Skat Consulting Ltd. News – December 2016

Dear Partners and Friends,

The electronic newsletter of Skat is sent to you approximately once a year. Skat Consulting Ltd. News provides you with brief summaries of a selection of recent and on-going projects; links you to further information and documents; and provides you with relevant contact addresses. Your feedback at info[AT] is welcome.

Skat Projects and Activities

* Governance *

Study Visit from a Ukrainian Parliamentarian Delegation

In November, in the framework of the Swiss-Ukrainian Decentralization Support Project (DESPRO) and upon request from the Cooperation Office in Ukraine of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Skat organised a four-day Study Visit of a delegation of parliamentarians and senior government representatives from Ukraine. Thematically, the Study Visit focused on the Swiss experiences on territorial amalgamation, inter-municipal cooperation, direct democracy and citizen participation.

Starting with an official welcoming at the Embassy of Ukraine, the Study Visit included exchanges with different Swiss Institutional Representatives such as: the Conference of the Cantonal Governments at the House of Cantons; the Department of Communes of the Office for Communes and Territorial Organization; and the Swiss Association of Communes. Additionally, the delegation had the opportunity to visit the Federal Parliament and exchanged with a representative of the Swiss – Ukrainian Parliamentary Friendship Group. Finally, the Ukrainian visitors were welcomed by the Mayor and leaders of the commune Herzogenbuchsee, where they learned about a successful case of territorial amalgamation and the role of direct citizen’s participation in local governance.

Experts from the University of Bern, the Institute of Federalism of the University of Fribourg and the Competence Centre for Regional Economics of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences shared with the delegation inspiring inputs around the focus topics.

The Study Visit was considered by all participants a great opportunity for sharing and learning about decentralization and democratization processes in Switzerland. A Round Table in Kiev is expected to take place to give the delegation the opportunity to draw lessons learned from the visit and discuss ways in which these lessons can be applied in the decentralization context in Ukraine. The Study Visit was organized by Jürg Christen and Bertha Camacho supported by Stefanie Theis and members of the Skat support staff.

For more information about the activities of DESPRO please follow the link: or contact: juerg.christen[AT], o.garnets[AT] or bertha.camacho[AT]

* Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation *

Advisory services to Solaqua Foundation

Since 2014 Skat is providing technical advice to Solaqua Foundation, a private foundation based in St. Gallen who aims at a sustainable improvement of access to safe drinking water for people in the Himalaya region ( During 2016, two new projects focusing on improving water and hygiene conditions at schools have started.

The first project consists of an innovative approach where a private company established water treatment facilities at schools and runs these as a business. Whereas the schools get the water for free, the entrepreneur sells the 20 liter cans to surrounding households and businesses – with the income generated, the company can maintain and operate the facilities.

The second project, run by CARITAS Switzerland, is designed to improve water quality and hygiene conditions in 31 schools affected by the 2015 earthquakes that destroyed 500’000 houses in Nepal.

For further information contact: matthias.saladin[AT]
Skat starts partnership with the Moldovan Association of Municipalities

Since 2008, Skat is implementing the Swiss and Austrian funded Water and Sanitation Project ApaSan in Moldova, which has successfully introduced decentralised approaches for water and sanitation services delivery in rural communities. The project is now in its last phase, and Skat is accelerating the transfer of all developed approaches and concepts to Moldovan partner organisation.

One of these partnerships has now been formally agreed with CALM, the Moldovan Association of Municipalities. With the support of the project, CALM will establish a service centre that provides assistance to small water operators owned by CALM’s member municipalities. CALM will offer a hotline for troubleshooting to small water operators, provide assistance on financial planning, tariff setting, organisational development, operation and maintenance, and will also organise related trainings. CALM will launch the service centre in early 2017, and its assistance will then contribute to better quality of water and sanitation services in rural areas and better sustainability of investments in rural water and sanitation infrastructure.

For further information contact: florian.klingel[AT] or jonathan.hecke[AT]
Skat managed the Swiss performance in the “Village de la Francophonie 2016”

From November 21st to 27th, 2016 in Antananarivo (Madagascar) took place the events making up the “XVIe Sommet de la Francophonie”: Council Meeting, Ministerial Conference and Presidential Summit. The gathering brought together more than 40 heads of state and 3’000 government officials of the French-speaking countries under the theme ‘Shared growth and responsible development – conditions for stability in the French-speaking world and around the globe’. To frame these events, a “Village de la Francophonie” was set up as space of pavilions allowing for institutional, cultural and economic performances: Switzerland had chosen to dedicate its booth to the topic of ‘Water, Peace and Security’.

