Whave is an independent organization helping to build a fair future for our world. We believe we have enough resources for global stability and opportunity while preserving the gifts and enjoyment of nature. Our mission is to work with communities and governments to develop and demonstrate solutions to poverty and conservation issues.
We focus on specific issues where we have the skills and track record to provide enduring solutions. Our experience is in rural off-grid electrification, efficient kitchens, and reliable access to safe water in rural areas. In a world of rapidly expanding cities these sectors are significant; efficient cooking is a critical issue for health, livelihood and resource conservation in rural areas, and is also a critical issue in cities with a huge demand for cooking fuel and safe cooking methods. Off-grid electrification and reliable safe water transform rural areas into socially and economical sound resources which support the cities and suffer less from urban migration.
We are providing consulting services, and building projects in these three sectors, for demonstration and scaling internationally.
Our safe water programme was launched in 2011 with the motto "EveryDay, EveryOne".
Whave was formed in 2011 by experienced development professionals. To create a more effective framework for development, we follow the principle of 'reward for results', shifting the emphasis to outputs rather than inputs, results rather than promises.
Our professional experience in development goes back to the 80s, when we worked on community organization, various appropriate technologies, efficient cooking and rural electrification. From 1995 to 2005 we worked with governments to establish enabling environments for local businesses providing socially useful products and services, and we worked directly to train and start local social businesses. We developed a lot of experience with enterprise development, public-private partnership approaches, sector regulation, capacity-building, and management of innovative credit and financing systems.
In 2005 onwards the focus was on adaptation of the new protocols in CO2 emission reduction to poverty alleviation. Our founder, Adam Harvey, formulated the first procedures for generating social-carbon credits from efficient cook-stove dissemination which led to large and significant issuances of credits in Cambodia, Uganda, Ghana, Bangladesh, working with VCS, Gold Standard, and CDM. He later turned to the issue of inadequate safe water in rural areas, and developed procedures (methodologies) for generating social-carbon credits from improved access.
In both cases the reason for this focus was the conviction that the carbon framework offered an important model for effective development aid. The Whave team is now putting this conviction into practice, adapting the model to work in local communities and creating new social companies in developing countries, generating development results which can attract income to self-finance expansion of impact at scale.
Our main focus in Uganda is on Safe Water Security. Chronic illnesses and debilitation is common to many people in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Education, health care and employment are issues. The result is migration to cities where similar problems intensify in slums, and where population density and unemployment are threatening stability. The persistence of disease in rural areas has meant that even fertile regions are not producing enough to feed those cities and grow national economies.
Climate change has become a threat to the livelihoods of one billion people worldwide who are living with minimal cash income. Their vulnerability in the face of climate extremes is critical and elimination of water-related disease is an essential to build resilience.
The programme can be replicated in other countries; please contact us if you are interested to learn more or would like to become a partner organization
Our Safe Water programme started in 2011 with the motto "EveryDay, EveryOne".
As of the end of 2014, total of nine WSPs have been contracted on a performance-payment basis, serving 7,000 homes and 50,000 people.
Daily functional reliability of clean water sources in the 150 engaged communities is above 99% (in contrast to estimated reliability baselines of 40-70%, depending on area) and hygiene levels have increased by 15%.
The engaged communities have experienced an average decrease in diarrhoeal longitudinal prevalence from 21.3% after 1 month to 10.1% after 13 months and calculations suggest that 21,412 cases of diarrhoea have been averted to date.
The programme operates in partnership with the Ugandan government and with NGOs. Currently, public-private partnership (PPP) models for cost-effective WASH services have been agreed with the local governments of Luuka and Kamuli Districts, working one sub-county at a time. Full district-scale Model PPPs are planned, and additional sub-county PPP models in northern districts (Kumi and Abim) are expected in 2015. Our major NGO partner is Busoga Trust, an NGO operating in the Eastern region of the country. Busoga Trust focuses on rehabilitation of water sources and installation of new sources, while Whave focuses on optimising the lifecycle of the infrastructure investment and on hygiene transformation, by introducing community WASH service contracts and local private sector (WSP) concessions.
