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Skat News – March 2010

Newsletter of Skat – Swiss Resource Centre and Consultancies for Development

Dear Friends and Partners,

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]skat.ch is welcome.

Skat Projects and Activities

SDC and Moldovan Ministry of Environment Sign Memorandum of Understanding

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. Early this year, a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Moldova-Swiss Water and Sanitation (ApaSan) Project was signed by the Minister of Environment representing the Government of Moldova and by the Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office, SCO, in Moldova representing the Government of Switzerland.  The document sets up the framework of the first project phase which is aimed at improving the quality of life and health of the rural population in Moldova by increasing sustainable access to safe drinking water and environmental sanitation.
For the implementation of the ApaSan project, the Swiss Government’s contribution to Moldova, provided through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, SDC, encompasses both the provision of international expertise and a financial support of CHF 4 million, or 47,877 million converted into local currency. The Austrian Development Agency is co-funding the project with an amount of Euro 1.2 million.

For further information contact Roger Schmid (roger.schmid[AT]skat.ch) or Agnes Montangero (agnes.montangero[AT]skat.ch)

DESPRO – New Phase

The first Phase of the Decentralization Support Project in Ukraine, DESPRO has been implemented during the period of 2007-2009. Skat was mandated by SDC to implement the project with the overall goal to contribute to the improvement of public services delivery in a decentralized way. Within the framework of the SDC Cooperation Strategy 2007-2010, DESPRO Phase II is part of the Rule of Law and Democracy sector (sub-sector Public Sector Reforms), that has the objective to “assist Ukraine in decentralization and devolution of powers from the national to the local level”.

The Project will continue to contribute to the improvement of services provision in rural communities through the rehabilitation of community infrastructure and strengthening of participatory decision-making processes and thus to the livelihoods of the rural population in Ukraine. Further developing, implementing and institutionalizing feasible mechanisms for local authorities to deliver efficient and effective public services to citizens was and will remain at the heart of DESPRO. However, the main focus of Phase II will be on documenting and consolidating the existing practices and lessons learned from Phase I and, in cooperation with Ministry of Regional Development and Construction (MoRDC), National Academy of Public Administration, Association of Cities, on disseminating and institutionalizing the developed approaches and mechanisms of decentralized services provision in other regions of Ukraine. Results and lessons learned at the local and regional levels also will be well documented by partner institutions with DESPRO’s support in order to be used for knowledge management purposes and to make them available (for training, re-training, on the job use) for public servants not directly involved in DESPRO activities, and to feed them into further policy development at the national level. Knowledge management will focus on decentralized services provision and will support national stakeholders’ activities aimed at strengthening of cross-institutional cooperation. DESPRO Phase II will last 36 months, starting from 1 February 2010 until 31 January 2013.

For further information see the following link: http://www.despro.org.ua/en or contact Jürg Christen (juerg.christen[AT]skat.ch) or Claudia Schneider (claudia.schneider[AT]skat.ch)

Domestic Rainwater Harvesting Study Uganda

Skat was part of the study team which identified private-sector based distribution plans for potential domestic roof water harvesting (DRWH) products under design by the client. This assignment included the collection and analysis of information relevant to the product design, prospective distribution channels and with the needs and preferences of the final customers.

An in depth study was undertaken, using a blend of secondary data, key informant interviews, on-site observation and focus group discussions involving water users, retailers and others active in the water storage supply chain.

For further information, please contact Kerstin Danert (kerstin.danert[AT]skat.ch)

Luang Prabhang Agriculture and Forestry College in Laos

The “Support to the Reform of the Luang Prabang Agriculture and Forestry College in Laos” Project (SURAFCO) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) assists the educational reform process recognized in the “Strategy for Reform in the Agriculture and Forestry Colleges towards 2020 in Lao PDR” of the Government. The SURAFCO is implemented by the Luang Prabang Agriculture and Forestry College (LAFC) with the support of HELVETAS, the Swiss Association for International Cooperation and the Swiss College of Agriculture. The project started in September 2009 and will come to a closure in 2012.

