Seychelles is a Small Island Developing State with a population of 91,000. This presents challenges with respect to the capacity of the population to provide trained and experienced water sector specialists to support water security across Seychelles.
The resource efficiency programme for the Seychelles water sector (REPSWS), supported by the European Union, is an accompanying measure to a major water & wastewater programme funded by the European Investment Bank and Agence Francaise de Developpement, working with the Seychelles Public Utilities Corporation (PUC). It addressed three key challenges in the Seychelles water sector:
The programme design was developed to maximise capacity building within the PUC, through for example, staff training and development activities. However, once operational, REPSWS adopted an outcome focussed, proactive and adaptable approach that sought to amplify capacity building opportunities. These were not just focussed on the PUC, but took a wider perspective including working with other state institutions and donor funded projects.
Activities associated with capacity development included, for example, strengthening PUC capability in hydrological and water resources analysis through staff training sessions. This was facilitated through the selection of water resources planning software that was both appropriate to the needs of the project, but that provided a sustainable platform going forward.
REPSWS proactively sought collaboration and capacity development opportunities with other state institutions. For example, REPSWS facilitated a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Seychelles National Meteorological Service (NMS) and the PUC regarding the future operation of new REPSWS funded meteorological stations. The NMS were fully engaged in all aspects of the siting, specification, installation and commissioning of these instruments, and were in receipt of appropriate training. This aligned the REPSWS investment to where it would deliver maximum returns to the Seychelles science base and into later policy development.
Coordination activities were initiated by REPSWS with other donor funded projects, supported by the Government of Seychelles. Outcomes from this included activity sharing, for example a MoU was signed with a parallel project on results sharing from a social survey on water use. These results were directly used by REPSWS to refine initial, assumption based, demand projections. This directlt strengthened these results to inform policy recommendations around demand management.
The successes presented here demonstrate that adopting an outcome focussed, collaborative and adaptable approach delivers benefits that can extend beyond the immediate technical and institutional scope of a project or programme. Additionally, seeking mutual benefit through the understanding of shared objectives in a collaborative manner, can result in benefits for all those concerned. Programme design should recognise those and seek to move away from a process based approach to capacity building and adopt an outcome focussed approach that takes a wider and longer term perspective to capacity development. This needs to be centred on the most appropriate institutions and individuals, strengthening the science-technology base to support future policy development.