Mandated by the SDC, Skat conceptualized and produced the Swiss booth with support from specialized stand builders (Standconcept Sàrl) and designers (Moxi Ltd.). On spot, the Skat team managed the performance of the booth with the help of attendants from the Swiss Embassy, expatriates community, Swiss NGOs and local service providers. Right from its inauguration, the Swiss booth had a great success in conveying to the visitors in an interactive space, based largely on using multimedia, what Switzerland is doing to promote water as an instrument of cooperation and peace. As a result, the Swiss booth was voted as the most innovative stand in terms of communication by the governors of the Francophonie.

As part of this event, Switzerland, Senegal and France presented the joint resolution on water, peace and security for adoption to the Presidential Summit.

Next to the inaugural visit by the President of Madagascar and the Secretary General of the Francophonie, the Swiss booth welcomed the Swiss presidential (headed by Federal Councilor Schneider-Amman) and ministerial (headed by State Secretary Fasel) delegations, the “Jeunes de la Francophone” (headed by the Swiss Dalila Benchouk) and numerous ministers, government representatives and ambassadors. Above all, the booth succeeded in informing the thousands of Malagasy citizens across all ages about Switzerland’s efforts in the water sector – globally and also in Madagascar through the partners of the SDC.

For more information contact roger.schmid[AT] or noro.robson[AT], and see
The “Programme Eau Potable pour la Population des Grands Lacs” PEPP in the Great Lakes Region enters into the Democratic Republic of Congo

Skat, in partnership with Swiss TPH, implements since 2013 on behalf of SDC the PEPP: a program on water supply for the population in the Great Lakes region of Africa. The PEPP is designed to improve access to sustainable water supply systems and respecting equal access to water of good quality of about 400,000 people in Rwanda, Burundi and the DR of Congo. It consists of the construction of new and the rehabilitation of existing supply systems and the promotion of improved hygiene practices of the population. Further, it supports the establishment of sustainable management structures and the exchange of best practices.

PEPP’s intervention strategy comprises the strengthening of the decentralized public services for water on planning, monitoring and management of water resources. At the same time, it assists the operators in technical and cost-effective aspects of water supply, and supports the districts in terms of project management. The diagnosis on water infrastructure and services as well as PEPP’s investments, are the vehicles for local capacity building. Regarding hygiene promotion, the PEPP piloted the hygiene clubs approach in Burundi, while in Rwanda it supports the districts in the implementation of the respective national strategy.

After having been forced to stop the Burundian component of the PEPP at the stage of infrastructure tendering due to the prevailing conflict in the country, the Rwandan component has been boosted and increased throughout 2016. Further, the PEPP component in the DRC (South Kivu) has taken off, where the approach focuses on the water supply of a peripheral district of Bukavu (Panzi) in partnership with Mercy Corps. Regarding hygiene promotion, the PEPP complements there the Mercy Corps activities in targeted schools in Panzi by implementing the approach of “Ecoles Assainies”.

For more information, contact roger.schmid[AT] or james.racicot[AT]
Skat evaluates SDC-WSP cooperation at global level

Skat is leading a team of experts who provide technical advisory services to SDS’s Global Programme Water Initiatives. In the context of this Backstopping Mandate, SDC requested Skat to carry out an internal evaluation of the cooperation between SDC and the Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) of the World Bank. The team made in-country studies of this cooperation in Pakistan, Haiti and Honduras and desk studies/remote interviews for Mozambique, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Niger, Bangladesh. The final results of this evaluation will be presented in January to SDC, with specific recommendations for SDC at global and country levels.

For more information, contact annesophie.aublet[AT] or matthias.saladin[AT]

* Building and Settlements *

Rehabilitation of earthquake affected schools in Sindhupalchok, Nepal

One and a half year after two disastrous earthquakes affecting Nepal in April and May 2015, the reconstruction of primary and secondary schools in the district of Sindhuplachok by Caritas Switzerland is well on track. The aim of the project is to rehabilitate completely destroyed and heavily damaged schools. Overall, 31 schools in 6 villages will be rehabilitated to provide about 6000 students and teachers of the affected communities with safe and child-friendly schools. The project will offer earthquake-proof and safe infrastructure combined with a motivating learning environment for children and teachers.

