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Building a Water Secure Future: Highlights from the NRAF Workshop with LuWSI Partners

An intensive three-day training workshop was held for Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) partners from the 22nd to the 24th of May at Twangale Park in Lusaka. This diverse group of participants, spanning public, private sectors, and civil society, gathered to deepen their understanding of the Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework (NRAF), a cornerstone of GIZ’s Natural Resources Stewardship (NatuReS) programme and a comprehensive approach to multi-stakeholder partnership development.

The primary objective of the workshop was to equip LuWSI partners with a deep understanding of the NRAF partnership development process and its various components.Through a series of interactive sessions, discussions, and hands-on activities participants were provided with practical insights on how the NRAF framework can be applied to establish new multi-stakeholder partnerships or strengthen existing ones such as LuWSI. The goal of these partnerships is to sustainably safeguard natural resources.

The training was tailored to address the unique needs and challenges faced by multi-stakeholder partnerships such as LuWSI, ensuring a relevant and impactful learning experience.

Comprehensive Understanding of NRAF

Participants were introduced to the foundational principles of the NRAF, exploring its theoretical underpinnings and practical applications. The framework emphasizes a collaborative approach to managing natural resources, integrating diverse stakeholder perspectives to address complex environmental challenges effectively.

Group Work Copyright@GIZ

Practical Application Sessions

A significant portion of the workshop was dedicated to hands-on sessions where participants practiced applying NRAF principles and tools to real-world scenarios. These practical sessions were particularly well-received, allowing attendees to translate theoretical knowledge into actionable strategies. By working through selected scenarios, participants gained valuable insights into the intricacies of partnership development and resource management.

Group Work Copyright@GIZ

Collective Leadership and Shared Experiences

Another key component of the workshop was the focus on collective leadership. Participants engaged in sessions that highlighted the importance of collaborative leadership in driving successful partnerships. These sessions were also enriched by experiences and case studies from other NatuReS countries and partnerships, providing a broader perspective on the application of NRAF in diverse contexts.

Participant Feedback

The training workshop was met with enthusiastic feedback from participants, who appreciated the comprehensive and practical nature of the sessions. The opportunity to delve into the NRAF elements and practice their application was highlighted as a standout feature of the workshop. Additionally, the collective leadership session and the sharing of experiences from other NatuReS initiatives were praised for their relevance and inspiration.

By providing a thorough understanding of the NRAF and facilitating practical application, the workshop has empowered participants to contribute more effectively to the stewardship of natural resources in Lusaka and Zambia. This collaborative effort underscores the critical importance of integrated, multi-sectoral approaches in addressing water security and other environmental challenges related to natural resources.

Celebrating the wins in water stewardship

In a remarkable celebration of commitment to water stewardship, the Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) has awarded the prestigious 2023 Water Stewardship Award to North Western Water Supply & Sanitation Company Limited. This accolade was presented during the esteemed National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) 2023 Sector Report launch at the Mulungushi International Conference Center on 12th April 2024.

North Western Water Supply & Sanitation Company receiving their award from the Minister of Water Development and Sanitation. Copyright LuWSI

The award shines a spotlight on the company’s exemplary efforts in water stewardship, highlighting their significant contributions. These efforts are not just confined to their immediate catchment area but extend beyond, setting a benchmark for others in the industry.

A rigorous evaluation process, conducted by LuWSI partners such as World Wide Fund for Nature (WFF), GIZ’s Natural Resources Stewardship (NatuReS) Programme, National Water Supply and Sanitation Company (NWASCO) and the LuWSI secretariat underpinned the selection of the winner. The criteria encompassed a range of indicators from documentation of commitment to ecosystem protection, pollution prevention, energy efficiency and active participation in catchment governance.

Utility evaluation exercise at Nkana Water Supply and Sanitation Company
Utility evaluation exercise at Nkana Water Supply and Sanitation Company. Copyright GIZ

This recognition underscores the vital role commercial utilities play in water and environmental stewardship, transcending traditional sector boundaries. As Mr. Curtis Muleya, a key figure in the development of the stewardship awards, aptly noted, “Commercial Utilities, though not explicitly mandated to engage in ecological matters, are inherently linked to the environment as the primary source of water.”

Initiated in January 2018, the Water Stewardship Award aims to foster, acknowledge, and encourage exemplary water stewardship practices among utilities and companies in Zambia. It serves as a beacon of inspiration, urging corporations to prioritize sustainability and responsible resource management.

As we share this news, let’s take a moment to reflect on the importance of water stewardship and commend those leading the way in safeguarding our planet’s most precious resource. Congratulations to North Western Water Supply & Sanitation Company Limited for setting a stellar example for all!

Industrial parks South Africa – today, tomorrow together

On 19th September 2020 the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) in collaboration with National Treasury, National Cleaner Production Centre-South Africa (NCPC-SA) and GIZ Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) hosted the first Industrial Parks Futures Dialogue under the theme Progress and Charting of the Way Forward for the Industrial Parks Revitalisation Programme. This event was followed by the National Eco-Industrial Park Day on 12 October 2023 (National EIP Day) which was jointly hosted by NCPC-SA and the dtic. NatuReS participated at the National EIP Day and presented on Rethinking Industrial Parks in South Africa. Both events were attended by over 80 delegates respectively and they provided a formidable platform to map out the current challenges and interventions around industrial parks in South Africa. Additionally, the two events enabled discourse and ideation on innovating solutions to unlock the development potential of industrial parks in the country.  To this end, this article seeks to synthesise and capture the discussions and insights generated by outlining the current landscape, discussing what could be done and how can we collectively overcome the existing challenges in industrial areas.

