HargeisaPress — On June 18-30, 2017 the University of Loughborough, UK has organized capacity building courses for the water utilities in the region of East Africa. Water, Engineering & Development Center (WEDC) courses will be hosted by National Water & Sewarage Corporation in Kampala, Uganda (NWSC). Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) has participated by way of nominating two employees to acquire the modern management techniques for the utilities. The participants will learn management of water utilities in public and private modalities, including pre urban areas.
MoWR has nominated the following two officials: Hassan Ali, who is graduate from the University of East London is senior monitoring and evaluation advisor for the MoWR. Mr. Ali holds diploma in Social Work from University of Middlesex, UK and is one of the two participants. Suhuir Hussein is very ambitious young lady and holds Masters Degree in Conflict Resolution from Gulu University in Uganda. Suhuir is newly hired functional expert and will be an asset to the conflict resolution and gender issues of MoWR.
Due to water scarcity, pastoral community needs and competition for water and pasture, sometimes access to water can be source of conflict. For example, there were confirmed reports regarding conflicts arising over grazing land and water scarcity. In that case, Suhuir is an asset to the conflict resolution management for the water sector.
Furthermore, MoWR has facilitated utilities workshop on June 14th, 2017 and adopted the need to have more robust management in regional utilities’ management. 3 out of 4 utilities has mentioned the Non-Revenue Water is nearly 40-50 % of production, which is very high by any indicator.
The two officials has been financially sponsored by grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB). In June 2016, the AfDB Board of Directors approved the “Water Infrastructure Development for Resilience Program in Somaliland (WIDR)”. This was the first time the AfDB has offered a financial grant to the water sector in Somaliland. Care International is the implementing agency for the program, the MoWR is the custodian and beneficiary of the WIDR program.
Equally important, the African Water Facility through the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) grant, Somaliland government is planning to minimize the stressed water situation and plan to set up the long-term water resources development plan. NIRAS and We Consult are commissioned to undertake the technical studies and come up with bankable projects in the long term development of the water sector. NIRAS has completed phase one of the assignment and the second phase is due on September 2017.
WEDC annual Conference is one of the leading global WASH conferences and exhibitions where companies show case their products and develop solutions for water sustainability in the low, middle income & fragile countries. The upcoming conference in late July 2017, will bring together government leaders, policy makers, academics, entrepreneurs, and technology companies to rise to the challenges faced by WASH in middle, low income & fragile countries. Senior MoWR officials is expected to attend the conference.
Water is scarce resource in Somaliland especially in the urban & pre-urban areas. The rainy seasons are Gu (April-June) and Deyr (September-October). Somaliland is a drought prone country. The average precipitation is nearly 300mm. Due to El Nino and the pattern of the climate change has resulted three years of below average rain fails in Somaliland. MoWR and its partner Somalia Water & Land Information Management (SWALIM) are predicting, the country will experience near or below normal Deyr rain fail. The prediction will push many pastoral and agro-pastoral communities into the category of needing urgent humanitarian assistance, especially Water, Hygiene & Sanitation (WASH).
Finally, Somaliland has missed the target set for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of 2015 for water and sanitation, according to the latest KAP survey commissioned by UNICEF in late 2015. UNICEF and WHO JMP report of 2012 has indicated only 29% of Somalia’s population has access to improved source of water and 23% has access to sanitation facilities.
Therefore; WEDC’s distance learning courses such as the one hosted by NWSC may add to the solution for the water utilities management challenges.
Hopefully, Somaliland government & together with the private sector will meet and exceed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the future so that the population of Somaliland can enjoy drinking clean water.
Faisal Hashi, MBA, is an independent consultant who writes on issues around development, Water, Hygiene & Sanitation (WASH) and is the founder and managing director of Adam Financial Consulting Services and is currently based in Hargeisa, Somaliland. He has worked for National City Bank, Bank One, J.P, Morgan Chase & City of Toronto as financial analyst in the US & Canada.
He can be reached at: Hashi44@hotmail.com