Within the framework of its technical backstopping mandate, Skat has conducted site assessments in the field for each school; also Skat provided modular design options for the various school types and is involved in construction monitoring and quality controlling. By the end of 2016, five pilot schools are almost completed. A comprehensive review of these buildings was carried out to gain lessons for the coming construction phases. It is planned to have another 10 schools completed by the end of 2017. Within this project, Caritas Switzerland takes the lead in collaboration with HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation who is involved in the WASH component.

For more information contact: daniel.schwitter[AT]

* Energy and Climate *

3rd Annual Gathering of the Hydro Empowerment Network

The Hydro Empowerment Network (HPNET) serves as a knowledge and advocacy platform for micro and mini hydropower (MHP) practitioners across South and Southeast Asia. The network was formed under the WISIONS initiative at the Wuppertal Institute after realizing knowledge gaps among the WISIONS SEPS grant awardees. HPNET is in its 3rd year of operation and currently has about 50 members, from 14 countries, with expertise in policy, financing, technology development, watershed strengthening, and community organizing processes. With the support of WISIONS and members, the network has held two annual meetings in 2013 and 2015.

HPNET’s 3rd Annual Gathering of Micro Hydro Practitioners took place in Kathmandu, Nepal in November 2016. Nepal was chosen because it is a country with wide experience in small-scale hydropower. In addition to learning from Nepal’s progress in this area, members chose Nepal to show solidarity and support for Nepal’s post-earthquake rehabilitation.

Skat contributed financially to this workshop and supported HPNET’s Coordinator in the preparation and facilitation of the workshop and provided inputs and expertise on Micro-hydro power and on network management.

More than 50 members and partners of HPNET participated in the workshop from up to 10 countries from South and South East Asia. Participants not only had the opportunity to learn about each other’s initiatives on micro hydro power, but they also had the opportunity to develop in an interactive way work plans for the activities of network members in 2017 and beyond; and to contribute to the further strategic development of HPNET.

For further information please contact: hedi.feibel[AT] or bertha.camacho[AT]

* Knowledge Management *

Swiss Red Cross IC – International Workshop

As part of the 150 years celebration of the Swiss Red Cross (SRC), the third International Workshop of the International Cooperation (IC) department took place in September, 2016 bringing together more than 70 delegates and staff from all programme countries including Switzerland. Skat together with “bp_consulting” was mandated to facilitate the workshop using a wide range of interactive methods.

During the International Workshop, Swiss Red Cross delegates and staff gathered together to discuss the SRC IC Programme 2017-2020 and developed ways to implement it. The workshop gave them an opportunity for sharing knowledge and experiences on selected topics in the themes of Health, Disaster Risk Reduction and Capacity Development / Organisational Development.

With a long-standing experience in the area of knowledge management, the facilitators transformed the International Workshop in a moment of learning and dialogue for the participants. The workshop objectives were achieved in a playful context and using different methods. The facilitators provided additional support before, during and after the Workshop in the:

  • development of the workshop concept and the program
  • integration of the documentation practice into the workshop planning and facilitation
  • participation in the post – workshop evaluation

For more information contact bertha.camacho[AT]
WaterAid Train the trainers workshop

Responding to the need of building the facilitation capacities of the Programme Support Unit at WaterAid and to prepare a “train the trainers programme”, Skat was selected to develop and conduct in July, a Train the Trainers course for facilitators based on the needs of Wateraid.

The aim of this training was to develop the skills of staff working in WaterAid to have confidence and capability to facilitate processes effectively in a range of different situations and contexts to bring about change, or achieve an outcome. The training aimed also at enabling WaterAid staff to effectively guide a group of people towards a common goal and outcome, as well as to deal effectively with challenging situations including power dynamics and resistance.

The course included a couple of Webinars and a three-day workshop. A wide range of methods and tools were used and examples of situations specific to the Water Sector were used as cases for exploring and extrapolating lessons learned.