Flyer industrial parks futures dialogue ©Amanda Nyingwa

Today – the  current landscape

The current picture of public-owned industrial parks and economic zones ( for purpose of article collectively referred to as industrial areas) in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa is not encouraging Industrial areas struggle with attracting and retaining tenants, contributing towards employment creation and with implementing measures to overcome the fundamental obstacles to industrialisation in a particular country.  In particular, industrial areas in South Africa are confronted with a myriad of climate and environmental risks which disrupt their operational abilities.  As pointed out in Dr Lawrence’s presentation at the National EIP Day, the severe flooding which affected the Prospecton Industrial Area in Durban Kwa-Zulu Natal province, where the Toyota manufacturing plant is also located resulted in a 25 week shut down and an estimated of 68,600 vehicles being destroyed.

Screenshot Industrial Parks Futures Dialogue ©Amanda Nyingwa

Tomorrow – what can be done and where to for industrial areas

A business unusual approach is required to turn around the current reality of industrial parks. This was the sentiment echoed by presenters at both events. To realise this endeavour, it is important to address inadequacies in key basic factors needed for successfully running industrial areas. Basic factors include governance and institutional arrangements, financing, safety and security along with other factors. Additionally, industrial areas need to seize new opportunities brought on by technology and move towards eco-industrial development if they are to overcome current challenges.

Stakeholder attending National EIP Day © NCPC-SA

Together – how can this all be realised

To tackle the current challenges faced by industrial parks and take advantage of new opportunities, multistakeholder partnerships were recognised as critical catalytic platforms in both events. In addition, knowledge and information-sharing sessions were also identified as key pillars. This underscored the importance of platforms like the National EIP Day and Industrial Parks Futures Dialogue as critical spaces for bringing together sector stakeholders as well as facilitating dialogue and discourse which has the potential to realise impactful multistakeholder partnerships.   The content covered in the two events highlighted that South Africa’s goal towards globally connected, regionally integrated and locally relevant will not be an easy one. Several key steps will be required in order to address the bottlenecks however, there are a range of opportunities to be exploited including the EIP concept for transitioning industrial parks into green industrial spaces. Furthermore, multistakeholder partnerships are emerging as critical vehicles for addressing challenges. On the subject of multistakeholder partnerships, NatuReS developed the  Natural Resources Risks and Action Framework which serves as a supportive toolbox to tackle shared risks together with stakeholders from affected businesses, communities, and governments.

Dr Faith Lawrence speaking at National EIP Day ©NCPC-SA

Improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in South African schools through cross-sectoral partnership

There is a growing recognition of how poor environmental conditions, particularly lack of access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), negatively affect the most vulnerable – children’s health and, as a result, their school performance. However, these issues are all interlinked. For example, lack of toilets leads to the contamination of water resources; and without clean water, basic hygiene practices cannot be followed.

hand washing
Access to WASH is particularly important in schools, for kids to learn in a safe environment. Image by Freepik

Improving WASH in Schools requires collaborative effort

Understanding and addressing these complex interactions requires diverse and nuanced perspectives from a range of stakeholders and a concerted and collaborative effort to address these challenges across sectors. In the South African context, there are myriad challenges to providing adequate WASH in schools. To complicate matters, different challenges to WASH access and infrastructure pose different challenges and risks at different ages, and for different genders. Younger children, for instance, are at risk of drowning in pit latrines that are not properly managed and maintained. Young girls face numerous challenges related to menstrual hygiene and access to sanitary products. All of this means that providing access to adequate WASH facilities is not only a human rights issue, but an issue of dignity.

Progress towards adequate WASH has been made – but more is needed

While the proportion of people with access to an improved water source has increased, the standards of this access have not been maintained at the same rate, and the proportion of people with access to a water service that is “available when needed” has actually decreased. Recent surveys have also shown that progress on sanitation provision has stalled, with reaching the final 20% proving to be the most difficult to address.

community facilities South Africa
While significant progress has made in providing WASH facilities in communities, backlogs remain. Pictured are community facilities in a South African neighbourhood. Copyright: GIZ/Douglas Momberg

Although backlogs remain, significant progress has been made in providing WASH facilities in communities and schools. For example, over the past decade, children’s access to WASH facilities has increased significantly, largely due to increased urbanisation. In addition, the private sector has been very active in this area, supporting WASH in Schools (WinS), water loss reduction, water access and water quality issues.

A cross-sectoral partnership to strengthen WASH in Schools

To support this progress, NatuReS is partnering with GIZ’s DeveloPPP project, which oversees development partnerships with the private sector, in this case consumer packaged goods company Unilever, to implement systemic approaches to improve WASH in Schools in South Africa. 

Applying the globally proven Fit for School approach, the initiative aims to strengthen operations and maintenance activities in schools, address challenges related to menstrual health and hygiene, and bolster pandemic preparedness and response plans. The team has identified 12 schools in two provinces (Eastern Cape and Gauteng) to pilot and model this approach in urban informal settings.

A joint way forward

Exciting developments include initial meetings with schools, local communities, and provincial and district education officials during August, with a Fit for School intervention tailored to the South African context to be launched in September 2023. Watch this space for updates!