The development goal is to build up the Luang Prabang Agricultural and Forestry College accommodating 600 students as a centre of excellence acknowledged by public and private partners in sustainable upland farming systems in the Northern Provinces of Laos. The core task of Skat is to develop socially acceptable, economically feasible, and technically sound solutions for the construction of the Luang Prabang Agricultural and Forestry College. Skat has therefore the mandate to propose to the College Management Team and the Project Director of HELVETAS appropriate technical solutions for project planning, design and construction implementation.

The provision of appropriate infrastructure is regarded as an important project component and absorbs a major part of the overall budget. In order to achieve innovative and sustainable solutions, social, ecological and economical aspects have to be considered in a holistic way. Since the community college plays an important role in Northern Laos, it will act as a model and provide a motivating, modern and pleasant environment for the students. Emphasis is being laid on the appropriate architectural style, conception, construction technology, and the requirements for studying and applying local and regional agriculture. The Skat architects will face the challenge of satisfying the needs of modern times such as gender, hygiene, comfort, space, and light, etc. on the one hand, and to respect at the same time traditional values, religious and ethnic customs, ambiance, and specific technology of the region.

For further information contact Daniel Schwitter (daniel.schwitter[AT]skat.ch)

Water and Environmental Sanitation (WES) Packages

Skat was in charge of the development of a Technology Information Package (TIP) for Water and Environmental Sanitation (WES). The TIP, which is available on CD as well as in hard copy, provides technology selection guidelines for UNICEF WASH programme officers and partners, enabling them to better help communities make informed choices about water and sanitation technology. It also describes in detail various technologies and indicates how a programme could utilise them. Information with respect to the characteristics, costs, benefits and risks associated with each option is presented. Additionally, it indicates supervisory services required to ensure that the quality of work is satisfactory and that contractors adhere to standards and specifications.

The activities related to the development of the TIP comprised: a review of existing WES technology guidelines, tools and manuals; collation of information; design of a structure for the package, in paper and CD format, which is user friendly and production of the package itself. 

For further information, please contact Kerstin Danert (kerstin.danert[AT]skat.ch)

Sustainability of Rural Water and Sanitation Systems in Kosovo

Following a tender procedure, Skat has been mandated to provide backstopping to the SDC Rural Water and Sanitation Support Project – South Eastern Kosovo (Phase III). Skat provides backstopping in collaboration with their local counterparts and the Kosovo NGO Community Development Initiatives. The mandate consists in the delivery of two main products: (i) recommendations for enhancing the sustainability of rural water supply and sanitation schemes (with a focus on institutional aspects) and (ii) a manual on technical standards for rural water supply and sanitation schemes. The backstopping mandate will last until the end of 2010 and its results will be integrated in the planning of the new three year project phase for 2011-2013.

For further information please contact Agnes Montangero (agnes.montangero[AT]skat.ch) or Roger Schmid (roger.schmid[AT]skat.ch)

Consultancy services for the construction of 34 rural water supply schemes in Cameroon 

Skat has been mandated by the South West Development Authority of Cameroon to provide consulting services for the rehabilitation and new construction of 34 rural water systems in the Rumpi Area. Recently, based on a competitive tender, the Rumpi project selected six local contractors for the execution of the construction work. Each contractor will be in charge of the rehabilitation of 5-6 water supply systems. Bearing in mind their limited practical experience in rural water supply work, all selected technicians had to participate in a one-week training course on good practice in construction work. The training was executed by experienced Integrated Engineering Associates (IEA) and Skat staff prior to the ground works. IEA and Skat are in charge of the supervision of the project, including controlling and reporting. In the early phase of construction work, when relevant steps towards good construction quality can be taken, IEA and Skat will provide intensive on site supervision and on the spot training of the technicians.

