World Bank pledges $11.8 Million for water and sanitation

The World Bank, acting as administrator for the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA), has signed a grant agreement with the Republic of Kenya approving funding of US$11.8 million to help expand access to water and sanitation in low-income urban areas. This innovative, coordinated program is projected to reach 30,000 low-income urban households – or 150,000 residents – and builds on lessons from a Kenya community-managed water pilot program which extended access to water to 190,000 beneficiaries.

“This is a significant step toward bringing more water and sanitation services to the poor, and demonstrates the Kenyan government’s confidence in the output-based approach, using resources from the public and private sectors,” said Diariétou Gaye, World Bank Country Director for Kenya.


The project is facilitated with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and will be managed by the Water Services Trust Fund of Kenya (WSTF). It will help water service providers access loan finance from commercial banks to invest in water and sanitation subprojects, with subsidies covering up to 60 percent of the cost of providing services to low-income households.

Output-based aid is an innovative approach to development financing, where payment is linked to performance. Under the Kenya agreement, water service providers will not receive the subsidy until water and sanitation services are functional and reach the target group.  “This project will help water service providers access commercial credit to expand water and sanitation services to poor urban areas, reducing the connection fee and increasing access for poor urban households,” explained GPOBA Manager CarmenNonay.

Kenya Vision 2030, the government’s development program, includes universal access to water and sanitation as one of its goals by the year 2030. Rapid population growth and accelerating urbanization present growing challenges for developing countries in these sectors, where the cost of connecting to water and sanitation services is prohibitive for the poor. As previous grant agreements for water and sanitation have centered on the Nairobi areas, the capital city is not included under the terms of this project.

Ismail Fahmy Shaiye, CEO of the Water Services Trust Fund, stated: “We look forward to working with the World Bank and the Government of Sweden as development partners in this innovative financing scheme to bridge the public funding gap. Together and within the framework of devolved structures in our counties we can work toward improving the lives of underserved communities and making Kenya Vision 2030 a reality.”

About One Safe Drop

When you look into a glass of water or water in a sealed bottle, it is not easy to tell whether the water is safe or not and most of our citizens are not aware of the issues of water safety and the chemistry of water. It is in view of this that One Safe Drop is determined to engage the Kenyans in understanding the chemistry of water and how they can access clean and safe water.

The One Safe Drop project seeks to start the dialogue on water issues in Kenya. In these discussions, we wish to engage the communities, county and national governments on water safety issues.

This is because we have variants in terms of water quality. In Rift Valley, for example, we have high floride levels and high salinity at the Coastal Kenya. Therefore, as a consumer, we feel that you need to start engaging and understanding this chemistry.

One Safe Drop, in partnership with is, thus, primarily modeling and piloting this in three locations in Kenya-i.e Narok, Machakos and Makueni, with a potential of scaling it up to all the 47 counties. We picked on these three first because of the acute demand of safe water and the knowledge of water quality issues. These are areas that we already know water is not safe and therefore we want to demonstrate from there.

The initiative will engage the peri-urban and ruralfolk in issues of water safety. We will also roll out a lot of awareness.

On site, we are going to expose the technology of water treatment to the communities. We want the communities to have a visual understanding of how these things work; whether it reverse Osmosis, which the most is advanced system of technology of water treatment to the filtration using carbon filters. We hope to be able to ensure that communities are aware of and are using safe water.
That will reduce the issues of water treatment at home such as boiling, which is not 100 per cent sure. We will also brand our water using the One Safe Drop transparent jerricans which the community members can use.

The community will be bringing back the jerrican for exchange and sanitation at the One Safe Drop water shop.

We hope that beyond the technology, the distribution network will create almost 10 permanent jobs for our young people. These young people will be trained on safe and hygienic delivery to the consumers, brand them with uniform, provide them with branded tuktuks. They will be the link between the source and the consumers.

We are looking at very marginal increase in water prices. The treated water is likely to increase by 10 to 20 percent in price. That is still manageable. For instance, a 20-litre jerrican of treated water will not trade beyond Sh50 but the raw water will sell at Sh10 and Sh20.

Within the water shop, we will have outlets for green and water related products such as water filters, solar products and so on.

The water shop will also be a retail outlet for essential medicine. We are looking at collaborating with pharmacists on this cause. We also will partner with a local bank to ensure agency banking at every water shop. It will be like a water mall.

We have already started the project in Narok and Matuu and hope to launch it by May this year. Our starting point will be to train the vendors then the community.

Kamau Kuria