WASH Coordination Project Launches a Virtual Community of Practice

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Nigeria’s first learning platform on urban water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), a Community of Practice (CoP), has been launched to facilitate knowledge exchange within the country’s WASH sector. The CoP was launched by the WASH Coordination Project (WCP) in Lagos, recently. Bennett Oghiforeports

In August 2017, the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Adamu introduced the Community of Practice at the National Council of Water Resources, in Akure, Ondo State, and inaugurated a 10-person Steering Committee comprising of sector professionals in various relevant field of expertise and an adviser to the Committee.

The CoP is focused on triggering improvements in four critical domains of utility operations: commercial viability; governance and social accountability; citizens’ engagement; and urban sanitation and hygiene. The website, which can be found at this link: https://www.urbanwashcop.ng, includes a Research Center with relevant WASH documents; a Practitioner’s Toolkit with a variety of tools for individuals involved in the provision of WASH services; and an Opportunities’ page with information on available jobs, tenders, as well as grants within the urban WASH sector in Nigeria; among numerous other resources on urban WASH.

In November 2017, with the support of the Steering Committee, the WASH Coordination Project made the CoP Online Learning Platform publicly available.

According to Timeyin Uwejamomere, the WCP Chief of Party, utilities that have successfully implemented reforms and, as a result, are closer to offering sustainable services partly attribute this achievement to peer-to-peer learning and knowledge development support.

Uwejamomere, therefore, hopes the CoP will serve as a learning platform for WASH practitioners to help Nigerian water utilities fast-track the implementation of needed reforms.

In his speech, Engineer Dajan Hossana, the chairperson of the COP Steering Committee noted that the primary purpose of the website is to provide readily available and accessible information on best practices in the WASH sector though the framework of a self-sustaining, demand-driven, and locally appropriate platform to foster dialogue among practitioners to accelerate reforms in the sector.

“The website serves as a resource center for Nigerian urban WASH stakeholders by providing a platform for disseminating practical and relevant information on WASH development, tools, and best practices,” he said.

The WCP is a two-year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nigeria. The project seeks to achieve the dual benefits of improved health and well-being for Nigerians through increased and more financially sustainable access to WASH services, and to build the confidence of the public in the government’s ability to deliver basic services in Bauchi and Kaduna states. The Development Innovations Group, a U.S.-based firm with offices in Kaduna and Bauchi is the prime implementer of the WCP.

The WCP will support the maintenance of the website until the project ends on October 31, 2018, at which time, a Nigerian entity will become responsible for maintaining the online Community of Practice (CoP), while the Steering Committee(SC) continues to provide oversight on operations. In addition to supporting the WCP to make the CoP website available to the public, the Steering Committee has also worked with the WCP to develop a strategy and manual that will guide the operations of the Community of Practice.

To ensure the Community of Practice for Urban WASH in Nigeria is as informative and useful as possible, the WASH Coordination Project (WCP) Team discussed its design with donors, government officials, development practitioners, utility management, civil society organization representatives, and other interested stakeholders across the country over the span of a year.

Present at the launch in Lagos were Commissioners responsible for Water Resources in some of the 36 states, including Delta State Commissioner for Water Resources Development, Sir Okenmor Fidelis Tilije; the Permanent Secretary, Kaduna State Ministry of Water Resources, among others.