World Bank gives Sh371m for water access to urban poor


World Bank Kenya country director Diarietou Gaye. FILE

The World Bank has given water service providers within Nairobi County a grant of $4.33 Million (Sh371 million) to increase access to water in informal settlements.

The grant facilitated by the multi-donor partnership, Global Partnership on Output Based Aid (GPOBA), will see 16,000 households get connected to the main sewer line as well as have safe water to drink.

World Bank Kenya country director Diarietou Gaye said the partnership will enable low income residents to access the essential services.

“The ultimate aim of this innovative financing mechanism is to ensure improved and affordable water and sewerage services for the urban poor in Kenya’s towns and cities,” she said during the signing of the agreement with the government.

Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) and the Athi Water Services Board will implement the social connections project over three years, increasing access to an estimated 80,000 low-income residents by June 2017.

Some of the areas earmarked for the project include Kayole-Soweto, Matopeni-Spring Valley and Embakasi-River Bank.

“The subsidies will enable urban utilities and planners to focus more on the needs of poor urban households and to invest more in water and sanitation infrastructure within the fast-expanding informal settlements,” she said.

The Sh371 million will help to subsidise up to 70 per cent of the cost of installing sewerage connections and cut the price of getting clean water supply by 40 per cent for each household.

The unsubsidised portion can be financed by deposits from the individual households, though eligible families can get five year loans from NCWCS through a mobile-based system of billing and payments. The company is expected to fund the project’s capital costs estimated at $7.2 million (Sh618 million).

GPOBA manager Carmen Nonay said the project would not only improve the health but also the productivity of the targeted residents.

“Building on a successful GPOBA pilot for community water projects financed by K-Rep Bank under its Maji ni Maisha programme, this project scales up the use of OBA (output based aid) in Kenya for improved sanitation, one of the less-tested sectors that GPOBA is increasingly supporting,” Ms Gaye said.