For further information please contact André Olschewski (andre.olschewski[AT]skat.ch)

Support to the Government of Malawi to Develop a National Operation and Maintenance Framework for the Malawi Rural Water Sector

Skat undertook a study of operation and maintenance of rural water supplies in Malawi, with a view to developing Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Framework for the sub-sector. Ultimately, the framework is intended to harmonise existing discreet project-based O&M systems currently under implementation in the country and thus underpin the sector wide approach to development. The study team undertook a desk review of relevant documentation followed by six person-weeks of fieldwork in Malawi.  Visits were made to 15 districts in all three regions of the country and discussions were held with over 80 stakeholders: water users, area mechanics, water user committee and association representatives, District Water Office staff, NGO and CBO staff, representatives from District Assemblies, private enterprises and the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development (MoIWD) at regional and central level, as well as donor representatives. 

For further information, please contact Kerstin Danert (kerstin.danert[AT]skat.ch)

Support to PPAF – Pakistan

The technical proposal presented by the consortium Helvetas – Intercooperation – Skat in response to the Request for Tenders for Consulting Services in support of the project “Livelihood Support and promotion of Small Community Infrastructure with Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) funded by the KfW has been approved and is expected to start operations in the first half of 2010.

The project intends to benefit approximately 600.000 people focusing on the poorest, in 36 selected Union Councils in the NWFP districts of Haripur, Swabi and Buner. This represents about 20% of the population of these predominantly rural districts. The overall objective of the Project is to contribute to the improvement of the general living conditions and quality of life of the poor population in the Project Region. The project objectives are: increased access to a sustainable utilization of social and economic infrastructure by the population of the Project Region; increased employment and income opportunities, especially for the poor; and strengthening of the local civil society and enhanced participation of the population in the decision making process at local levels.

For further information please contact Jürg Christen (juerg.christen[AT]skat.ch) or Jonathan Hecke (jonathan.hecke[AT]skat.ch)

School Construction Guidelines for Laos

The Ministry of Education (MOE) in Laos PDR has embarked on the critical task of developing National School Construction Guidelines. This undertaking is part of the MOE’s program on mainstreaming disaster risk reduction (DRR) into the education sector which started in 2007 in partnership with the National Disaster Management Office and with the assistance of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) and the United Nations Development Programme, with support from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO). In that framework, Skat has been mandated by ADPC to develop and formulate the technical part of the guidelines.

The National School Construction Guidelines is MOE’s concretization of its commitment to make schools safe from disasters and child-friendly for students in Lao PDR. School construction in Lao has been guided by standards and guidelines of donor and development agencies such as the WB, ADB, JICA, AusAID, and UNICEF. It is considered the best time for the government of Lao to have its own official school construction guidelines with due consideration of the natural hazards that beset the country.

The School Construction Guidelines covers all future school construction undertaken by the MOE from the national, provincial and district levels, and by any donor or development partner. The guidelines set the minimum standards that have to be met by anyone engaged in school construction in Lao PDR. They also cover the entire school construction process from site planning, design, construction, and maintenance. It provides guidance on safety from natural hazards and child-friendly considerations bearing in mind the context of Lao PDR and its vision towards an education for all its citizens.

For further information contact Daniel Schwitter (daniel.schwitter[AT]skat.ch)

Code of Practice for Cost-Effective Boreholes

Skat is in the process of developing a Code of Practice for Cost-Effective Boreholes for UNICEF. Studies, testing of methodology and the development of national protocols for cost-effective borehole drilling were carried out in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Zambia.

Skat has undertaken the project management, including contracting a number of consultants to implement in-country studies and support with the development of resource materials. The final Code of Practice for Cost-Effective Boreholes will provide clear and systematic guidance for decision-making and implementation of programmes that support the provision of drilled water wells. The Code of Practice comprises a set of ten principles which cover professionalisation of the private sector, procurement and contract management, well drilling technology, well design, development and test pumping as well as record keeping and reporting.

For further information, please contact Kerstin Danert (kerstin.danert[AT]skat.ch)

Impact Assessment of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index

During the months of October 2009 and January 2010, Skat conducted an impact assessment of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index – Phase 2003 – 2006. CSI is a participatory needs assessment and action planning tool for civil society around the world, with the aim of creating a knowledge base and momentum for civil society strengthening initiatives. Between 2003 and 2006 the CSI was implemented in more than 53 countries around the world by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) using a structured action-research methodology. The CSI enabled the development of policy-oriented analysis, recommendations and action plans in order to strengthen civil society and its role in development and good governance.

