We are on the tipping-point of finalising the inception phase of the public private partnership ‘Football for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.’ The country teams of Kenya, Ghana and Mozambique have developed their year plans and are ready to kick-off.

This has been a process of a year and a half of partnership work: seven partners in the Netherlands, 22 partners in three African countries and many new players on the field who are joining our ‘Football for WASH’ team.

The objectives of the overall programme are ambitious and straightforward: provide WASH facilities to 1,200 schools for 740,000 children in combination with football training and upgrades of football pitches.

To be able to strengthen and sustain the ‘business as usual’ in this programme, Aqua for All organised a workshop this week for all partners in three implementing countries. The theme of the workshop was ‘Business Development & Innovation’ and it took place in Nairobi.

The first outcome of day one emphasised the need for innovation: Football for WASH is not business as usual. The following four themes guided us though the week, and resulted in the following one-liners:
• Alignment between Football & WASH
• Business Development & Innovation
• Project Monitoring & Evaluation (via Akvo FLOW)
• Communication (Akvo Really Simple Reporting)

The power of football is enormous, especially in Africa where the programme will be launched – Kenya, Ghana and Mozambique. Football as an entry point to the public school creates a platform to involve and share life skills messages via coaches – role models to be able to inspire behavioral change.

The potential of this programme is very powerful and could evolve into a new type of global approach for access to WASH services and behavioral change: Football Led Total Sanitation – a sustainable platform for local entrepreneurs to benefit from this improved enabling environment around the schools.

Akvo has been involved since the beginning and definitely believes in the power of sport (for development) and will bring around 30 projects in the three different countries online via our partner sites. Furthermore, we are leading in development of website and branding of the programme.

We love our work but it will also be very challenging because of all the different players around the field. During this week’s workshop, we strengthened the power of communication via Akvo Really Simple Reporting as an integral part of the programme.

Each day, we wrapped-up our programme with video interviews, and started each new day with fresh energy with a re-cap of videos. In total we have produced around 35 interviews as a group. More and more of this project will be brought online. At the moment we are working with three projects in Kenya. Ghana and Mozambique will follow soon.

Everybody was enlightened when Luuk presented Akvo FLOW live on stage during the monitoring programme. All the data that we gathered during our tea-break on different locations at the workshop venue showed up on Google maps and was met with loud applause.

There couldn’t be a better way to conclude this intensive week than to participate in a WorldCoaches training and play some football.

After this week’s hard work on the monitoring protocol, it’s time to kick-off the baseline and bring it into practice. Luuk, Peter (the Country Lead Kenya) and I will travel to Kisumu for a two day Akvo FLOW workshop with implementing partners to gather data and map the first 25 schools. After all of the hard work and preparation on the Football for WASH partnership, it is great to see the ball moving.

You can view some of the photos I took at the workshop on my flickr set.

Frodo van Oostveen is a programme manager at Akvo, based in the Netherlands.