The course led participants to the development of specific tools that would help them to enhance the training programme at WaterAid.

For more information contact bertha.camacho[AT] and kerstin.danert[AT]

* RWSN Activities *

7th RWSN Forum “Water for Everyone” – the best yet

444 delegates from 65 countries across 6 continents attended the 4-day Forum of the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) – the only global event on rural water supply. The theme of the event was “Water for Everyone” which looked at practical ways to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 of achieving universal access to safe, affordable drinking water by 2030. The challenge is huge, but in the opening plenary, Sean Furey of Skat set the tone by highlighting some of the astonishing success that was achieved in many regions of the world during the Millennium Development Goal period (1990-2015) tempered by the even bigger challenges ahead.

The Forum was held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (29 November – 2 December 2016) and was opened by the country’s Prime Minister, Hon. Daniel Kablan Duncan, accompanied by opening declarations from Mr James Dengchol, State Minister for Water Supply, Ethiopia, Dr Aboubacar Kampo, UNICEF Representative for Cote d’Ivoire.

Through the week there were 33 parallel sessions as well as a whole range of sessions for posters, networking, an exhibition space, a Rock Café, an ICT Café and sponsored seminars that brought together practitioners, government staff, donors, researchers, private sector and community organisations to share the latest thinking and peer-reviewed experiences from the last 5 years. The event was done in partnership with a large array of partners and sponsors, including the World Bank, SDC, African Development Bank, WaterAid, UNICEF, WHO, IRC, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, USAID and in media partnership with the UK’s Guardian Development Professionals Network, Spain’s El Pais, plus two free-lance African journalists who were tasked with raising the profile of the event and the network across the continent.

Skat Consulting Ltd was a Silver Sponsor because of the strategic importance of this event and because it underlines Skat’s commitment to the goal of universal water access. As Skat is the global leader on rural water supply knowledge management, networking and implementation, its commitment was reinforced by the numerous Skat authored and co-authored presentations, posters and papers throughout the event, not just through RWSN but also from Skat’s DESPRO work in Ukraine and the water credit evaluation work in Kenya. Jürg Christen from Skat, James Racicot, Cyr Franck Ahononga from the PEPP, Oksana Garnets and Viacheslav Sorokovsky from DESPRO also attended and provided valuable inputs.

The organisation of this whole event was led by Skat through Dr Kerstin Danert as overall Forum Director; Sean Furey as deputy director and manager of the thematic programme and peer-review process; Matthias Saladin as Accelerating Self-Supply theme coordinator and leading session manager; Martin Laeng and Violeta Zivanovich from Skat together with Meleesa Naughton, who took care of much of the administration, and Victor Bas-Martinez, from the African Development Bank, who handled logistics and local suppliers with tremendous efficiency.

We are also delighted that Meleesa Naughton, a World Bank consultant loaned to us to help organise the Forum, will be joining Skat on a part-time basis from early 2017 when she moves to Basel with her fiancée. Meleesa is an Irish and French citizen with a Masters Degree in water management from Oxford University and is fluent in English, French and Russian.

Full details, including the peer-reviewed papers and posters can be found on the Forum website:

For more information contact sean.furey[AT] and kerstin.danert[AT]

* Publications *

Work the Net: A management guide for existing and emerging formal networks
Second edition

Setting up and managing a network is hard work; more often than not, the amount of work and time spent in establishing a network is completely underestimated; thus, a committed network leadership can help in making this initial step a successful one. It is often the case that networks evolve from existing social networks becoming more structured and organised with time. In other cases, networks start off from nothing. Some networks come together for a short period of time, whereas others might have a long term perspective.

These and other aspects of the Handbook Work the Net were presented to and discussed with staff of GIZ in Erschborn and Bonn in March this year.

In August, following an invitation from the Network “Psychische Gesundheit Schweiz”, Skat presented the Handbook to a wider audience at the Symposium on “Synergetic use of scarce resources: professional management of networks” that took place at the PSY Congress 2016 in Basel.

In November, the Handbook was also presented at the 3rd Annual Gathering of the Hydro Empowerment Network, in Kathmandu, Nepal.

If you would like to invite Skat to present and discuss this Handbook in your organisation or network, please do not hesitate to contact Bertha Camacho (bertha.camacho[AT]