This impact assessment collects and documents evidence of successful actions of the project, originally intended or not, as well as negative impacts and setbacks. It also analyses the results of actions taken to strengthen civil society following CSI implementation and provides recommendations for the most effective use of CSI findings. The following focus areas were analysed: impact on knowledge creation, impact on knowledge-based actions, impact on intra-sectoral and cross-sectoral collaboration and networking; impact on donor policies and strategies, and impact on stakeholders’ programmatic priorities at national and regional levels. Best practices and lessons learned were presented followed by relevant conclusions and recommendations.

The impact assessment was qualitative and participatory. Different methods of data collection and analysis were used: desk review of project documents and reports; field work in six selected countries (Bolivia, Indonesia, Italy, Turkey, Uganda and Ukraine); telephone and face-to-face interviews with key stakeholders and representatives of 23 countries and a survey.

For further information please contact Bertha Camacho (bertha.camacho[AT]skat.ch)

Implementation of the Human Right to Water

On behalf of the AGUASAN Community of Practice, Skat participated in a workshop on the implementation of the human right to water. The workshop was organized by the NGO Ingeniería Sin Fronteras (http://apd.isf.es) jointly with the Development NGOs coordination platform in Spain (CONGDE, http://www.congde.org) on February 18th and 19th in Madrid. The objective of the workshop was to analyze the practical implementation of the human right to water in different initiatives, with a focus on Central America. Skat presented the outcomes of the AGUASAN Workshop 2008 on the topic of management models for rural water supply services.

For further information please contact Agnes Montangero (agnes.montangero[AT]skat.ch). The AGUASAN Workshop 2008 report can be found under: http://www.skat.ch/publications/prarticle.2005-09-29.5069774463/prarticle.2005-09-29.1875579521/skatpublication.2009-09-30.1813961035

Uganda Water and Environment Sector Performance Report 2009

Skat provided support to the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) to compile the 2009 Water and Sanitation Sector Performance Report (SPR). The SPR is the single most important reference document for assessing the performance of the sector, providing an overview of targets, activities and achievements in the country.

For further information please contact Kerstin Danert (kerstin.danert[AT]skat.ch) for further information

E-learning course on Network Management 2010

After two successful cycles, SKAT and SBA are pleased to offer for the third time the E-learning Course on Network Management. The course is based on conceptual and methodological understandings of network management.

The course will start on April 26 and will last until the 4 of July 2010. It is designed for a group of approximately 25 participants. As a selection process will take place and candidates are requested to fill out a registration form and send it including an updated CV and a motivation letter to sba[AT]sba-int.ch by 16 of April 2010.

“The course has been great learning and what I value most is the ability of using some of the tools, ideas & concepts in a very practical way on a daily basis either directly or as inspiration for evolving other tools.” (Former course participant)

For further information please contact Bertha Camacho (bertha.camacho[AT]skat.ch) or download course brochure and registration form from the following link: http://www.skat.ch/uptodate/all_news

About Skat

Job opportunity

Infrastructure Specialist

Skat is seeking an experienced infrastructure specialist with a strong background in rural and urban infrastructure development such as sustainable building as well as water supply and environmental sanitation. For further information, please refer to the following link: http://www.skat.ch/prarticle.2006-05-23.7701790099/prarticle.2010-02-16.4713727211

Skat Publications

Article on KM4D Journal: Contributions of knowledge networks and communities of practice to the water and sanitation sector in developing countries 

Skat published in the KM4D Journal an article that explores the contributions of networks and CoPs to the water and sanitation sector, by examining three case studies: the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN), the AGUASAN Community of Practice and the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET).

You can obtain the Article in the following link http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g918920615 or contact Bertha Camacho (bertha.camacho[AT]skat.ch) for further information


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: www.skat-foundation.org/publications. For any enquiries please send a mail to publications[AT]skat.ch