Skat News – December 2014

Newsletter of Skat – Swiss Resource Centre and Consultancies for Development 

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 relevant contact addresses. Your feedback at info[AT] is welcome.

Skat Projects and Activities

* Governance *

Providing support to the Ukrainian government to introduce and implement decentralisation reforms and move forward according to European standards

The political crisis in Ukraine during 2013/14 affected the progress of the DESPRO project presenting new challenges, which required immediate flexible adaptation to new political realities by the project team.

DESPRO has been heavily involved in the process of preparation of key policy documents on decentralization reforms. Its practical experience in implementing water supply, sanitation and solid waste management projects and the expertise on Swiss decentralisation were essential to develop the main legislation drafts. DESPRO focuses specially on supporting and contributing to the national information and awareness raising campaign for promoting decentralisation reforms. DESPRO in cooperation with Government of Ukraine is conducting information sessions for local authorities all over the country on the contents of the reforms, steps to be taken, expectations and outcomes of the decentralisation processes. As a result, concrete proposals and recommendations to the decentralisation legislation were developed and sent to the Government.

The implementation of the reforms becomes a challenge due to the current military conflict in a part of Ukraine. Hence, the country needs a lot of support in this process, DESPRO’s goal is to provide such support so that the Ukrainian government introduces and implements decentralisation reforms moving forward according to European standards.

For more information about the current situation of Ukraine a more detailed article is to be found in Despro Website

For further information contact: m.bryl[AT], juerg.christen[AT] or o.garnets[AT]

* Water Governance *

Skat is providing backstopping services to the Hygiene, Sanitation and Water Fund in Bangladesh

In 2014, Skat together with Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation started providing support and backstopping services to the management of the Hygiene Sanitation and Water (HYSAWA) Fund, a multi-donor funding mechanism that supports the Government of Bangladesh to reach Water, Sanitation and Hygiene targets guided by the principle of Decentralisation. Financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), HYSAWA provides funds and technical assistance directly to the eligible Union Parishads (UPs) and encourages them to deliver better public services in a transparent and accountable manner. Skat has been mandated by SDC in Bangladesh to provide support to HYSAWA to further develop its existing M&E system towards an outcome based monitoring framework. Additionally, Skat provides support in mapping governance procedures and in identifying roles and responsibilities of actors involved in providing WASH services to the population in hard to reach areas as well as in assessing the sustainability of WASH services established. Finally, HYSAWA is supported in the documentation of good practices to inform policy dialogue on specific WASH related topics. This mandate is expected to end in October, 2015.

For further information contact andre.olschewski[AT] or bertha.camacho[AT]

* Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation *

Skat provides strategic, methodological and technical advice to the Solaqua Foundation

Solaqua Foundation is a private foundation based in St.Gallen focusing its work on water issues in low-income countries. It was established in 2001 to support the promotion and diffusion of the SODIS method (Solar Water Disinfection) in Africa, Asia and Latin America. After 13 years of diverse and evolving project development and funding, the Foundation decided to re-design its strategy and project portfolio and to focus its activities on Nepal und Bhutan. In 2014, Skat has been contracted to provide advice regarding the institutional strategy and development, as well as on governance issues. It serves as the technical support unit to the manager of the Foundation and is also responsible for the identification of potential projects and partners. Moreover, it provides specific trainings and facilitates workshops with the aim of strengthening the capacities of the Foundation. Considering that Solaqua Foundation focuses its work on Nepal and Bhutan, knowledge of the local context is crucial. Skat analyses this context with respect to the specific needs of the Solaqua foundation and establishes contacts to potential implementing partners. Finally, Skat is supervising and monitoring project implementation by local partners and reports to the manager and to the Steering Board of the foundation.

For further information contact: matthias.saladin[AT]

Skat supports Government of Liberia to write their first WASH Sector Performance Report

Kerstin Danert and Sean Furey were appointed by the Water & Sanitation Program (WSP) of the World Bank to coach government staff from across twelve different ministries and public sector organisations to write Liberia’s first ever Sector Performance Report (SPR). This report sets out, concisely the situation across the country for 2013 for a broad range of topics across water, sanitation, waste management, gender, water resources and health. The staff was then coached to present their chapters to an assembly of 200 stakeholders at the annual Joint Sector Review. The final report is downloadable from the RWSN website.

