Strengthening Water and Sanitation Systems in Yemen
Yemen faces natural water shortages because of its geographic location. The problem is exacerbated by weak institutional arrangements in the water and sanitation sector. Yemen is striving to address those challenges and achieve sustainable and efficient use of its water resources, which in turn can help the country’s economic development. Upon Yemen’s request, the World Bank connected Yemen with Uganda, which has extensive experience in private sector participation and improving the performance of public institutions in the water supply and sanitation sector. Using funding provided by the South-South Experience Exchange Facility, 22 high-ranking Yemeni water officials participated in a week-long study tour to Uganda, involving training sessions, group discussions, and site visits.
“The experience was eye-opening for the Yemeni participants—that a poor country like Uganda has developed its own home-grown public water supply system that functions based on private-sector system that is one of the best in the world,” said Bekele Debele Negewo, Senior Water Resources Specialist at the World Bank.
Learning from the long and challenging path to reform in Uganda, the Yemeni delegates understood that while changes in the water sector take time and effort, they are not impossible and are extremely beneficial to the public. Thus the exchange promised to help the Yemeni officials improve operations of the different government departments. The participants also gained deeper understanding of how to set up concession contracts and implement innovative business solutions to enhance day-to-day operations. In a survey taken at the end of the exchange, 95 percent of the participants said that the course was tailored to meet their job needs and included clearly stated learning outcomes and relevant presentations and training sessions.
A delegation of 22 senior Yemeni water utility managers and Finance Ministry officials participated in a week-long learning tour to Uganda's National Water and Sanitation Corporation (NWSC) in November 2010. Classroom discussions, field visits, and consultations with field workers and customers gave Yemeni water managers and professionals practical exposure on how to improve the public water sector, including making it financially sustainable and operationally efficient.
The program started with two days of training sessions, which included presentations, lectures, focus-group discussions, and question and answer (Q&A) sessions. The facilitators encouraged interaction among participants, enabling them to critically examine and visualize the case studies and discuss strategies for tackling different work–related situations.
On the third day, the participants visited the City Branch and Kitintale Branch of the Kampala water utility, where they saw the practical implementation of the issues discussed in the plenary sessions. The topics covered included centre management, customer care services, and price setting. On the next day, the participants visited the NWSC facilities in Jinja, as well as the source of the Nile and the Bujagali Falls. The Yemeni also met with NWSC Board members, including the Chairperson of the Technical Committee and the Director of Water Development. This encounter gave the delegation more in-depth knowledge on how such a board operates.
The Yemeni delegation then participated in a wrap-up session, during which they completed an evaluation questionnaire to determine the effectiveness of the training. The questionnaire also provided an opportunity for independent participant assessment and useful feedback for the trainers. At the end of the program, participants received certificates recognizing their training experience and commitment to continued learning.