The Water Project is thrilled to be partnering once again with Pamoja Trust for the 2014 grant year for the Mashimoni Water and Sanitation Project, which is located in the Mathare Informal Settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. Mathare is one of the biggest informal settlements (also known as slums) in Kenya.
Background Information to the Project
The informal settlements residents of Nairobi have over the years not had formal connection to water and sanitation as these areas were considered by state agencies to be illegally settled and therefore could not be served.
Over the years more people have settled in the informal settlements and especially people who had been displaced during the 2008 post election violence. The living conditions have therefore deteriorated and these settlements are now characterized with lack of basic services and infrastructural facilities, poor housing, overcrowding and have become breeding areas for crime and disease.
Pamoja Trust has had a long relationship with the residents of Mashimoni settlement and helped them to develop a community action plan. The key priorities in this action plan were:
- Water and sanitation
- Security of tenure
- Livelihoods enhancement
In 2013 a trunk water line was connected in the Mathare settlements and water became available about 1 kilometer from the Mashimoni settlement. Five water kiosks were constructed and have been serving about 1500 households. Due to the long queues and high cost of water (Kshs. 5 for 20 liters) at the water kiosks, a significant number of households access water from other informal vendors whose prices vary and water quality is uncertain.
Pamoja Trust with support from The Water Project will provide a legally piped water network to at least 50 plots using a micro-loan model to 3 of the 5 clusters in the Mashimoni Settlement. (The laying a sewer line in the settlement under a partnership similar to what is being used to implement this project is also being conducted.) Sanitation facilities will also be provided, such as flush toilets in homes. The organization of a youth group, called Mwamko wa Vijana (Awakening of the Youth) will also be managed to allow youth to gain income through trash collection and recycling while simultaneously improving their immediate environment and will also work in conjunction with the City Council of Nairobi (CCN). There will also be various trainings and meetings conducted to train community members to become Community Health Workers as well as trainings to ensure community savings groups are running smoothly and workshops will be conducted to allow for open communication between landowners, government entities and informal settlement residents.
While The Water Project has determined that this project is not viable due to conflicts in key stakeholders, there was nonetheless much accomplished during the course of The Water Project’s involvement in this project to bring piped and metered water to the people in Mashimoni, within the Mathare urban settlement, Nairobi, Kenya. Below are a few highlights:
Piped Water to Neighborhoods
- After successful completion of water reticulation designs, financing, and selecting the contractor, the laying of 300 meters of 50-millimeter water pipe was completed for two-targeted clusters in Mashimoni (clusters A and B). Another 80m was laid as the individual water meters were readied to be installed and connected.
- The Water and Sanitation committee provided the necessary support for negotiating leeways and selection of both skilled and unskilled labor for laying down the piped system.
- After much deliberation and consideration between stakeholders in late 2014-early 2015, the agreement to use individual post-paid meters for connections was reached with Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC). The prepaid meters were the point of contention, since water is more expensive when delivered through a prepaid system.
- 50 'yards' (or pods, communities of 8-10 houses per pod) expressed interest in acquiring formal water connections; 20 applied to the water company for connection; 15 'yards' were initially provided with water meters and connected to the new waterline. While water was running, they awaited formalization of these connections, which is through payment of fees to the NCWSC surveyor to include a connection into their grid, and fees for official issuance of meters.
- The 15 connected meters continued to receive water. However, after an unspecified amount of time, the NCWSC declared that the meters needed to be reinstalled because they were initially installed by laymen in the community and not staff of NCSWC, and therefore could not be formalized/approved connections. Thus, the meters were disconnected.
- Changes were made to senior staff in charge of the urban settlement services at NCWSC; and as a result prior agreements and terms of this project were not honored. New meter connections were halted. Community members organized to plan protests and Pamoja continues to work towards resolution with NCWSC. [Note: This type of work requires a large amount of advocacy and negotiation at the government and private sector level, which in turn requires a large amount of time. The lack of consensus between these significant stakeholders is one of the reasons The Water Project views this project as non-viable at this time.]
Training of youth workers in solid waste management
The formation of waste management networks: Various groups and youth groups from different networks and different informal settlements were brought together from Kisumu and Nairobi for an informational exchange to share best practices. The objectives of the visits were successful, and as follows:
- To bring together both financial and human resources towards turning waste management into a business enterprise.
- Develop strategies to improve waste management ventures i.e Building links with other relevant stakeholders.
- Formation of a unified group to deal specifically with waste management.
- Formation of a cooperative, which is currently drafting their by-laws.
- The cooperative (a legal entity) will be the platform by which all networks will engage in business transactions.
