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.


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.

Select Results

  • Supported delivery of the mWater Data and Information Management System. From analyzed data available on the mWater platform, users can locate functional water points and identify those that need improvement from their computers. This provides beneficial information for planning and resource allocation within Taita Taveta County government, a win for efficiency and data-driven decision-making.
  • Worked with the Makueni County government to place 36 rural water supply schemes in the county under the newly created Makueni Rural Water Services Board. This is a step towards a greater level of professionalization and improving service delivery, providing more oversight by the county government as a service authority, and will help ensure appropriate accountability mechanisms that guarantee rural water services to meet acceptable performance standards.
  • Partnered with the Turkana County Department of Agriculture to successfully complete surveys and development of preliminary technical designs and bills of quantities for multiple irrigation schemes and potential projects that will serve nearly 500 farmers, including the Akigeno women group which requires a solarized pumping system and piping to solve the current high costs of pumping water directly from the Turkwel river.
  • Supported, with other USAID projects, the Ministry of Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation and the Council of Governors to sign the National Water Sector Inter-Governmental Coordination Framework that will serve as a platform to bring together key players in the water sector to implement a shared vision for collaboration and sector improvement.
  • Installed 2,000 seedlings across Sagalla, Mwajika, and Goe forests to address deforestation and promote sustainable water management.


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