Science for Impact @ PROVIDE

'Provide for Impact' contributes to the understanding and improvement of environmental infrastructures, notably in sanitation and solid waste management. This initiative is an extension of the INREF funded Partnership for Research on Viable Environmental Infrastructure Development in East Africa (PROVIDE), in which ran in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and The Netherlands from 2006 to 2012. The key partners of were Wageningen University, ARDHI University in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya; and Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

What was the problem?

'Provide for Impact' brought together scientists in the fields of environmental policy, environmental technology, development economics and environmental system analysis to establish relationships with key societal actors and institutions involved in the design, maintenance and use of the urban waste and sanitation infrastructures and chains in East Africa.

While scientific results had been published and PhD students had graduated from the PROVIDE programme, there remained a need to go beyond the scientific outcomes to ensure 'modernized mixtures' of traditional and innovative policies, practices and technologies for solid waste and sanitation in urban settings would be acheived over the long term.

What did we do?

“Provide for Impact” contributed to sustainable urban waste and sanitation infrastructure development by strengthening the established academic and policy networks of East African partners, by:

  • Contributing to the curricula of environmental management, engineering and planning at the universities of Kenyatta, Ardhi and Makerere to integrate the theoretical insights and methodologies of the interdisciplinary PROVIDE approach towards urban waste and sanitation management in East African cities.
  • Establishing an East African inter-university and local government network for sustainable urban waste and sanitation in Kampala, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
  • Supporting collaborative research and education on urban waste and sanitation.

The project was funded by INREF Wageningen University and ran from January 2014 to August 2015.

What happened?

We identifies target programmes at universities to revise according to the insights of the Provide project. Although all three universities run programmes that could use inputs from the Provide project, it was also clear that such revisions would take considerable time and effort to materialize.

We first extended the PROVIDE network to local governments, NGOs and universities.

Second, we installed a board for the new Provide network to plan and execute common research and education activities on waste and sanitation in urban East Africa. This led to the orgasnisation of a certificate course on water, waste and sanitation, firstly at IPH Makarere University in Kampala, in June/July 2015, followed by a similar course should be hosted in Kenya (Kenyatta University) and Tanzania (Ardhi University). The course should involve guest lecturers and tutors from the entire Provide network.

Third, we enables exchange of staff and students between the three East African Universities with the goal of increasing collaboration in the form of a shared certificate course like the one this project has developed and discussed.

Bas van Vliet and Astrid Hendriksen will continue to contribute to the PROVIDE network throughteaching and assessing fieldwork activities during the course.

Who did we influence?

Together with his hosts in Kampala, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Bas van Vliet gave several presentations about the book and the Provide project findings at university and government staff meetings. Such presentations and discussions were also held at Wageningen University, IRC in The Hague and EAWAG/Sandec in Zurich.  

Through their involvement in the extended network, existing and new partners from universities, local governments and NGOs have taken up collaborative projects and consultancies on urban waste and sanitation in East Africa.

Through their teaching in the certificate course in Kampala, project partners have made connections with IPH staff, government institutions in Kampala and with new students. Students have applied concepts of integrative thinking in sanitation in their field work projects which were commissioned by local and national government institutions and NGOs in Kampala.

What to read more?

Urban waste and sanitation services for sustainable development: harnessing social and technical diversity in East Africa (2014) Vliet, B. van, Buuren, J. van, Mgana, S. London: Routledge.

Assessing sanitary mixtures in East African cities. Letema, S.C. (2012) Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Jules van Lier, co-promotor(en): Bas van Vliet. ISBN 9789461734136.