Kenya—Sustainable Transformational and Accessible Water Interventions (STAWI)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2023-2028

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Kenya

Solutions: Governance Environment

More than two million people in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya are suffering acute impacts of drought after three consecutive poor rainy seasons. Beyond the immediate impact on the people, the economic and destabilizing effects of crop failures and livestock deaths led the government to declare a national emergency in 2021.

Investments in policy, planning, infrastructure, and coordination by the government, counties, and development partners—including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—have laid the foundation for greater resilience, yet the regions still lack the capacity, tools, and information necessary to adopt and adapt effective approaches to managing recurrent drought, resource competition, and watershed degradation. The Kenya Sustainable Transformational and Accessible Water Interventions (STAWI) project has been designed to play a critical role in building resilience and expanding economic opportunities through investments in water security in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands.

Working across nine target counties in northern and southeastern Kenya—Garissa, Isiolo, Kitui, Makueni, Marsabit, Samburu, Taita Taveta, Turkana, and Wajir—STAWI supports county governments to deliver basic drinking water services to 250,000 Kenyans and improve water service quality for 500,000 Kenyans, while also strengthening institutions and improving water resource management. Through technical assistance, a construction fund, and a local grants fund, STAWI takes an inclusive and integrated approach to address needs for drinking water, water for productive uses, and water resource management while building local capacity for collaboration, learning, and adaptation.

Our local partners include the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which has a long history of working to safeguard water availability in Kenya; FundiFix, a Kenyan-owned social enterprise providing rural water maintenance services; and Solstice, a women-owned U.S. small business that will expand the use of its mWater data management platform to help counties make data-informed decisions regarding water services and resources. STAWI collaborates with and complements the DAI-implemented USAID Western Kenya Water Project.

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Sample Activities

  • Work alongside county officials to build capacity in developing and implementing policies and plans, applying new rural water service delivery models, regulating service providers, overseeing construction works, financing water service delivery, and monitoring progress.
  • Support community-based organizations, such as water resource user associations, water user associations, water action groups, cooperatives, women’s groups, and youth groups, to advocate for water services, govern community resources, protect watersheds, and expand water services for productive uses.
  • Foster public-private partnerships for the delivery of water for domestic and productive use, while engaging local businesses to provide technical training, business development services, engineering design, and construction as well as to introduce innovations.
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