German know-how for improved water supply
Sachsen Wasser • Successful infrastructure projects resulting from qualified personnel
The improvement of the drinking water supply is the core competence of the internationally active company Sachsen Wasser GmbH. The fully owned subsidiary of KWL-Kommunale Wasserwerke Leipzig GmbH has specialised in commercial and technical services in the field of drinking and waste water management. Since its establishment in 2000, the enterprise provides its public and private clients in hitherto 33 different countries with the know-how for modern, efficient and sustainable water supply management and waste water treatment. In many of the company's target regions clean drinking water and waste water treatment are by no means everyday services that are to be taken for granted.
Amongst other things, the success of Sachsen Wasser is evident in the number of its employees who are responsible for projects abroad and who are directly involved in foreign projects. When the company was established, their number was four, whereas these days eleven employees in Leipzig are responsible for this area of business. They handle an annual project volume of 1.2 to 2 million Euro. Since 2013, Sachsen Wasser has been advertising its company profile also in the iMOVE provider pool.
Shortage of supply, a lack of hygiene and considerable loss of water are the consequences of negligent or unprofessional maintenance and care of water management facilities. To effectively combat these problems or to avoid them in the first place, Sachsen Wasser offers comprehensive vocational training and continuing education for skilled personnel and executives, which includes also the topics of customer and human resource management, legal framework conditions, tariff models and investment concepts. The training and continuing education programmes are tailored to the individual requirements of customers and, if necessary, are further adapted during the training provision; they are also predominantly carried out on site.
Sachsen Wasser has repeatedly become involved in water projects in Africa. These include the WAVE programme "Capacity building for water service providers", which was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. In the context of this programme, Sachsen Wasser was commissioned to provide the basic part of a three-week training course in Germany. The aim was to improve the competences of the operating personnel and to increase their performance capability in decisive areas of operations and management.
In October 2008, 24 managers from the public water supply agencies from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia as well as representatives from the responsible national ministries and regulatory agencies of these four countries travelled to Germany to gather information in the context of seminars, plant visits and excursions. The core topics included institutional structure and organisation of public water utility companies, models for inclusion of the private sector and the transformation of state-owned enterprises into centralised, market-oriented and profitable public companies – a development that Sachsen Wasser has experienced itself, thus enabling it to convey the process in a well-founded manner on the basis of its own experiences. Another important topic was sustainable agriculture as an instrument for preventing environmental pollution.
In August 2013, Sachsen Wasser co-operated in a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ – German Society for International Co-operation) and the Tanzanian Ministry of Water. The ministry intends to improve access to drinking water supply and waste water management for its citizens. This is part of implementing the targets laid down in the "National Climate Change Strategy" programme. One of the measures is the creation and design of a national regulatory agency for water and electricity (EWURA). In 2013, EWURA faced the challenge of establishing a uniform framework for the more than 130 water suppliers in the country and implementing a system of evaluation and support.
To this end, Sachsen Wasser provided 24 managers from the regulatory agency with basic knowledge during a two-week training course that took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in August 2013. The course programme included theoretical and practical principles of developing a financial model, initiation of change management processes as well as business plans, balanced score card and benchmarking as management instruments. Another project in Tanzania is currently in its planning stage: Together with a partner and commissioned by the country's water ministry, Sachsen Wasser will improve the water supply in rural regions.
In many countries, qualification programmes in the water sector are rarely funded by the local institutions themselves. The lack of professional knowledge on part of employees and local institutions frequently contributes to the fact that modern and expensive facilities are not properly operated and maintained and thus are doomed to malfunction after only a short period of time. With its commitment, Sachsen Wasser highlights the high significance of training and consulting for the success of infrastructure projects.
This sucess story was first published in the iMOVE publication Developing Skills for Employability with German Partners • 8 Success Stories from Sub-Saharan Africa. The brochure was published in July 2014.