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Skat News – April 2009

Newsletter of Skat – Swiss Resource Centre and Consultancies for Development

Dear Partners and Friends,

The electronic newsletter of Skat is sent to you approximately two times each year. Skat News provides you with brief summaries of recent and ongoing projects, links you to further information and documents, and provides you with relevant contact addresses. Your feedback at info[AT] is welcome.

Skat Projects and Activities

Skat takes over SDC's Water and Sanitation Project in the Republic of Moldova

In a competitive tender procedure in 2008, Skat has been selected as the new implementer of the Swiss Water and Sanitation Project (ApaSan) conducted and financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in the Republic of Moldova since 2001. In its new phase, the project aims at scaling-up replicable models for decentralized rural water supply and sanitation services delivery and management introduced by SDC over the past years. After a clarification mission to Moldova performed in November 2008, Skat was contracted by SDC for a start-up phase over 5 months (01.12.08 - 30.04.09) in order to implement the transition and administrative change as well as to conduct a detailed sector survey, to establish the local project team, to build up partnerships and to elaborate the final project document. In consultation with the project's key stakeholders and partners, a draft ProDoc has been elaborated and submitted to SDC during a mission of Skat's project management team to Moldova, March 9th to 18th, 2009.

For further information see the ApaSan Project description or contact Roger Schmid (roger.schmid[AT]

Assistance to the Rural Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Sector Development Programme, Nepal

Following the tender process in late 2008, Skat in association with 2 Nepalese consulting joint venture partners has been selected by the Government of Nepal to provide consulting services and to assist the responsible Government agencies in the implementation of the ADB-funded Rural Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Sector Development Programme. The objective is to provide efficient and effective managerial and technical support to the project for enhancement of the stakeholders involved in the process. Whilst Skat will assume the overall management and the team leader position the joint venture partners will provide the professional local staff and administrative support. The duration of the project is three years.

For further information please contact Juerg Christen (juerg.christen[AT]

First environmental friendly brick kilns (VSBK) are starting production in Pakistan

One year after Skat was mandated by SDC to conduct an inception phase of a technology transfer project on environmental and socially friendly brick technologies in Pakistan, the first pilot kilns have started firing and are currently fine-tuning the production process. In cooperation with Swiss and Nepali experts, a local team of engineers has introduced the new technology in the Islamabad and Rawalpindi area. Three brick pilot entrepreneurs have been supported in building demonstration kilns. The brick industry is one of the major polluter and energy consumer in South Asia, especially in the fast growing urban agglomerations, where the demand for building material is rapidly increasing. Energy efficient brick technologies such as VSBK considerably reduce global green house gas emissions and improve the working conditions of the brick workers.

For further information, please contact Daniel Wyss (daniel.wyss[AT]

Energy efficient housing in Kathmandu, Nepal

As part of the SDC programme on energy efficient brick production (VSBK), Skat has developed housing designs, construction practices and building material production methods, reducing the energy consumption and green house gas emission caused by the booming housing sector. After organising a conference on environmental friendly construction for planners and investors in Kathmandu, the Nepali project team is currently supporting a private real estate developer agency in adapting their house designs and construction practices according to the principals of energy efficiency.

For further information, please contact Daniel Wyss (daniel.wyss[AT]

Slum-Upgrading in Kosovo

On behalf of Caritas Switzerland Skat conducted a pre-assessment of a Roma Settlement in Gjakova, Kosovo. The aim of the assessment was to develop a strategy for next steps to improve housing and living conditions for poverty reduction. Skat has examined the current situation and reviewed potentials, and implemented a stakeholder analysis. The assessment considered technical, institutional, economic, social, cultural, and environmental aspects including also short- and long-term options. In addition, Skat provided advisory services to the local Caritas team for next steps.

