On Friday May 11th 2018, the Government of Angola, represented by the Ministry of Energy and Water (MINEA) and its National Water Directorate (DNA), the Provincial Water and Sanitation Company of Cunene (EPAS-Cunene, Angola), the Fundo de Investimento e Património do Abastecimento de Água (FIPAG) from Mozambique, and the water utility from the Netherlands Vitens Evides-International (VEI), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and technical cooperation agreement a Water Operators’ Partnership (WOP) between Angola, Mozambique and the Netherlands, together with UNICEF-Angola and UN-HABITAT through its Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance.
The official launching of this WOP was held in the new premises of the National Water Directorate in Luanda, and counted with the participation of Dr. Lucrecio Costa, National director of the National Water directorate (MINEA/DNA), the Director of the Public Water and Sanitation Company of Cunene (EPAS-Cunene), Dr. Fernando Cunha, the Director General of FIPAG, Dr. Pedro Paulino, the Director of Operations from FIPAG, Dr. Elidio Khossa, the Resident Project Manager from VEI, Mr. Joep Vonk, and UNICEF Deputy Representative, Mrs. Patricia Portela.
What is this WOP about?
This WOP aims at harnessing the skills, knowledge and goodwill within FIPAG (Mozambique) and VEI (The Netherlands) utilities, the ‘mentors’ of this innovative initiative for Angola, to build the capacity of EPAS-Cunene (Angola) utility – the 'mentee' – that needs assistance and guidance to improving its performance and service delivery.
Through this mentorship initiative, this WOP will progressively strengthen and empower EPAS-Cunene in Angola on proper and sustainable management, operation and maintenance of the water utility, either at operational level and financially, to implement operational and organizational changes that will lead EPAS-Cunene to better and more sustainable services.
As compared to classical technical assistance approaches, WOPs have a number of distinguishing features, most notably:
- The WOP focuses on building the resident capacity of water operator staff, rather than ‘doing it for them.’
- The WOP is a partnership between peers, meaning that the support comes from professional counterparts with hands-on experience within utilities, in this case even through south-south and triangular cooperation mechanisms.
- Knowledge is not for sale in WOPs. WOPs like the one between EPAS-Cunene (Angola), FIPAG-Mozambique and VEI-Netherlands, are carried out on a solidarity basis and are not to be used for commercial purposes.
What is the expected impact of this initiative?
This WOP is supporting EPAS-Cunene to implement the necessary changes that will lead the water operator to having a better performance and service delivery, particularly for the most in need. In this WOP the partner water and sanitation utilities are co-developing solutions to the challenges faced by EPAS-Cunene, and will work together to structure such solutions through a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), that can eventually leverage further engagement from different partners (including financial) and complementary resources to expanding the aim of having a better performance and services delivery to the population in its service area, and particularly the unserved and most vulnerable.
This WOP is not simply punctual training event, it seeks to promote longer-term partnership and collabrotion both in person and remotely in order to build capacity and support decision making. The support can extent to defining improvements, planning, acquiring new knowledge, establishing new working regimes, monitoring progress towards goals and planning next steps.
What is UNICEF's role in this process?
This WOP is the result of the strategic partnership and UN Joint Initiative between UN-HABITAT and UNICEF in Angola, and particularly in the framework and aim of the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA), as a global mechanism led by UN-Habitat to promote and facilitate WOPs around the world.
GWOPA is the world leader in promoting, facilitating and coordinating WOPs, and the main source of knowledge and guidance for this mechanism. UNICEF-Angola Country Office (AC) is the UN Sister Agency in Angola providing financial and technical support to the overall initiative as UN WASH Sector Lead Agency in the country, not only for the WOP between EPAC in Cunene province and FIPAG/VEI, but also for another WOP currently ongoing between EPAC in Cabinda province and Aguas de Portugal(AdP).
The result and impact sought with this innovative initiative of south-south and north south technical cooperation between water utilities is to improve the performance of ‘mentee’ water operators in Angola, by strengthening local capacities and water and sanitation service delivery, thus ensuring the realization of the fundamental human right to water and sanitation for all Angolans (UN Resolution number 64/292), in line with the commitments of the Sustainable Development Objectives (ODS 6) for 2030.