Finding Resilient Waters in the dry lands of Botswana By Robyn Tompkins

JG Afrika JG Afrika





JG Afrika’s Botswana office is continuing to demonstrate its expertise in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector as a participant in many key projects.

One such project is the US$32,7 million Southern Africa Resilient Waters Program (RWP), on which JG Afrika is a subcontractor to Chemonics International. This project is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and focuses mainly on the Okavango and Limpopo River basin areas, which constitute as much as 75% of the geographical footprint of the programme, with the balance including areas that are connected to these systems.

The WASH component is just one of the four integrated key objectives of the programme that will ensure that a holistic approach to building resilience in basin communities is applied to this vast area.

A major imperative is strengthening institutional and governance capacities to ensure the sustainability of the proposed resilience mechanisms, particularly in transboundary institutions.

Because they are reliant on the natural resources of the river basin, communities in these areas are extremely vulnerable to climate shocks and the team’s brief therefore includes finding alternative means of creating sustainable livelihoods.

Robust monitoring and evaluation models will ensure that experiences and learning are integrated into all of the other components of the programme. As part of this focus area, my team will also assess the suitability of many of the technologies and models that have greatly improved monitoring and evaluation, as well as service delivery in other regions of the continent.

We also partnered The Coca-Cola Foundation’s (TCCF) Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) and Botswana’s Ministry of Basic Education to improve handwashing behaviour, knowledge and accessibility for over 25 000 students and teachers throughout Botswana.

The initiative is centred around the use of a toolkit comprising 12 lessons focused on basic WASH education, planning and monitoring of water use and performance. The toolkit and its implementation are managed by students who voluntarily serve as leaders on the School WASH Management Team, with support from teachers and school administrations.

WASH Management Teams monitor WASH conditions at schools, spread WASH knowledge among their peers, and serve as role models by demonstrating proper WASH practices. Through this structure, students are empowered to take responsibility for WASH at their school and encourage uptake of personal hygiene improvements.

We are also proud to be serving on the team of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations (UN) Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS).

The success of the GLAAS survey can be attributed to the systematic manner in which the team of WHO professionals collect data from over 100 countries worldwide, to highlight key areas that may require strengthening and identify best practice that could be implemented in other areas. Importantly, the outcome of and knowledge gained from the GLAAS survey data can be integrated into every component of the WASH sector.

The Botswana team, along with our Durban office team, was also honoured to receive the 2018 South African Institution of Civil Engineering National Award in the community-based projects category for its involvement in bringing a secure source of water to Habu.

Robyn Tompkins is an executive associate and manager of the Botswana office. She also recently led the JG Afrika team working on the USAID-funded Southern Africa Regional Environmental Program (SAREP) in the Okavango Basin.