The Mau Mara Serengeti Sustainable Water Initiative (MaMaSe) was recently awarded an 8 million Euro grant by the Dutch embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. The four-year project will improve water safety and security in the Mara River Basin in support of structural poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth, and conservation of the basin’s forest and rangeland ecosystems.
The MaMaSe Sustainable Water Initiative is aimed at improving water safety and security in the Mara River Basin (MRB) to support structural poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth, and conservation of the basin’s world-renowned ecosystems. We will pursue this through a broad-based, basin-scale public-private-partnership (PPP) designed to empower people and promote self-reliance. We will address all five solutions specified in the application requirements, working in all of the basin’s landscapes and focusing on improved water management in the main economic activities of the basin: agriculture, cattle ranching, and wildlife-based tourism. A single, well-coordinated initiative will enable the basin-scale interconnection of knowledge, policies, institutions, markets, and good practices that is required for structural poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth, and ecosystem conservation. It will also provide a platform for the engagement of new partners (Kenyan and international) and a systematic expansion of activities that further benefit the basin and its people.
The SWMM Fund has created an extraordinary opportunity for a diverse consortium of International (mainly Dutch) and Kenyan partners to combine their knowledge, expertise, networks, and resources to improve water safety and security in the MRB. The consortium consists of partners from government, civil society, the private sector, NGOs, and knowledge institutions. Our approach includes activities to 1) update the official Catchment Management Strategy and specific Sub-Catchment management plans for the MRB, 2) strengthen the capacity of water authorities to effectively implement the strategy and plans, 3) support the protection and restoration of forest and rangeland ecosystems, 4) identify and pilot new and more sustainable forms of economic development, 5) increase and stabilize the financial resources needed to support the move to sustainable development, and 6) learn from our experiences and make this knowledge and the tools to implement it available for wider application in the MRB and across the region.
The four-year project will start on 1 January 2014 and is led by UNESCO-IHE. Consortium partners include Egerton University, GiZ, HSBC Bank, ITC/TU Twente, Kenya Water Resources Management Authority, Mara farming, Waterschap Brabantse Delta, SNV, Wageningen UR and WWF Kenya.
Professor Michael McClain will act as project leader of the MaMaSe initiative. He previously led the 'Environmental Flows for People and Ecosystems in the Mara River Basin' project to better understand the relationship between the flow regime of the Mara River Basin and aquatic ecosystem processes that maintain water quality in the river channel and the productivity of papyrus and selected fish species in the wetland.