The F of FIETS has moved/cycled to Kajiado, Kenya


Following the official WASH launch by Jaco Mebius of the Netherlands Embassy, Fera Agricola of WASTE and me facilitated the training course on the F of this FIETS thing. Country coordinator Tobias ably assisted by the AMREF Kenya country office, made all the arrangements, to our and more important the participants’ satisfaction.

Kajiado is about 1 hour (fast car and no traffic) to 20 hours (on foot) from Nairobi. It comprises one main street Рcertainly not called like that – and a few side streets. It is in Masai country, in other words pastoralists land. These days they are also settling. Water seems to be the most pressing issue, though sanitation is gaining importance in the growing urban and rural centers.

Now coming to the F-training, we had engaged services of Maggie, a local well-connected financial consultant. She was to ensure that banks would join the programme, advice of local financials, to help in the preparation and to follow up after the workshop together with the participants.

The entire workshop went more or less per schedule, though we had to improvise a little as on day one, we had an interesting presentation by Elly Aguko of K-REP Bank that was programmed for day 3. Time keeping was reasonably good, though we had to shorten our last day by half. It being a Saturday and people wanting to go home, this did not come as much of a surprise. Thus the follow up plans were formulated at the end of day 2.

During the workshop innovative ideas were floated, such as a merry go around for schools and bio-centres to capitalize on the calorific value of human waste.

Akin to the F-trainings in Uganda, the expectations of participants were high. A mixture of presentations, discussions, films all related to demand generation, business opportunities, sustainable finance and FIETS cumulated in addressing these above questions. The knowledge was tested in a role-play: how does one make a business plan that is interesting enough for bank to become a financial partner. This was tested before one ex-banker (Maggie) and one banking actor (me), who are asking all sorts of bankers’ questions. But, and this was part of the game, we were also mean and rude, so we could test how they react to pressure, distractions and the like.

On the third day the role-play became real exercise, when Co-op Bank, Equity Bank and K-REP commented on the business plans. In one of the 3 cases, they started outbidding one another to get the business and yes much more things than realized are negotiable. The banks wanted some concrete actions after this and this made Practical Action jumping into the fray and promising 5 bankable plans by the end of 2012.

In Nairobi extensive discussions were held with two premier Micro Finance Institutions, Kenyan Women Finance Trust and K-REP to explore a.o. sanitation loan product development. A public private partnership was also discussed together with WASH partner AMREF and we hope to tell you more soon.

Valentin Post works as Controller / Senior Adviser at WASTE