For further information please contact Claudia Schneider (claudia.schneider[AT]

Upgrading of two Roma-Slums in Serbia

Mandated by HEKS, Skat supports a local NGO in implementing a SDC funded Slum-Upgrading Project in the Serbian Province of Vojvodina. Skat provides methodological and technical expertise in the design and management of dweller driven low budget construction. In order to maximise the impact of investments, the project encourages Roma dwellers to contribute with work and second hand construction material obtained from demolition works. A few months before completing the pilot slum, inhabitants have matched the project investment of EUR 1000 per house with work and material of nearly the same value. In 2009, the project is being replicated for the first time in Djurdjevo, a village near Novi Sad. Currently, the inhabitants of a second Roma slum are working on the first phase of construction. Besides the construction of sanitation facilities, families will be supported in upgrading or extending their houses, according to their individual needs.

For further information, please contact Daniel Wyss (daniel.wyss[AT]

Review and Planning Support in the Trail Bridge Sub-sector in Bhutan

Through Helvetas, the Swiss Government has been supporting trail bridge building in Bhutan since 1985 with technical and financial assistance. The overall goal of the project is to create the social, physical and administrative infrastructure to promote a balanced socio-economic development through the provision of safe and economic river crossings in remote and particularly poor locations. Until today, more than 450 trail bridges have been constructed and many already rehabilitated throughout the predominately hilly districts of Bhutan. Today, Bhutan is at the crossroads of an unparalleled political and institutional reform process. For the first time in 2008 a democratically elected government took charge. In this fragile environment, in February 2009 Skat was requested by Helvetas to come up with ideas and recommendations for future trail bridge building. The mission suggests continuing support and further promoting and demonstrating good governance and decentralisation in the trail bridge sub-sector for dissemination beyond the current phase.

For further information please contact Juerg Christen (juerg.christen[AT]

Project Appraisals in New EU Member States

Skat has been mandated by the Financial Mechanism Office of the EEA (European Economic Area) and Norway Grant through the Swiss Centre for International Health (SCIH) of the Swiss Tropical Institute to conduct numerous appraisals of project proposals in new EU member countries.

Skat evaluated 6 project proposals in Poland with respect to modernisation works of public and social facility buildings and sport facilities. Furthermore, Skat assessed 11 project proposals in the Czech Republic and Slovakia concerning modernisation works of social facilities and restoration of cultural heritage protected buildings such as churches, monasteries, and historic folk architecture houses.

For further information please contact Claudia Schneider (claudia.schneider[AT]

Evaluation GTZ Water Project in Kosovo

Skat has completed the final evaluation of the GTZ Water Project in Kosovo on behalf of AGEG Consultants eG. The GTZ Water Project in Kosovo started soon after the 1999 conflict and aimed at enhancing the operational efficiency of the Peja regional water utility, one of the 7 regional water utilities created within the framework of the water reform promoted by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo. The project consisted in strengthening the utility’s management and technical capacity by: a) adapting the organizational structure; b) establishing new departments such as the planning and GIS, water loss management and customer service departments; and c) providing expert support and training in these as well as in other fields such as asset evaluation, preventive maintenance, and financial planning. The project further provided advice to improve collaboration between the water utility and municipalities.

For further information please contact Agnès Montangero (agnes.montangero[AT]

Sanitation Training

Skat participated in the sanitation workshop organized by Action Contre la Faim (ACF) in September 2008 in France. The workshop was targeted towards ACF local staff and program managers from around the world. Skat provided an introduction to global sanitation issues as well as inputs on the selection of sanitation options and on the linkages between sanitation and health. Besides presentations and discussions, the participants had the opportunity to gain practical experience by building their own latrine that was then used during the one-week workshop.

For further information please contact Agnès Montangero (agnes.montangero[AT]

Implementation of a Basic Training for Masons while constructing the Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln in Afghanistan

Skat conducted a training course on kiln construction at the site of the fifth VSBK built in Afghanistan. 12 masons received a well prepared and guided training from the 15th of August till the 15th of December 2008. This training course focused on strengthening their skills to becoming good building workers at any modern or local building site. The trainees were members of the five partner entrepreneurs and supported by the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF). Skat and AKF look forward to a closer cooperation in 2009.

