USAID funding boost for water research in rural Kenya

Kyuso Handpump. Image credit: Susanna Goodall

The Smith School's Water Programme work on sustainable rural water services in Kenya has received a significant funding boost from USAID. A research collaboration exploring the institutional and financial conditions required to improve water security for the rural poor in Kitui County will now extend to 2021.

The grant has been awarded as part of the USAID Sustainable Wash Systems Learning Partnership, a $15M cooperative agreement led by the University of Colorado Boulder, and including a consortium of partners who are developing, demonstrating, learning about, and sharing evidence on systems-based approaches for improving the sustainability of WASH services. Building on previous work in the region, the University of Oxford and UNICEF Kenya, along with the University of Colorado, are learning about and documenting the development of a new social enterprise model for the maintenance of rural water infrastructure. The research will provide an empirical basis for policy design and guide effective investment to deliver water security for all.

The Oxford team is led by Prof Rob Hope and Dr Johanna Koehler with Patrick Thomson and Cliff Nyaga in collaboration with UNICEF's Chief of WASH in Kenya, Dr Andrew Trevett, and Rural Focus Ltd, led by Mike Thomas. Through close co-operation with government and other stakeholders, the project also aims to strengthen local and national institutional coordination in the rural water sector.