For further information contact: kerstin.danert[AT]

Knowledge Broker for major African groundwater research programme – UPGro

Skat Foundation was appointed by a consortium of three UK funders (DFID, NERC, ESRC) to act as the Knowledge Broker for UPGro – “Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor”, which is focused on improving the evidence, understanding and tools available for the sustainable development of groundwater in Sub-Saharan Africa to tackle chronic poverty. This is a £12 million (CHF18 million) research programme over 7 years and it is Skat’s role to ensure sharing between the research teams and with the wider audience of agencies, researchers, governments and civil society. The close alignment with the work of RWSN has made this an excellent fit and has created a bridge with the academic research community in Africa and Europe. More information on UPGro is to be found in UPGro Website

For further information contact: sean.furey[AT]

Supporting ISW to plan rural water supply and sanitation in Tajikistan

The International Secretariat for Water (ISW) was appointed by SDC to continue their implementation of rural water supply and sanitation schemes in villages and small towns in Tajikistan. In 2014, Skat was assigned to provide backstopping support to ISW. This year the backstopping team went on mission to see past ISW projects in Tajikistan and to support the ISW team to better understand EcoSan toilets and latrines by organising an exchange visit with Skat Consulting’s own ApaSan implementation project in Moldova. Additionally, advice was provided on some elements of on-going capital maintenance costs and water safety planning.

For further information contact: sean.furey[AT] or florian.klingel[AT]

Mid-term evaluation of the Aguasan programmes in Central America

In August 2014, Skat conducted the mid-term evaluation of SDC’s water and sanitation programmes (Aguasan) in Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as of the Regional Aguasan programme. The main aims of the evaluation was to review the progress of the current project phase (2013-2015) and to provide recommendations for adjustments needed to reach planned objectives. In addition, the evaluation initiated the planning of a new phase of the programmes and analysed the potential of merging the Aguasan programmes with SDC’s programmes on local governance in both countries.

For further information contact: florian.klingel[AT] and urs.hagnauer[AT]

Financing Study for WASH Self-supply

Skat conducted field research in Bo, Kenema and Pujehun districts in Sierra Leone on household needs for funding own investments for incremental improvements of WASH infrastructures and for setting up businesses of local private sector stakeholders active in WASH Self-supply. The field work included an assessment of existing community saving schemes as financing mechanism for collecting funds for operation and maintenance of community water supplies in remote rural areas. Due to the Ebola crisis, the development of a road map for accelerating Self-supply at national level was postponed until 2015.

For further information contact andre.olschewski[AT]

30th AGUASAN Workshop set out to bridge the water, food and energy sector divides

Against the backdrop of the sector, advancements brought forward by the AGUASAN CoP over the past three decades and the current water sector context marked by the post-2015 sustainable development agenda debate, this year’s workshop initiated a broadening of the CoP’s scope from now primarily WASH and associated issues towards the wider water sector agenda and challenges of sustainable water resources management in all its dimensions. Convened by SDC, Helvetas and Eawag/Sandec under the overall lead of Skat, the event gathered from June 16 to 20, 2014, in Männedorf (Switzerland) an international group of 56 sector professionals from the water for people, for food, for energy and for environment communities to tackle the question of “how to bridge the water, food and energy sector divides for increased benefits and resilience in watersheds?” This learning, experience exchange and knowledge generation on the Nexus approach culminated in a set of recommendations for practically moving away from silo thinking to a more cross-sectorial approach, such as: i) triggering an enabling framework, ii) creating a common ground, iii) adopting an adaptive management, iv) performing cross-sectorial assessments, v) exploring entry points, vi) applying an evidence-based approach and vi) fostering trans-disciplinary attitudes and capacities.

More information can be obtained on AGUASAN Workshops Series webpage or by contacting roger.schmid[AT]

Skat’s backstopping services for SDC/SECO in Kosovo’s water sector got extended

Since 2009, Skat provides backstopping services to the Swiss Cooperation Office in Kosovo (SCO-K) in the management of the SDC-financed “Rural Water and Sanitation Support Program” and the SECO-funded “Support to the Kosovo Water Task Force (WTF)”. The WTF was launched in 2008 as an inter-ministerial body situated at the highest decision-making level of Kosovo (Office of Prime Minister) to support the water sector through the improvement of its policies, framework conditions and action plans, and is nowadays institutionalized as the Inter-Ministerial Water Council of Kosovo. Both backstopping mandates have been renewed early 2014 for a period of four years to further provide SCO-K with program steering support and quality assurance services, as well as the respective implementing organisations and consultants with thematic and methodological counselling.

For more information contact: roger.schmid[AT] or florian.klingel[AT]

* Building and Settlements *

Promoting off-farm employment through climate responsive construction material production

2014 was the second year of implementation of the PROECCO project (Promoting environment friendly building material Production in Africa’s Great Lakes Region). In November 2014, a delegation of Rwandan and Burundian brick-makers has visited small scale brick factories in Germany and the Netherlands. At the end of 2014, Skat Rwanda further launched a serial production of low-cost machines for extrusion of energy and clay saving perforated bricks. Clay and fuel maps were created for land use planners and for the identification of suitable sites for new semi-mechanised brickyards. Entrepreneurs investing in such new ventures can benefit from a comprehensive set of business trainings and a newly established credit collateral fund, enabling them in successfully shifting to environment friendly and socially acceptable production.

The so called Zig-zag kilns have been co-invented by a Swiss engineer during the time of industrial revolution as a transition technology leading from artisanal to industrial production of bricks and tiles in Europe. This technology is highly energy efficient and appropriate also for the weather conditions and the fuels available in Rwanda and Burundi. In 2015, similar kilns shall be established by private entrepreneurs and also by Skat for training and demonstration purpose. Simultaneously, the project will continue to promote the upgrading of hundreds of existing brick kilns for the combustion of bio-waste instead of using young trees from the scarce forests.

For more information contact: daniel.wyss[AT], heidrun.simm[AT] or michael.velten[AT]

Owner driven rehabilitation of houses for flood affected vulnerable people in Serbia

In May 2014, Serbia has been hit by one of the heaviest floods ever. Parts of Northern, Western and Central Serbia have been heavily affected and 51 people lost their lives. According to the Government of Serbia 31’879 people have been evacuated, more than 200 houses have been crashed, about 18’000 houses have been damaged and important infrastructure has been destroyed.

As a joint response of two longlasting partners EHO Serbia and HEKS Switzerland, a project was launched to promote owner-driven rehabilitation of houses in the affected areas of Serbia. Skat has been requested to provide Technical Backstopping Services. The project supports the rehabilitation of 300 houses of vulnerable families, mainly from Roma populations.

For more information contact: daniel.schwitter[AT]

Improved Disaster Management and Resilience Against Natural Disaster in Rakhine State, Myanmar

Rakhine State is one of the least developed parts of Myanmar and is characterized by malnutrition, low income, poverty and weak infrastructure, compounded by the regular occurrence of natural disaster. The 2009-10 UNDP Integrated Household Living Condition Survey ranks Rakhine State as second worst countrywide in terms of overall poverty. Humanitarian agencies report that over 800,000 most vulnerable people in Rakhine State are facing chronic humanitarian consequences, mainly due to poor access to basic services and livelihood opportunities, lack of clarity over their legal status and restrictions of movement. Rakhine State has a population of around 3.3 million, with a densely populated coastal area and an eastern hilly forest region that is sparsely populated.

Under the lead of IOM, a consortium consisting of five partners with experience on Disaster Risk Reduction in Myanmar will jointly implement the “Program for Improved Disaster Management and Resilience against Natural Disaster in Rakhine State, Burma and Myanmar” over a period of 33 months. The Consortium will harness significant institutional strengths in diverse areas such as early warning systems, mangrove protection, management of mass evacuation in post-natural disaster settings, support for disaster management planning, multi-hazard and risk assessment and data management. This multi-faceted program has the objective of “contributing to improving disaster preparedness and reducing risks for all people in Rakhine State.” Skat’s input to the program will focus on improving construction practices that increase preparedness and resilience.

