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Using the Integrity Management toolbox to support SMEs in the Zambian water sector

By Marta Rychlewski, Research Officer, Water Integrity Network

”The Integrity Management Toolbox workshop has opened my mind to the mistakes related to low integrity we commit in our company”, said one of the participants of a workshop on integrity management in the water sector for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), organized in Lusaka, Zambia in early July.

The workshop, facilitated by WIN, CEWAS (International Centre for Water Management Services) and the Water and Sanitation Association of Zambia (WASAZA), aimed to make SME managers more aware of how they can make their business benefit from implementing integrity measures.

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Video: Enhancing integrity in Water Stewardship Initiatives

Water stewardship Initiatives (WSI) involving the public, private sector and civil society are increasingly being started to address shared challenges in managing water resources.

We believe integrity is a crucial building block to enable equitable and sustainable outcomes from these Water Stewardship Initiatives.

To further develop integrity and transparency in WSIs, we therefore partnered with the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate and with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Water Witness International, Pegasys Institute, and Partnerships in Practice, Ltd, to carry out an applied research project aimed at developing an integrity management framework and practical supporting guidance for WSIs.

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Call for Applications for the Swiss Environment Award 2014

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Each year, the Swiss Environment Foundation grants the Swiss Environment Award to individuals, companies or organisations, that contribute outstandingly to the protection and the conservation of nature and the environment.

In 2014, this prestigious award – endowed with CHF 30’000 CHF – will have a special focus on the reduction of global water consumption.

Within this framework, young people from all over Europe (especially Germany, Norway and Switzerland) are invited to develop and submit innovative ideas on how to reduce water consumption.

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Integrity and the next generation

This blog entry was written by Janek Hermann-Friede, Monitoring, Programme Planning, Focal Point East Africa Coordinator at WIN.

UNESCO-IHE organised a week long introduction into the topic water integrity for its new batch of Msc students in October 2013. This course was organised in follow-up to the Water Integrity Forum that took place in June 2013. The whole week was put into the context of the Delft statement on water integrity. General concepts of integrity and good water governance were introduced to a group of approximately 150 young and mid-career water professionals. Among different presentations, an analysis of integrity issues in water resources management in the Netherlands was discussed to showcase that the topic was relevant globally and not only in developing countries. Read More…

School toilets and integrity: assessing this WASH problem

This blog entry was written by Binayak Das, Knowledge and Research Coordinator, as well as regional coordinator for South Asia, at WIN.

School going kids in many countries are deprived of basic sanitation and hygiene facilities despite funds and projects innumerable. This can happen as funds for building toilets gets siphoned off; or if a toilet is built, maintenance funds go missing leaving the toilets unusable by students. UNICEF estimates that more than half of world’s schools lack clean toilets, drinking water and hygiene lessons for all school children. The lack of school sanitation is a telling factor that impacts students, especially girls and their completion of school education. This is a common situation in many countries including India. Official figures seem to project success while in reality, the case is otherwise. Take the example of Andhra Pradesh, a state in southern India which has a total of 96,277 schools; and it is reported that 89% of the schools have a toilet facility according to the District Information System for Education statistics from 2010. This number however does not indicate if the facilities are benefiting the students. Data from the state education department states that only 26% of the facilities are functional and about 28% of the schools only have a functional toilet for girls. Toilets are lying idle because of various reasons – shoddy or incomplete construction, lack of water facility, non-availability of toilet cleaning and hand washing ingredients, and unclean toilets. Accountability and transparency is missing from this process. All these reasons point towards the lack of integrity in construction, operation and maintenance process of the toilets and this runs contrary to the standards and norms as per the Right to Education Act that schools need to fulfill.

School children in India - photo credit Binayak Das

School children in India – photo credit Binayak Das

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Integrity, the private water utilities and why it matters

This blog entry was written by Janek Hermann-Friede, Monitoring, Programme Planning, Focal Point East Africa Coordinator at WIN. 

At Savern Trent Water a corruption case emerged as a result of whistle-blowing in 2004. We are talking about the second-largest water company in Great Britain. Following the scandal a change in management resulted in far reaching reforms to enhance integrity of the company, tackling processes, behaviours and values simultaneously. Prosecution resulted in a fine for Savern Trent in 2008. Just a year later, the company was awarded ‘Utility of the Year’ in recognition of their reform efforts (for more information on this case see Dietz, G. and Gillespie, N. 2012). This clearly shows one of the main benefits that a company can gain from enhanced corporate integrity – a good reputation. However there are several other ways how integrity pays off.

Planta de Caraz, Peru. Copyright Janek Hermann-Friede

Planta de Caraz, Peru. Copyright Janek Hermann-Friede

But let’s first take a step back and look at the role of the private sector in water supply and wastewater management. In the 1990s donors and multinational companies increasingly pushed towards privatisation of service provision. Various failed concessions led to public opposition and an ideologically driven debate. More recently there has been a trend to commercialise the operations of water providers in a socially acceptable way. This means that service providers are operated and managed like private entities but consider marginalised groups and the poor adequately when it comes to tariff setting, investment decisions, customer management etc. In consequence, some of the public attention shifted from the providers to companies that consume large amounts of water. A recent European Citizens’ Initiative opposing the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on the award of concession contracts for water supply and wastewater services shows however that private sector engagement remains a relevant and sensitive topic.

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The first Water Integrity Forum comes to a successful conclusion

On June 5th to June 7th, the UNESCO-IHE hosted the first ever Water Integrity Forum which was organised by the Water Integrity Network (WIN) and the UNESCO-IHE. The first Water Integrity Forum came to a successful conclusion with the Ugandan Minister of State for Water Resources,  Ms Betty Bigombe announcing that she, along with Ms Kitty van der Heijden, Director of the Department for Climate, Environment, Energy and Water and the Ambassador for Sustainable Development, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs  will jointly take the lead in putting water integrity in the global development agenda, especially in ongoing processes like the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Before making this declaration, Betty Bigombe and Kitty van der Heijden made an impromptu consultation during the closing session of the Forum.

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High-level panel at the closing session of the Water Integrity Forum

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