Doris Kaberia on Public-Private Partnerships and Holistic Approaches to Water Management in Kenya
“You cannot separate water and health,” says Doris Kaberia in this week’s Water Stories podcast. “People need safe drinking water for them to be healthy.” Kaberia works with Millennium Water Alliance, a coalition of international NGOs working on water sanitation and hygiene around the world, where she manages a Kenyan water program.
RAPID (Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development) “brings public-private sector partners…and governments together to manage water resources, particularly in the northern part of Kenya where water is really scarce.”
“There has to be calculation of water demand,” she says. “You match resource and the water demand. Otherwise there is always competition for water.” This holistic view is helping Kenya manage water resources for its more than 40 million citizens.
“We not only addressed the water-related shocks, but it was really integrated with health,” she says. RAPID improved water sanitation and hygiene conditions in northern Kenya, enabling health facilities to operate by ensuring they had clean water.
Public-private partnerships have proven valuable in Kaberia’s work. She says, however, that building partnerships was difficult, because “the way the development practitioners think, and the way private sector thinks, and the way governments think is totally different.” But if “you look at companies and industries, you will realize that most of the industries also need water for their manufacturing, for cooling of machines,” so you can connect with them on the shared needs. Kenya RAPID works with Coca-Cola, IBM, and Davis & Shirtliff, among others, to improve the sustainability of their interventions as they pursue their water development goals.
This interview was originally recorded in October 2016.