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A Revised Adopt-a-River programme: Stakeholder input on the institutional and financial frameworks with a focus on an implementation strategy
Expanded Title:n 2006 the need to create awareness amongst all South Africans of our precious and scarce water resources was highlighted, along with suggestions to facilitate public participatory processes in their management (DWA, 2008). In response, some members of parliament volunteered to adopt a river and act as a patron for its management. These actions were taken to foster public participation and as a sign of commitment of government officials towards protecting and managing South African rivers (DWA, 2008). To formalise these actions, the minister requested that DWA develop and implement a suitable programme to house such a volunteer response to riverine management. This public and ministerial interest led to the initiation of the Adopt-a-River Programme (DWA, 2008). The AaR Programme was initiated in 2008, with a phased approach to implementation; as a volunteer programme targeting pensioners, school pupils, industries, catchment forums, water user associations, municipalities, communities, etc. The spin-offs being water saving, skills development for youth, empowerment of the general public on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), improvement of water quality and of the state of the rivers. The concept and thinking behind the project was sound and looked very promising. The document produced by the Department of Water Affairs (DWA, 2009) entitled “Adopt-a-River Programme Phase 2: Development of an Implementation Plan/ Institutional Aspects and Governance Structures” provides extensive background, context and rationale around the need for the AaR Programme. In 2010 the Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs selected the AaR Programme as one of the Department’s flagship programmes for job creation. The target groups shifted to unemployed women, youth and people living with disabilities. Once this change was made, the programme moved from one driven by volunteerism towards one driven by monetary incentive. While the programme contribution on poverty relief was accepted, implementers across the country looked more at job creation than their contribution in water resource quality monitoring. Many of the objectives set out in Phase I and Phase II were achieved. However, there was a breakdown in the implementation phases of the programme. In 2014 DWS made the decision to review the Adopt-a-River programme through a project managed via WRC. GroundTruth were requested (via WRC/DWS) to undertake the review and provide recommendations to DWS on a way forward for the programme. This document builds on the review and redesign document prepared by the project team (Deliverable 2) and summarises the outcomes of a two-day stakeholder workshop held at the WRC offices in Pretoria on the (18-19 November 2015) to discuss the revision of the AaR Programme. The primary aim of the workshop was to understand and re-vision the AaR Programme, to redefine the key objectives and strategy (including re-vision of the institutional/governance framework as well as developing a funding framework and potential business case) towards developing a revised and sustainable AaR Programme. The outcomes of the stakeholder review and redesign workshop can be summarised as follows: • A detailed background of the AaR Programme was prepared by the project team and salient points presented to the stakeholders in the form a verbal presentation and a written workshop starter document. All background information was prepared as a written report for the WRC. This background/review document and the findings therein formed the basis of the topics to be covered at the stakeholder review and redesign workshop. • A vision and mission statement were developed for the revised AaR Programme in addition to a clarification/refinement of the scope and focus of the programme. The need for a new programme was discussed as well as the broad overall goals of the programme. • The institutional and governance framework for the programme was completely redesigned based on a review of the original framework and problems experienced with its implementation from 2009-2015. The new framework is more holistic – includes more sectors of society – and more clearly defines the linkages of each role-player. The roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder/role-player were similarly reviewed and discussed. Furthermore the framework was redesigned to have an innovative two prong approach (a governmental prong and public/private partnership prong). This approach is intended to limit risk (i.e. by having more than one implementing agency and organisation control the programme) and provide opportunities for more sectors of society to take part in the programme and includes scope for broader collaboration between government departments (specifically between DWS and DEA) • The institutional governance framework provided a basis for the review and redesign of the funding framework for the programme. The new funding framework similarly follows the two pronged approach, which in effect allows for multiple sources of funding to be used to carry the programme and better allow for long term sustainability. Business cases for both prongs of the funding framework are briefly discussed (EPWP Working for Water programme serves to illustrate a tested business case of the governmental prong, while the DUCT case study illustrates the use of mixed funding sources to operate a non-profit community benefit organisation). • A new communication framework is discussed which follows the institutional and governance framework. • Where the original programme design had limited means of assessing the success of the programme, provision has been made in the revised programme to use several indicators to measure success, (both biophysical and social) which will form a critical component of the reporting of the programme. These indicators are discussed. • A strong focus has been placed on training and capacity building within the revised programme with the provision of more opportunities for career pathing and a focus on the development of additional useful skills apart from first aid or snake handling. Training and skills development also follows the structure of the institutional and governance framework, whereby different skills, training and career pathing opportunities are provided for paid technical teams under the DEA Expanded Public Works Programme as opposed to the volunteer/monitoring teams under the management of the DWS and implementing NGOs. The involvement of schools will be a primary focus of the revised AaR and is emphasised. • The role of citizen science in the revised AaR is discussed with opportunities presented for the integration of the programme with other citizen science monitoring (to be carried out by monitoring teams and volunteers) as well as the continued pairing of the programme with the National Aquatic Ecostatus Health Monitoring Programme (NAEHMP) (to be carried out by technical teams – DWS). Case studies are discussed where volunteer, private public partnerships have been shown to be highly successful in adopting and caring for rivers, without the support of a national programme. • Lastly issues around logistics and implementation are discussed with suggestions for improved efficiency. The specific components of the revised AaR Programme discussed in this report, reflect the collective views of the project team and the various stakeholders (see the attached attendance register in Appendix 1) that attended the national AaR review and redesign workshop. The document was circulated to all the stakeholders for additional comment before it was finalised and submitted to the WRC.
Date Published:01/04/2016
Document Type:Research Report
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Consultant
WRC Report No:KV 354/15
ISBN No:978-1-4312- 0763-3
Authors:Graham M; Taylor J ; Ross-Gillespie V; Ditlhale N ; Mahood K
Project No:K8/1109
Organizations:Ground Truth; WESSA
Document Size:1 116 KB
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