Water Operators Partnerships seek to accelerated improvements in the performance of Water Supply Services (WSS) operators through knowledge exchange and partnerships between operators. WOPs partnership between Ogun State Water Corporation (OGSWC), Abeokuta, Nigeria and National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), Kampala culminated into a performance improvement programme (PIP) and Internally Delegated Area Management Contracts (IDAMCs), which emphasize operational autonomy, use of incentives and effective monitoring and evaluation to enhance performance and financial sustainability. It was a able to deliver substantially the original priority theme set at the WOP Johannesburg workshop 24th-26th April 2007.
Gaps were identified; particularly inadequate mentor institutions hence broader based network of water utilities required for multiple exchanges' and benchmarking, sustenance of existing partnerships and encouragement of more mentor institutions are recommended.
The Paper also looks further into other budding WOP initiative especially under the Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA) between NWSC and South Sudan Urban Water Corporation for capacity development of the latter.
More WOPs are emerging in Africa, thanks to the SUWASA program especially the Nigerian projects in Bauchi, Ebonyi and Rivers State promoting study tours and future partnerships with Swaziland and Zambia WASH sector
The latest WOP program was consummated between Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company and the Ebonyi State Water Corporation Abakaliki Nigeria in April 2014. It has taken off with instant impact, achieving what years of consultancy could not produce.
Results and Discussion (within the context of WOP Africa's five priority themes) Evaluation Matrices for NWSC AND OGSWC
Outcomes of the NWSC and South Sudan Water Corporation Capacity Building Program
As a result of this training, staff members are mastering the importance of detail, data recording and optimization when operating a plant, and have become more proficient at repairing electrical and mechanical equipment. They were also able to establish a troubleshooting guide tailored for each process unit, and to update the operation and maintenance manuals for Wau and Maridi.
SUWASA AND EMERGING WOPS
SUWASA is raising the WOP game in Africa. The three SUWASA projects in Nigeria namely Bauchi, Ebonyi and River States project have initiated bold WOP arrangement with Swazi and Zambia Water and Sanitation sector. Several study tours by WASH policy makers and Utility managers from the three States have been conducted. The Swazi Water Utility professionals have visited the Bauchi Water Corporation on a mentor assessment visit. The study tour of Zambia by policy makers in Ebonyi and Rivers have elicited much positive reactions because of the peer challenge occasioned by the obvious comparative advantage of the hosts WASH institutions. In the months to come, further deeper partnership will be fostered.
The latest WOP program was consummated between Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company and the Ebonyi State Water Corporation with instant impact. A performance improvement program has been birthed in EBSWC. The LWSC team led by the CEO, George Ndongwe visited Abakaliki to conduct a diagnostic visit and inaugurate the performance improvement plan. The impact was instant. For the first time, the corporation is keeping records and measuring performance. LWSC team are due to return to evaluate the PIP. EBSWC staff will in turn travel to Lusaka for face to face training on some key functional areas
In conclusion, the culture of performance monitoring and evaluation as key management tools has begun. The OGSWC staff have appreciated the notion that "if you cannot measure, you cannot manage"there is increased feeling of ownership and development of sense of belonging amongst management and staff of OGSWC and a new customer focused corporate philosophy has emerged. Another great feedback is that OGSWC has been selected to mentor another Nigerian water utility under the Nigeria WOPs.
* Lack of adequate Mentor Institutions
* Lack of Finance to strengthen the process
* Over stretched capacity of the few willing mentor institutions
* A broader based network of water utilities required for multiple exchanges' and benchmarking
* Existing partnerships to be sustained
* More mentor institutions to be encouraged
* An on-line web-based interactive network for utility professionals in long overdue
* WOP Africa is required to step up its activities in capacity building, more funding is required
* Nigeria should be brought into the loop; there are 36 water utilities in Nigeria needing reform through partnerships