It is now clear that there is need for rigorous capacity building initiatives on water and governance directed at not only the citizenry but every stakeholder in the water and sanitation sector. This will address the recurring challenges that the country has been unable to eradicate especially when finding ways establish strong and effective water policies that will led to access and effective management of water resources and services.
In February 2015 Maji na Ufanisi conducted a baseline survey in the Coast region specifically in Mombasa and Taita Taveta Counties. The intention of the Survey was to pinpoint the major challenges facing the two counties in relation to water access and governance. The Baseline Survey undertaken in Taita Taveta for instance, sought to go beyond the more general outlook of WASH and consider a range of other key issues around water, sanitation and hygiene in order to provide a comprehensive picture of the situation. In view of this, the study was designed around seven main themes, namely domestic water, sanitation, solid waste, health, livelihoods, conflict and insecurity and community participation and governance.
Participants during the base-line survey report analysis session in Taita Taveta
Based on these findings, Maji na Ufanisi took the initiative of hosting a water and governance forum coupled with a media training workshop that had the purpose of sharing the current water, sanitation and governance situation in Taita Taveta and at the same time, through a media training session, jointly partner with the media fraternity in addressing these findings.
The event took place on 18th of August 2015 in Voi, Town with stakeholders from the County Government of Taita Taveta, representatives from the Community, the local media and other local CSOs in the region invited to the forum. During the workshop, a lot of the information from the findings was shared with the participants raising concerns on some of the prevailing challenges particularly in regards to livelihoods and citizen participation in the water budgetary process.
There was need to conduct more elaborate stakeholder forums that would promote the significance of citizens to play an active role in water and sanitation governance. Issues related to access to water as a natural resource also featured with most of the participants highlighting the importance of resolving some of the conflicts that Taita Taveta County finds itself in with other counties like Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties especially in regards to right of access to ‘Mzima Springs’, a water resource.
The workshop also identified the media as relevant stakeholders who needed support in helping journalists have a clearer understanding of the WASH challenges, approaches undertaken and gaps that need to be addressed to the public so as to find amicable solutions to WASH challenges in the county.
The media training session focused on the significance of effective publicity and partnership programmes with the local and national media that the above concerns should be addressed through public debates and social interactions. Emphasis was also laid on the significant for journalists to be reminded of their role in the democratic process which includes, informing, enlighten and framing relevant issues of the day.
For more information on the Baseline Survey, kindly download it using the following link below: