U.S. Embassy Nairobi Supports Water Distribution Project in Embu County

EWASCO extends water access for up to 75,000 people in low-income area of Embu

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec participated in a tree-planting ceremony at Kawa Academy in Embu County on May 21, to celebrate the launch of a new water distribution system that will bring clean, affordable water to low-income areas of Embu.  Cabinet Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Professor Judy Wangalwa Wakhungu was present at the event representing the Government of Kenya.

Embu Water and Sewerage Company (EWASCO) is expanding water access to an additional 6,000 households and more than 100 schools, clinics and community buildings in Mbeer and surrounding low-income communities of Embu County through a new water distribution system.  The system serves as a model for how to transform Kenya’s water and sanitation sector with private financing.

Through its Sustainable Water and Sanitation for Africa (SUWASA) activity, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) helped EWASCO develop a business plan and a financing proposal for Housing Finance Company of Kenya, which resulted in a loan of KSh 81.3 million.  The SUWASA activity also helped Housing Finance utilize USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) guarantee to facilitate commercial lending in the water sector.  A DCA guarantee uses risk-sharing agreements with commercial lenders to mobilize local private capital to fill financing gaps – in this case, helping a utility company expand its operations to serve more people.

“I cannot overstate the value of private-public partnerships.  Customers, utilities, and financial institutions all win here,” said Ambassador Godec.  “The United States Government remains a committed partner to helping Kenya achieve its Millennium Development Goals on water and sanitation.”

USAID/Kenya is focused on improving access to safe water, improved sanitation services, hygiene promotion, and on increasing community capacity to manage and better use water resources.

USAID is the U.S. Government agency responsible for administering civilian foreign assistance.