Addressing urban WASH issues in Informal Urban Settlements


Yesterday I visited an Informal Urban Settlement in Mombasa, in an area called Likoni. Informal Urban Settlements, or slums, are areas characterised by poor housing and squalor, where the population lack official land tenure rights. Globally, more than 1 billion people live in slums, a figure that is rising all the time as people move to cities in search of employment.  Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) issues are typically very challenging, as people lack access to clean water, and waste disposal (either of human excrement or household rubbish) is haphazard and unregulated.

Yesterday I visited Khasim, (more…)

Are Water User Associations working?


I recently had a meeting with a local NGO here in Coast Province called Community Link International. They are a small and embryonic team, primarily made up of Margaret and Musyoka, with a couple of part time field staff. They’ve been registered as an NGO for about a year, but can collectively draw upon a couple of lifetime’s experience within development.

After graduating with a Sociology degree, Margaret spent time working for Amref in Lodwar, UNICEF in Nairobi and the Aga Khan Foundation in Mombasa, as her career progressed over the last 20 years. Musyoka chose a different path, spending 15 years in government before joining Margaret a few years ago at Aga Khan on a USAID funded WASH program. Together they have a lot to say –  about what they’ve learnt over the past 20 years, and about where they think the focus should be in future WASH policy.

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World Water Day – a time for reflection


 

Today is World Water Day (http://www.worldwaterday.org/), the annual global day of events that grew out of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The focus changes every year, with the theme this year  titled ‘Water for Cities’. The last 20 years has seen a massive shift in population trends, to the extent that in 2008 the rural / urban population split was 50 / 50 for the first time. Movement to urban centres in search of employment and with high ideals (more…)

What is this ‘sustainability’ thing, anyway?


 

Ever wondered what sustainability means? People use it a lot in our line of work, usually when thinking about the IMPACT development work has. I thought I’d try and go for a definition today as I sit here thinking about how to get more of it! Interested? Have a read of this and tell me what you think!  (more…)