- Mapping out of youth groups with the aim of identifying more networks engaging in waste management.
General background during the reporting period
Mashimoni Village in Mathare has been targeted for three years for comprehensive WATSAN services provision. This was done through an MOU between Pamoja Trust and Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC). This was to be done through reticulation of water from the main city line to the settlement, and extension of a sewer line to benefit three clusters. About 5000 households were targeted to benefit from this project.
Context of the Project
Water provision in Mashimoni and the neighboring Mathare settlements has over the years been provided by small private water suppliers, including: private kiosk operators, household resellers, door-to-door vendors, and private piped networks illegally connected to the formal city water supply. The price of water provided by these suppliers is usually much higher than that of the main water utility (for 20 litres - 5 shillings during normal supply times and during shortages- 10 shillings versus the NCWSC official price of 2 shillings at official water kiosk). Average monthly income for households in Mathare is Kshs. 4000. (Equivalent of $40 USD per month) On average a household will use sixty litres of water per day. (15 cents per day)
In 2008 the NCWSC established a department to serve low-income areas, especially slum communities; an attempt to internalize and institutionalize water and sanitation services delivery to the residents of informal settlements. Staff were dedicated to serving slum areas and 1% of the company’s revenue pledged for reinvestment in the informal settlements.
However, a coherent approach for joint planning and execution of water and sanitation interventions does not exist, and the various actors remain uncoordinated. Furthermore, the department at NCWSC that deals specifically with the informal settlements, faced many capacity challenges due to minimal budgets. And unfortunately, water service provided by alternative service providers results in community members paying higher prices for water of questionable quality.
A real commitment by the NCWSC to provide services has been lacking, and provision of services has been dependent only on the goodwill of the head of department. It is suspected that the NCWSC may only have established this department in order to attract donor aid. The company still advances the theory that the poor are a difficult and temporary segment of consumers who are not willing to pay for services. At Pamoja, we know this to be inaccurate, as the people who signed up for legally connected water services is testament to a willingness to pay.
An MOU between Pamoja and NCWSC seems to only be respected by the individuals that participated in its signing. With a constant changing of leadership in the NCWSC, the MOU is currently not being respected. The lack of clear partnership arrangements has created a situation where Pamoja is viewed as a competitor rather than a partner, and it finds itself against various obstacles when dealing with NCWSC.
Progress to Date
1. 380 meters of water line was laid covering two targeted clusters A&B.
2. 50 yards (communities of 8-10 houses) expressed interest in acquiring formal water connections; 20 applied to the water company for connection; 15 yards were initially provided with water meters and connected to the new waterline as they awaited formalization of these connections, which is through payment of 2500 for a NCWSC surveyor to include a connection into their grid and 2500 for official issuance of meters.
3. A staff change occurred at the NCWSC, a new engineer was put in charge of the informal services department, which was implementing the project with Pamoja. The project had previously sort for local plumbers to fix the meters, this was changed, and a demand made for all water meters to be fixed and tested by a NCWSC staff. 15 meters earlier fixed were then removed in order to be fixed at the supervision of the NCWSC, only 5 were returned, as fixtures needed were not available from the water company.
4. NCWSC allocated a staff to work with the project; this staff was after moved before the fixtures could be availed and the 10 pending connections done.
5. 20 application forms were filled and submitted to the NCWSC for the purpose of formalizing connection (formalizing of previously illegal connections); 18 were approved and a cheque was done by Muungano Investment Company, the group managing the loan fund on behalf of PT. The NCWSC refused to accept the cheque as the forms that had been submitted could not be traced. The file for the project could also not be located; this was blamed on poor handing over processes by the water company staff.
6. A water-automated machine was installed in Mashimoni, a project proposed by the Governor of Nairobi and launched. A second machine was also installed three months later.
7. NCWSC expressed reluctance to continue with the project (individual plot connections), stating that the company’s policy on providing water in Mashimoni had changed and that they preferred to do it through the automated machines. This communication was done verbally and a written one has not been provided.
8. Households in cluster A & B of Mashimoni where the newly installed waterline passes have been using the water at the 5 water points installed and have also been using the lines joints to access water. The two clusters have an estimated population of 1800 people.
9. Pamoja Trust appealed this decision and requested audience with the NCWSC Director of Technical Operations and the Engineer in charge of water provision to informal settlements. The Water Company gave a date for the meeting but failed to turn up.
10. During the 2nd half of September 2015, NCWSC disconnected water to several other informal settlements in the area, such as Mathare and Huruma villages, citing theft of water through illegal tapping.
11. The Mathare WATSAN committees met with PT and are currently organizing a public demonstration to NCWSC and to the office of the Governor of Nairobi.