Whave is a member of the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) and a partner of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)
Our Safe Water Security programme builds a Public-Private Partnerships at district level (PPPs). Government officials participate closely in the design of the structures. There is strong support from central and district government for scaling through the country and integration with local planning and governance.
The programme uses a Results-Based Sustainability approach, working towards sustainability in clearly defined steps. At local level, private sector technicians contract as franchisees to local water rural water service utilities. Whave acts as a model service utility, providing benchmark performance, training community committees and candidates for local service utilities, and promoting rural banking facilities and accountability systems to facilitate cost-recovery through collection of local water dues by community leaders. Local technicians are contracted as WASH Service Providers (WSP) franchisees or “micro-utilities” paid according to how well they anticipate technical problems and prevent down-time. Their incomes are also linked to water quality in homes and at source, as well as to hygiene levels of each community in their concession.
To ensure sustainability, water dues are paid by community members into the water funds held by their Water and Sanitation Committees (WSC). The WSCs pays a community service fee annually to the service utility, drawing from its water fund, as part of a reliability service agreement signed between the WSC and the service utility. Experience in recent years has shown that communities welcome this arrangement whole-heartedly, because it removes the difficulties experienced in direct transactional arrangements with local technicians, and because costs and inconveniences are less (particularly long downtime periods). The technician also prefer this arrangement as it builds their pride in working systems, earns them more stable incomes and improves professionalism. Local government welcomes the arrangement as it reduces the burden of major breakdowns leading to numerous abandoned pumps and high rehabilitation costs, as well as rendering effective the official policy of community-based maintenance. Whave is supportive of the community-based maintenance policy in contrast to private ownership or operation of water sources, because the presence of a WSC ensures equitable access to clean water by all families in each community (it is normal practice for WSCs to re-distribute fees according welfare and need, for example exempting families sufreing exceptionally, deferring payments to harvest time, and compensating for exemptions or reductions by charging more to commercial users).
The programme is carefully designed as a trajectory toward full sustainability. A transition period is needed to develop the PPP structure and to achieve full cost recovery from community members for reliability. During this transition period, local capacity is developed for systems such as accurate monitoring, performance-payment, mobile phone payments by WSCs, rural banking (such as mobile-phone banking for WSC accounts). Also during this transition period, hygiene habits are being transformed through initiatives undertaken by the programme. This dual process of reliability assurance systems-building and hygiene transformation is financed through grants, and expansion of the system is dependent on grant finance. Increasingly less finance is needed over time, as community contributions increase, and as the structure normalises. However the programme has been requested to expand by an increasing number of districts in the country, and the central government has asked for roll-out planning. Grant finance is required for expansion, starting by consolidating work in the five districts already engaged, then moving to build capacity in further districts.
Grant finance is generally short term, while successful completion of steps to sustainability requires a longer term approach. Grant finance is essential as risk-finance and pre-finance to prove innovative approaches, to establish impact monitoring systems, to finance knowledge sharing, and to generate initial concrete results and social impacts that can be verified. It is needed to trigger activity in each district as the programme rolls out. However a second financing mode is needed to follow the pre-finance period and ensure that sustainable structures are fully established. Whave has worked with the Gold Standard Foundation to develop international results-based finance systems for reliable clean water supply and transformation of hygiene, embodied in the Water Access and WASH methodology under the GSF Water Benefit Standard. Following this methodology, the programme monitors clearly defined indicators which measure steps to sustainability, with results checked through field visits by international 3rd party auditing companies, and verified by auditing companies and by the Gold Standard Foundation. These indicators allow aid agencies and investors to track the impacts achieved, to track progress toward sustainability and progress toward stable and functional public-private systems which provide safe water security independently of external finance and external organizational intervention. Programme disbursements are made, during this second phase of “sustainability-based finance”, according to results achieved. This ensures that all further monies, following the grant period, flow on the basis of actual verified results and increasing proximity of full sustainability.
Whave is promoting local manufacture of traditional ceramic drinking pots fitted with taps. This avoids contamination from scooping water from the pot, which is the conventional method. This prototype is being tested at Whave HQ by Joel Mukanga, our senior Community Development Officer.
