It will be a new start for the democracy project – the municipal partnership – between Lycksele municipality and Homa Bay county in Kenya. Together, the partners will develop a plan for integrated waste and water management in the Homa Bay area on Lake Victoria, in West Africa.
The project was about to start already in January 2020 when Lycksele municipality received SEK 2.5 million for international democratic collaborations through ICLD’s municipal partnership program. The project is funded by Sida through ICLD. Due to the pandemic, the process halted in early 2020
– It feels good that the project can take off again. Considering that almost 70 percent of the population in Homa Bay is under 25 years old, and it is their future we will be involved in and improve, it feels extra important, says Elin Larsson, project manager and administrator for gender equality, accessibility and public health issues at Lycksele municipality .
Strengthens local democracy work
The form of cooperation in municipal partnerships means that the parties find a common challenge to work on. This form of cooperation increases the competence of both employees and elected politicians through the exchange of knowledge and experience. For example, Lycksele can, through its partnership with Homa Bay, prepare a comprehensive plan for integrated waste and water management, i.e. a plan for how the waste in the area can be treated in an environmentally friendly way based on the conditions that exist and how clean drinking water can become a matter of course for the population.
– Working on democracy projects like this helps us to develop as a municipality. Not least, it puts Lycksele on the map, both nationally and internationally, says Roland Sjögren, chairman of the municipal council in Lycksele.
Why should Lycksele municipality be involved in this project?
– Access to clean water and good waste management is a prerequisite for good healthcare. So it feels incredibly good for us to be involved on the water and waste management side, given that the Regional Council has another, related project on health and medical care in the city of Storuman. The projects go “hand in hand,” says Betty-Ann Nilsson, steering group representative in the project. Betty-Ann is also part of Region Västerbotten’s steering group for the other project and has a key function in the collaboration.
– The project is important because we can help the residents of Homa Bay to a more long-term functioning system when it comes to water and waste management. This is important based on our sustainability goals. It is also a collaboration with Region Västerbotten since they are also involved in a project which is aimed at health and medical care, says Betty-Ann Nilsson.
Clean water is essential for a healthy life
At the end of October, a delegation of elected politicians and officials traveled to Homa Bay, Kenya, to build long-term cooperation and see the opportunities and challenges that exist in the area with a focus on sustainable waste and water management.
– I have worked with water and sewage for most of my professional life here in Lycksele, this trip will be interesting for both me and the company. The different conditions between the countries, such as the climate, economic resources, water quality and access will require us to think differently, it will be a challenge but also instructive. If we can contribute knowledge and techniques for purification and water production, it would be excellent. Clean water is crucial for a healthy life, says Michael Johansson, supervisor at Lycksele Avfall och Vatten AB (LAVAB).