For more information contact: daniel.schwitter[AT]

* Energy and Climate *

External evaluation of proposals on renewable energy mini-grids

The ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF) Call for Proposals is supported by various donors and is part of activities aiming at the 22% target by 2020 for off-grid supply of rural population served from renewable energy. The project proposals cover all ECOWAS countries and refer to projects based on pure renewable energy systems, as well as, hybrid systems. Applicants are NGOs, government organisations and private enterprises proposing different types of management and tariff systems. Skat having a broad experience on mini-grid projects based on renewables, evaluated all (pre-selected) 19 project proposals with regard to technical, economic and management aspects, established an evaluation table with relevant criteria, a ranking system and summarised the results in a final report.

For further information please contact: hedi.feibel[AT] or martin.boelli[AT]

Backstopping for Private Sector Participation (PSP) in Micro-Hydro Power Supply for Rural Development in Rwanda

The PSP Hydro project, carried out in the framework of the Energising Development (EnDev) Rwanda programme, has been granted an increase in funds to scale up. Under its new phase (2013-17), 9 Micro-Hydro Power plants will be tendered out to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises by the national utility EWSA to finally supply electricity to about 110.000 people. The Skat team provided continuous backstopping services to the PSP Hydro Team by listing minimum content of reconnaissance and feasibility studies, as well as by establishing a tender evaluation matrix (technical, economic, financial and management aspects), among others. In addition, Skat provided expert advice during the evaluation of proposals.

For further information please contact: hedi.feibel[AT] or martin.boelli[AT]

* Knowledge Management *

Inventory of WHO Network and Collaborating Centres

In 2014, Skat was contracted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to elaborate an inventory of WHO networks and Collaborating Centres with a view of identifying successful practices and lessons learned including approaches for developing collaboration plans and ways to optimize the work of WHO with different Collaboration Centres. A total of 10 Collaboration Centres participated in this work and practical lessons learned and best practices were drawn from their activities.

For more information about this evaluation contact bertha.camacho[AT]

R4d workshops

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) are offering a funding scheme for development-related research on global issues. The main goals of the „Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development“ (r4d programme; are the generation of new knowledge and the application of research results that contribute to solving global problems and securing public goods in poor countries within the framework of global sustainable development. In 2014, Skat has been requested to support the r4d programme in enhancing its communication and knowledge exchange plan through the establishment of a Stakeholder map and the participatory revision of the existing communication’s plan of r4d.

For more information contact bertha.camacho[AT]

* RWSN Activities *

Manual Drilling

UNICEF and Skat Foundation are documenting experiences of introducing and professionalising the growing manual drilling industry. Manual drilling plays an important role for domestic water supply in Lagos city, Lagos State and more widely in Nigeria. RWSN has just put out a short documentary on the status quo of manual drilling in Lagos, and Nigeria, with key lessons for those who are promoting, or trying to regulate it. The documentary should trigger discussion and catalyse action to better support manual drilling efforts in Lagos, in Nigeria and in other countries.

For our short photo/video documentary, visit: The full report can be downloaded from:

The UNICEF-RWSN webinar series on manual drilling in early 2014 enabled experiences to be shared from 12 countries: Bolivia, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, India, Niger, Nigeria, Madagascar, Malawi, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Zambia. A series of five summary documents (in English and French) about the webinars are available for download on the following link:

Cost-effective boreholes in Sierra Leone

Skat Foundation has just completed a project providing technical support and training on cost-effective boreholes to Government, NGOs and the Private Sector in Sierra Leone. Reports of the initiative, as well as the training materials can be downloaded from:

The Ministry of Water Resources subsequently published the Principles for Borehole Construction and Design for Sierra Leone: This document sits alongside the sister document: Technical Guidelines for Construction and Maintenance of Hand Dug Wells:

Promoting the potential of rainwater harvesting

Skat and RAIN Foundation, in the Netherlands, have teamed up to promote the potential of rainwater harvesting for water supply and agriculture, supported by IFAD. This exciting new initiative is focused on building a global Community of Practice so that those who are planning or building rainwater systems can share experiences and good practices. One of the main activities has been a series of webinars in English and French covering the basics of roof water system design, examples from around the world and also the latest news and developments in the sector. To join the global community visit:

