Kenyan - Dutch partnership to support water-wise economic development

Posted on 18 February 2014    
Women fetch water from the Mara River in Narok Town; WWF-EARPO/Catherine Mgendi
New efforts to protect the spectacular wildebeest migration and the greater Mau Mara Serengeti ecosystem ultimately improving the economic development of people in the Mara River Basin are set to begin, when Kenyan and Dutch partners under the guidance of UNESCO-IHE and WWF in Kenya start implementing the 4 year KES 1 billion Mau Mara Serengeti (MaMaSe) Sustainable Water Initiative.

Speaking during the inception workshop held in Narok on 31 January 2014, the Country Director of WWF Kenya, Mohamed Awer said, "this consortium has brought together water resource management partners in Kenya such as Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA), Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA), Universities and NGOs with the thinking of harnessing financial and technical resources."

Michael McClain, the MaMaSe Programme Leader added, "we have four knowledge institutions and one regional water authority from the Netherlands that will be supporting the partners in Kenya. Private sector partners, such as the recently created Mara Farming, Inc., will also play important roles in the initiative."

The MaMaSe Initiative is aimed at improving water safety and security in the Mara River Basin to support poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth, and conservation of the basin’s world-renowned ecosystems. This will be carried out through a broad-based, basin-scale public-private-partnership (PPP), consisting of governmental, civil society, private sector, NGO, and knowledge institutions and designed to empower people of the Mara River Basin and promote self-reliance.

The MaMaSe Initiative is different and impressively innovative, as it will introduce new sustainable financing mechanisms to support conservation work in this basin as well as aid in the application of new technologies to support the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) to carry out real-time monitoring of rivers. Market-based strategies will also see farmers and conservancies improving their economic wellbeing. Furthermore, a Regional Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Water Management will be introduced and will be supported by Masai Mara and Egerton Universities.

This MaMaSe Initiative is supported financially by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, HSBC Bank, and the implementing partners themselves.

By Robert Magori, WWF Life Project

Women fetch water from the Mara River in Narok Town; WWF-EARPO/Catherine Mgendi

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