Here the members of two neighbouring Water and Sanitation Committees (WSCs) are learning to keep accounts and preventative maintenance logs. Whave is introducing mobile banking to WSCs to reduce the excessive cost of traditional banking for rural communities. The WSC functionality is included in the Results-based Financing structure and prepares for effective public regulation of future rural water services.
The Safe Water Security Pilot establishes incentives for private sector WASH service providers to maintain water sources in working condition. Piped sources like this one in peri-urban areas, are subject to contamination from reverse leakage in pipes. A WSP takes care to avoid such problems in order to secure income.
Through the five districts the programme operates, the average hygiene level measured in baseline studies was 38%, now the average is over 53% and the programme aims to achieve 100%. Yerusa Nyaruwa is the nursing assistant at Namalemba Health Centre. She said she had noticed a drop in hygiene-related cases in recent months.
Engineer Makinabu Yahaya (on the left) is the acting District Water Officer and District Water Engineer in Luuka. Here he talks with Ralph Burden of Busoga Trust and Joel Mukanga of Whave. Busoga Trust supports the Safe Water Security programme through installation and rehabilitation of hand-pumps.
Contaminated water is regularly used by many communities who have benefitted from water access programmes and have improved clean water sources installed. Surveys and anecdotal information from field workers indicate that extended repair times (down-times) are so common that daily operational reliability is on average 60% and well below in some areas. Health benefits are not being realised despite investments in access infrastructure.
Our pilot work in 2013-4 has resulted in the signing of 150 WASH service agreements in five districts in eastern and central Uganda. Daily operational reliability of over 99% has been achieved, a huge step from endemic intermittent functionality and long repair times, which previously forced people back to contaminated sources. We are now focusing on sub-county Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in two model districts (Kamuli and Luuka) and extending the programme into northern areas of Uganda.
Musoke Moses is the Assistant District Water Officer in Luuka. Here he explains to one of the District Heath Assistants, Wetenga Elizabeth, how he has stimulated Water User Committees (WSCs) to become functional by integrating water accounts with savings and loan schemes. He says: "disbanded WSCs are one of our main problems. I am glad Whave is integrating Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) with WASH funds, as this is a good way to motivate WSCs and stimulate willingness to pay water tariffs for O&M".
Semu is a WASH Service Provider in Bukanga sub-county, Luuka District. He has 12 communities in his concession and hopes to service up to 20 communities in the coming year. He says: "Busoga Trust helps us by always getting some model homes built while they are rehabilitating or installing the pump; then they hand over to us service providers and we work with Whave on preventive maintenance and hygiene and water quality. I make sure more model homes are built with all the amenities, including hand-washing, then I take the other families to see them and see how to build latrines and wash containers.
Charles Kibumba is one of several WASH Service Providers under contract. He currently holds a concession of 19 communities supplied with wells and hand-pumps in Namalemba sub-county, Iganga district. As his concession grows in size, Charles plans to hire assistants and create a rural water service company. When Charles was interviewed he said: "the WASH Service Provider must see that the pump is working, every day, the whole week, the month, the whole year. If the water in the pump gets contaminated, and if there is too little sanitation in the community, there is less money for me."
Some households wash their jerry can regularly, using coffee leaves and water as an astringent and shaking the resulting foam with grit and gravel. Semu explains: " This method works well and our job as WSP is to get all the households doing this every week. Clean jerry cans is one of the indicators that gets homes into the Low Risk category. Its easy to check whether they are being cleaned or not. We earn our monthly fee from the number of Low Risk homes".
Testing of water quality, at every source, and in homes in every community, is a core activity under the Safe water Security Programme. Whave is investigating portable testing methods which show visible indicators to water users. Regular testing informs decisions as to where filters and additives are necessary, and where they are not necessary. Testing also provides data on where contamination occurs within the safe water chain, and provides a basis for incentives for prevention of contamination.
Adam Harvey presents the safe water security policy paper at the UN conference COP19 in November 2013.
Safe Water Security: Village-scale Water Purification Plant
Office: Office: Second Floor above Starmax Interiors, Lukuli Road, Makindye, Kampala, Uganda
Postal Address: POBox 72305, Kampala, Uganda