For more information visit: and or contact sean.furey[AT]

RWSN Webinars late 2014

There have been seven weeks of webinars so far on Rainwater Harvesting, Groundwater in Africa and Water Point Mapping. Participants heard experiences and perspectives from 26 presenters in 16 countries, as well as regional and global views.
All of the recordings as well as the presentations can be reached via:

Past Webinars

Here are links to presentations and recordings of past webinars on:
Rainwater Harvesting:
Water Point Mapping:

* Publications *

Skat published guidebook on decentralized and community managed rural water supply

Through the ApaSan project financed by SDC and implemented by Skat, rural communities in Moldova have been supported with the construction of decentralised water supply systems. These new water supply systems use springs located close to the villages and distribute the water through a pipe network to the households of the community. The systems are managed by community based organisations. Such decentralised and community managed water supply systems have proven to be very successful in providing sustainable water supply for rural communities. This approach therefore merits wider application throughout rural Moldova. The aim of the guidebook is to make this experience available, with the hope that it is used to implement more systems that provide better and lasting water supply services for the rural population in Moldova. The guidebook can be downloaded here.

For more information contact: roger.schmid[AT], florian.klingel[AT] or jonathan.hecke[AT]

Play with faecal sludge trucks!

The management of faecal sludge from onsite sanitation systems in low and middle-income countries is a serious but often still neglected sanitation issue. Skat Foundation has now produced a Top Trumps card game with 32 fascinating sludge trucks from around the world to cast a positive light on the emptying business and to inform in a professional way but with a twinge of humour. The card game can be used as a give-away for conferences, meetings with decision makers and practitioners in the field.

Order here for (shipping costs only are charged): skat publication
For more information contact: juerg.christen[AT]

About Skat

In 2014, Skat welcomed new staff:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta joined Skat in July, 2014 as Water, Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Specialist. He has a professional background in Policy Research and Advocacy and worked extensively on waste management, water and sanitation, recycling value chains and integration of informal sector in developing and transitional countries. He prepared the National Strategy for Integrated Solid Waste Management for Bhutan along with revising its National Waste Management Regulations under Skat. Prior to joining Skat, he was engaged in various positions as Project Director or Advisor and Consultant in Water, Sanitation, Sustainable Waste Management and Livelihood programs for the last 13 years with various organisations such as the World Bank – WSP – South Asia, RWA-Bulgaria, Delhi Government, ERM-Gmbh, Care India, among others. His strengths are in areas of policy and planning, municipal capacity building, network management, Monitoring & Evaluation and Social Impact Assessments. He has written several internationally published papers on waste issues and has contributed in books like Millennium Development Goals and Solid Waste Management; Status of Solid Waste in World Cities, the latter won the best book on the subject award from International Solid Waste Association, Vienna, Austria in 2010.

Matthias Saladin joined Skat in November, 2014 as Water and Sanitation Specialist. His professional background is in environmental science and engineering. He has 13 years of experience in projects of water supply, drinking water quality and hygiene improvements in developing countries. He has worked abroad for 12 years, mainly in Bolivia, Nepal and Spain, with extensive travels in Latin America. As a project coordinator, he has been involved in research and implementation projects and has carried out activities for designing, monitoring and evaluating dozens of projects. As co-director of a non-profit organization, he was in charge of knowledge management, research communication, capacity development and strategic planning of the organization. As a consultant, he has been providing training and expert advice on household water treatment and hygiene improvement projects in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The focus of his work has been on household water treatment and hygiene, on applied research projects and on product development and testing for low and middle-income settings, as well as on institutional development and strategic planning of non-profit organizations.

Sheryl Sierra joined Skat in August, 2014 as commercial apprentice supporting the Skat’s secretariat in the fields of administration and communication for the next three years. Her apprenticeship is part of her studies at the Kaufmännisches Bildungszentrum (KBZ) School in St. Gallen. This is the second time that Skat joins the apprenticeship program and will provide guidance to Sheryl in the development of her studies.