Setting the right tone for dialogue about water integrity

Written by Janek Hermann-Friede – Programme Coordinator Thematic Programmes and Monitoring & Evaluation

Shortly before the end of 2011, I travelled to Kenya with the intention to put the ‘Annotated Water Integrity Scan (AWIS)’ to use together with some of our partners. We frequently talk about AWIS, a tool developed by WIN, as a diagnostic tool that helps to explore the status of integrity as well as to determine corruption risks but it is also can serve other purposes. In Nairobi, we organised a training of facilitators as well as an AWIS on urban water supply together with TI-Kenya. Particularly during the scan on urban water supply it became apparent that AWIS can generate a detailed snapshot of the mechanisms that are in place in the water sector. What also became apparent is that the AWIS approach helped to set a constructive atmosphere for dialogue about sensitive issues.

The tool has specifically defined indicators for different water sector specific risk areas allowing for structured dialogue among experts. In the workshop itself participants are put into a situation in which they jointly have to think of arguments others may have to evaluate these indicators more positive or negative than they themselves. In this way AWIS helps to structure information that is already available. At the same time, it creates acceptance for the results and allows the participants to develop anunderstanding of the perspectives of others. This is in line with the perception of the participants of the AWIS that took place some days later in Mombasa, who felt that “the [water] sector needs to benefit from this tool”. Participants concluded that AWIS can contribute to overcoming a lot of the constraints the Kenyan water sector is facing, of which many are linked to governance.

In a next step we seek to verify the results of the first AWIS and share them with a wider group of stakeholders. This should lead into the development of specific activities to improve transparency, accountability and participation in urban water supply. In parallel we are finalising different materials (e.g. a video and a facilitator’s guide) as a basis to enable Kenyan actors and others to use AWIS.

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