On September 15th, the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Mohamed Gharib Bilal, and other government officials gathered alongside members from a number of industries on the edge of the Mara River as part of the Mara Day celebration – an annual event shared between Kenya and Tanzania devoted to protecting the natural beauty and resources of the Mara River region.
This year’s Mara Day marked an exciting milestone. For the first time, Kenya and Tanzania signed an agreement ensuring that both countries will sustainably co-manage the Mara ecosystem. This inter-governmental commitment demonstrates a prominent level of engagement for sustainability efforts in the area. Meanwhile, members of a new public-private partnership signed and agreed to address some of the difficulties associated with water pollution in the Mara-Serengeti region. The partners included the Mara-Serengeti Hoteliers Forum (MSHF), the multi-national chemicals manufacturing company BASF, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), the Kenya National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), and the Water Resource Management Authority (WRMA) of the Lake Victoria Region.
The partnership declared at Mara Day is a result of Resonance’ private sector mapping work, carried out as part of the USAID Kenya and East Africa Planning for Resilience in East Africa through Policy, Adaption, Research and Economic Development (PREPARED) project, with the continued efforts of Polycarp Ngoje, PREPARED’s Partnership Specialist. In describing the level of effort and cultivation needed to get partners on board, Resonance’s Director Thomas Buck noted, “This partnership has been over a year in the making, and has really started to take shape in the past 4-5 months.”
Through intense collaboration and the utilization of a diverse multi-sectoral set of skills and assets, the partnership will be instrumental in addressing and improving resource efficiency challenges and practices throughout the Mara-Serengeti region. By providing technical assistance through assessments and management guidance to hospitality operations in the area, the impact of BASF’s involvement will be two-fold: lowering operating costs and establishing sustainable wastewater practices. The result will be a cleaner and healthier ecosystem, sustaining the natural beauty of the region.
The partnership has already set goals for the first year. During the upcoming months, the partners plan to establish a measurable breakdown of how to achieve the reduced effects of wastewater in the Mara. In addition to forming a quantitative, results-driven analysis, the partnership also aims to facilitate a noticeable increase in the use of green technology and innovation practices. Lastly, within a year from now, the group intends to identify and institutionalize a set of actionable wastewater practices – management models and technological innovations – intended to become the industry standard in the area.