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USAID WA-WASH to enhance human resources capacities in water, sanitation and hygiene, food security and adaptation to climate change in West Africa

USAID WA-WASH program held a Capacity Building Forum July 16-18, 2012, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The major objective of the Forum was to coordinate Capacity Building Activities among the USAID WA-WASH partners and to present the Program Capacities Building Framework to the various stakeholders. The Program seeks to develop capacity in WASH, food security and Climate Change sectors.

It was an ambitious Forum organized by IRC, IWA, UNESCO-IHE and FIU through the Regional Office in Ouagadougou. It started with a meeting among 45 representatives of the ten partners of USAID WA-WASH Program (BPD, CARE, FIU, IRC, IWA, RAIN, SKAT, UNESCO-IHE, WATERAID and WINROCK).

The program included presentations of different assessments conducted by IWA in collaboration with local consultants to identify capacity gaps and human resources shortages in the WASH sector in Burkina Faso. During the three days, presentations, group work and plenary discussions took place. It was an opportunity for all the USAID WA-WASH partners to get an overview of each other activities. These activities cover several approaches and concepts, such as Multiple Use Services, Gender, Retention recharge et re-use , Decentralization, Service Delivery Approach, Life Cycle Cost Approach, Self-Supply, Community Vulnerability to Climate Change and Food Security, Community Led Total Sanitation, Point of Use treatment.

The last day, the Burkinabe stakeholders were invited to join the Forum, in order to share their view on the USAID WA-WASH Capacity Building Framework. Over 80 persons participated in the debate, discussing how the sector can best benefit from those activities and seeking ways to institutionalize the capacity building content developed under WA WASH to ensure it survives the Program.

One lesson learned, was that capacitating each other in the course of the Program is a first mechanism to leverage the impact of the project and to ensure the sustainability of the approaches and tools developed by the Program.

The discussion made clear that the target groups are various and cover a large spectrum of stakeholders from the local level to the regional level. The academic institutions have also a key role to play in institutionalizing part of this capacity building effort.

In conclusion, the capacity building Forum was a good opportunity for the USAID WA-WASH partners to identify areas of collaboration in capacity building activities that each partner will be implementing. It gave the participants an exposure to the WASH sector and allowed them to share ideas on how to ensure that the USAID WA-WASH capacity building Framework will cover capacity gaps and needs in Burkina Faso.