Promoting Rainwater Harvesting Solutions in Kenya
Learning and Innovation Network for Knowledge and Solutions (LINK) Kenya
How might we assure sustainable access to water in arid parts of Africa?
Dr. Kennedy Mwetu, an agricultural engineer from Kenyatta University, and his research team, wondered: Could there be a faster, more efficient and sustainable approach to scaling rainwater harvesting systems in Kenya’s drylands? Dr. Mwetu and his team requested GKI’s support in building a network to confront this conundrum. GKI’s work with the LINK Kenya team began by clarifying the institutions and resources already at play, so that the network could fill unmet gaps. A 2013 stakeholder workshop highlighted an unaddressed opportunity: developing viable business models for rainwater harvesting systems. Specifically, we need to better understand return on investment of these solutions to unlock financing and build the market case. Honing in on this need, GKI engaged a renowned US-based agricultural expert, who traveled to Kenya to conduct fieldwork alongside the LINK team. Their work focused on filling data gaps to clarify return on investment for rainwater harvesting systems. To support this effort, GKI trained 20 Kenyatta University students in qualitative research methods and provided them a rare opportunity to practice their skills in the field. Efforts to develop business models for rainwater harvesting systems are still ongoing.
Results / Outcomes
- Produced novel research into the many rainwater harvesting options available and the business case for different ones in various contexts to guide partnership formation and network alignment
- Hosted Dr. Mwetu at the 2012 Africa Collaboration Colloquium and organized partnership meetings at Penn State University
- Trained Dr. Mwetu and his team on collaborative innovation methods and tools
- Led multiple in-person strategy sessions with the LINK team and network members
- Raised awareness about the opportunities and challenges of rainwater harvesting throughout Kenya and more broadly