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December 27, 2018

[Volunteer Report] Blantyre Water Board works with Volunteers from City of Yokohama, Water Works Bureau in Japan

Name: Hirofumi Kondo
Technical Field: Water Supply
Recipient Organization: Blantyre Water Board, Blantyre

In 2017, Blantyre Water Board (BWB) signed a Memorandum of understanding to improve its service delivery by collaborating with city of Yokohama, Water Works Bureau (YWWB) in Japan. Following this Memorandum of Understanding, YWWB has been sending teams of experts once a year as JICA short term volunteers. This working relationship will be there for a period of three years from 2017 to 2020 to reduce non-revenue water. This year, YWWB sent four short term volunteers to BWB from 1st of October to 9th of November and the main activities during this 5 week period were to produce public works, water tariff collection manuals, and delivering waterworks classes to primary schools in Blantyre city.

One of big issues is water leakage from distribution pipes within the city greatly affect BWB's revenue. Current non-revenue water percentage is 32%. This is a challenge that is closely related to public works for water facilities in the city. In Blantyre, some water distribution pipes are inappropriately buried and there is no standardised depth of trenches in which the pipes are buried.

On the other hand, meter readers play an important role in the enhancement of revenue. The volunteers from YWWB also noted that individual meter readers knowledge and skills are inconsistent. In that regard they have come up with a plan to improve their skills and knowledge levels that included holding of a workshop with the meter readers. It took time for the volunteers to grasp and understand the situation because it was very different form Japan. However, they finally succeeded to complete drafting of the two manuals through continuous discussion with BWB staff members.

BWB has been offering waterworks classes to primary schools within Blantyre city to enhance the understanding of the importance of paying water bills and protecting water resources through an experiment. This experiment explains the function of retention of water by forests. We visited one of the primary schools in the city, taught waterworks classes and administered a quiz about forest conservation. The lessons were successfully conducted and students enjoyed learning. BWB has a challenge of shortage of staff and as a result only one staff member is involved into this activity. The volunteers develop manual for this activity and truly hope that these manuals will help to improve quality of service delivery and create a good relationship with citizens of Blantyre.

PhotoField Visiting

PhotoWaterworks Class at Primary School

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