Richard Mutua is from Kenya, East Africa. He has been working in the field of water for many years and currently he is working at the Kenya Water Partnership as Executive Secretary. The Kenya Water Partnership is the national focal point of the Global Water Partnership, based in Stockholm, Sweden. In Kenya, Richard is responsible for the day-to–day activities. ‘’We promote the implementation of Integrated water Resource Management bringing stakeholders together to dialogue on various issues including partnering on water projects in our areas of our concern.’’
Richard heard about IHE Delft from partners of the Global Water Partnership some of whom had been students at IHE Delft. They told him that IHE Delft was the place to be if he wanted to critically study water issues. He then researched on the Internet and read the curriculum and programme of IHE Delft where he discovered that the programme was very rich and therefore was motivated to apply and benefit from it.
“In Kenya we experience various problems in the field of water resources. The areas that have good water services are the urban areas. There is a huge population that have no access to water services; most Kenyans (85%) live in the rural areas. It is difficult to provide water services, it costs a lot and it needs leadership, planning and proper management. Urbanization is creating a problem, because water bodies are polluted. This is a challenge. In addition we have several other challenges. How do we get the water to the people? You need energy to pump the water from underground water sources. Furthermore, we have issues with our ecosystem, our rivers are heavily polluted, because of the urbanization, everyone is looking upstream. We also have transboundary issues, each county would like to have their own water resources, when it is moving to another county it is creating conflict.’’
Richard always had an interest in water and dealing with water issues. “The passion for water came about 15 years ago when I realized that Water is an important prerequisite for development. I was working in a University-supported Programme dubbed Social Ministry Research Network Centre (SOMIRENEC) where was supporting students who graduated from the Institute to start projects of human development. Some of these projects were agriculture-related and I found myself supporting farmers to achieve sustainable livelihoods. It is then that I realized water and its quality was very important for development.
About studying at IHE Delft: ‘’within a short time, there is a lot to learn. One needs a lot of absorption capacity to cope. You have to get used to the pressure and adjust. The teaching style is very good.’’
My goals when I am finishing studying: ‘’I would like to go back and face the water challenges facing my country and region this time with renewed zeal and empowered mind. Hopefully to be a champion of change for our people living in both rural and urban areas. Our people need to understand that the action of people living upstream can have serious impact to those living downstream. Dialogue between them is therefore of utmost importance. A person flushing a toilet in the city affects the health of a person living downstream who draws his/her water for domestic use raw and therefore there must be dialogue between these two people. I would like to see dialogue between people who are living downstream and upstream.’’ When Richard finishes his studies he would like to work in his home country, but also in the Nile basin.
On life in Delft: “I really like Delft and the canals. People are friendly and supportive.’’