OKACOM's weblog: quick updates about activities, events and resources of interest to OKACOM.
The Southern Africa Regional Environmental Program (SAREP) is seeking applications from entrepreneurial, non-governmental (NGOs) and for-profit organizations in Botswana, Namibia, and Angola to implement innovative grants that will promote safe, low-cost, access to potable water in communities within the Cubango-Okavango River Basin.
SAREP intends to award one grant an organization working in Botswana, one grant in Namibia, and one grant in Angola for a total of three grants to start-up production centers and provide operations for the production of low-cost, household, ceramic water-filtration systems. The objective of these grants is to provide affordable and sustainable access to safe, potable water for residents of households and communities within the Cubango-Okavango River Basin.
The deadline for submissions is 18 August 2012.
Read more by downloading the RFA document and application forms:
Annex A Grant Application Form
Annex B Application Budget Form
Annex C Applicant Self-Assessment Form
Annex D Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Faith-Based and Community Organisations
OKACOM's colour comic book, River Cousins : the Search, published in English and Portuguese, introduces young people to the three characters Domingos from Angola, Qana from Botswana and Hausiku from Namibia. The three meet by accident on the river and share an adventure that shows them how important it is to work together to solve problems.
The comic was reviewed with focus groups of youth in OKACOM's three member countries, assisted by ACADIR in Angola and by the OkBMC in Namibia. The book was launched at OKACOM's 18th annual meeting in Luanda on June 1st 2012 with a play based on the story, sponsored by the USAID SAREP project.
Read the comic online.
Download the PDF (4547 KB).
Request printed copies of the comic from OKACOM Secretariat.
OKACOM and partner project SAREP joined representatives from water governance bodies and communications specialists from the SADC region in a workshop organised by the interim Secretariat in Gaborone today. Sponsored by the German development organisation , the meeting brought the specialists together to review ZAMCOM interim secretariat's proposed strategy to support management approaches to safeguarding lives, livelihoods and nature while promoting further sustainable development in the river system.
The proposed strategy is based on a study completed by SADC in March 2011, Dam Synchronisation and Flood Releases in the Zambezi River Basin Project, that recommends improvements in dam management, flood forecasting systems and infrastructure investments.
OKACOM's development is included in discussions at the 5th SADC RBO Workshop in Harare, Zimbabwe, through presentations about institutional development of shared watercourses. The Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM), the Orange-Sengu River Commission (ORASECOM), the Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM), as well as organisations representing the Incomati, Maputo, Buzi, Rovuma, Save and Kunene river systems joined OKACOM in talking about meeting the challenges of coordination and development. Read more, including stories about the work of OKACOM's OBSC member Tracy Molefi and the launch of OKACOM's River Cousins comic, in the special issue of IPS's Terraviva magazine.
OKACOM is attending the 5th SADC RBO Workshop in Harare, Zimbabwe this week, sharing its recently launched and printed Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) report and news about its institutional planning process with sister organisations throughout the SADC region. Focus of this year's meeting is on how RBOs are implementing the Revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses, which is meant to guide member states in planning and development of transboundary rivers.
Today OKACOM completed a week long series of discussions at its 18th ordinary meeting, held this year in Luanda, Angola. Decisions from the week included approval of the draft five year plan for supporting implementation of the Cubango-Okavango Strategic Action Programme (SAP), finalisation of three strategic policy documents, including a landmark access to information policy, and official launch of OKACOM´s new website and River Cousins, a comic book designed to create awareness of river basin issues among young people in the basin. Read the official press release here.
An extraordinary meeting of the Okavango Basin Steering Committee (OBSC) held on April 26th to 27th at Maun Lodge in Maun, Botswana, discussed a proposal for a new five-year plan for OKACOM activities. The draft plan includes proposed at building capacity of OKACOM's Secretariat to manage implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Development and Management of the Cubango-Okavango Basin (SAP), including a Basin Development and Management Framework.
The plan will be reviewed at OKACOM's annual meeting in Luanda, Angola the last week of May 2012.
Botswana Government Ministers and their representatives from various sectors met in Gaborone today to consider endorsement of OKACOM's Strategic Action Programme (SAP). The meeting took the form of a workshop that briefed the participants about completion of the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis, the SAP and National Action Plans (NAPs).
Ministers and senior officials, including Members of Parliament, responded to the proposed programme by emphasising the urgent need to put measures into place that would both create better economic conditions for basin residents and preserve the value of the river's natural resources.
Read the media release from the Botswana Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources here.
Okavango Basin Steering Committee (OBSC) member for Botswana Tracy Molefi, accompanying the delegation of Botswana's Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources at the World Water Forum meeting in Marseilles, France this week, has reported that Ministers and Heads of Delegations signed a declaration supporting good water management. River basin management was highlighted in several of the articles:
"As part of the solution, we encourage the competent authorities, including basin authorities, to adopt the most coherent, equitable and sustainable cross-sector frameworks needed to achieve sustainable development." (From No. 11)
"We recognize the urgent need for multi-stakeholder platforms, preferably at the basin level, for the implementation of joint strategies and the coordination of prevention and response in emergency situations." (From No. 19)
"We intend to further promote and encourage coordinated, equitable, reasonable and optimal water utilization in transboundary basins, with a view to deepening mutual trust among riparian countries and achieve sound cooperation." (From No. 24).
You can read the full text of the Declaration on the conference web site.The World Water Forum is held every three years with the goal of raising water on the political agenda of participating countries.
With the approval of the governments of Angola, Namibia, and Botswana, and the finalization of contracts with key local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Southern Africa Regional Environmental Program (SAREP) hired and seconded staff to each partner NGO during this reporting period. The SAREP staff seconded to these partner NGOs will oversee and monitor implementation of partners’ contract activities.
SAREP also organized an exchange visit for seconded staff members to a successful trans-boundary watershed management program in Malawi and Tanzania to see first-hand how similar programs protect biodiversity while simultaneous improving livelihoods.
The project also completed a number of seminal documents, including the Preliminary Biodiversity Threats Assessment, the Ecosystems Health Rapid Assessment (EHRA), the IWQM “Training of Trainers” manual, and the basin Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) institution capacity assessment. These documents will be distributed early in the next quarter.
SAREP is a three-year project (with an optional two-year extension) to support the initiatives of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to address threats to ecosystem services and biodiversity within priority shared river basins. The project works in collaboration with the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) to implement strategies and activities centered on conserving biodiversity, improving water supply and sanitation services, and strengthening regional capacity to respond to the effects of climate change and HIV/AIDS.
Read the full report.