For further information please contact Alfred Mink (alfred.mink[AT]

E-learning Course on Network Management

Under the initiative of Skat and SBA (Sustainable Business Associates) the first E-learning Course on Network Management was offered between January and March 2009. The course had the aim of strengthening management and communication capacities for setting up or sustaining knowledge networks. The e-learning platform allowed network practitioners from all over the world to take part in the course. A total of 17 participants from different countries in Europe, Asia and Africa joined the course representing a wide range of organizations: UNEP, World Vision Switzerland, NAFTAL, CREPA, Hydrophil consulting and knowledge, Water for All, GTZ and ASEAN, the latter being financially supported by SDC.

The main topics of the course were Network Governance and Structure, Network Management, Communication Strategy in Networks and Operational Network Planning. Different e-learning tools were used such as on-line theoretical inputs, guided chat sessions, forum discussions, case studies, and on-line practical exercises. Additionally, in order to have a relevant outcome, participants had to prepare a final report applying the learned skills and concepts in their networks or organizations.

The next E-learning course will take place from September to November 2009. Course brochure and registration form is to download at:

For further information please contact: Bertha Camacho (bertha.camacho[AT]

About Skat

New Appointments

We welcome new staff members in the Skat team:

André Olschewski will join Skat in May 2009 as Water, Environmental Management and Spatial Planning Specialist. He has more than 15 years of experience in strategy development and programme management as well as design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programs and projects in the fields of water supply, water resource management, environmental management, transport, and spatial planning. He has been engaged as programme manager and consultant in integrated settlement planning, groundwater and watershed protection, and water supply projects among others in Switzerland, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania. He has been involved as expert for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Romania and Mongolia and leading interdisciplinary teams in the fields of environmental protection, environmental health, and spatial planning in Switzerland.

Rodney Stickland will join Skat as Team Leader of the Rural Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Sector Development Programme in Nepal. His professional background is Civil Engineer and Town Planner with particular expertise in project identification and evaluation, economic assessments, highway feasibility and planning studies, rural access issues, public transport systems, and impact studies. He has more than 35 years of international experience on a broad range of planning and transport related projects. He has been involved with rural transport projects in Nepal and has managed projects in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Pakistan, and the UK.

Skat Publications

After the Tsunami – Sustainable Building Guidelines for South-East Asia

In the aftermath of the Tsunami disaster, numerous agencies have responded by reconstructing houses and infrastructure. Project managers, however, are often overwhelmed not only by the volume of required activities but also by the extent of challenges related to reconstruction.

One of the challenges is to ensure conceptually sound, robust and practical reconstruction solutions that will minimise the environmental impact. The manual addresses this challenge by providing project managers with guidance in various aspects of sustainable reconstruction, including planning, design, materials, implementation, and maintenance. The manual includes the areas of adequate site selection, construction technologies and their social acceptance, cost-effectiveness and affordability of housing, technical infrastructure and access to information.

CD-Rom of this publication is available for free at SKAT or can be downloaded as pdf from:

For further information, please contact Claudia Schneider (claudia.schneider[AT]

Skat Case Study Series

Three new Case Study dossiers on Social Housing projects were published in 2008:

  • Tsunami Resettlement Dutch bar Community in Thiraimadu, Batticaloa District, Sri Lanka
  • Tsunami Housing Reconstruction Program Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Sustainable reconstruction Initiative in Tsunami-affected Villages of Karaikal Pondicherry, India

These dossiers are available for downloading at:

For further information, please contact Daniel Schwitter (daniel.schwitter[AT]

The Skat Foundation edits various publications in the fields of water supply and environmental sanitation, waste management, sustainable building and settlement development, and transport and mobility. Browse through our list of publications on our website: For any enquiries please send a mail to publications[AT]