hundreds and thousands of water group members which would not be sustainable.”

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