The Water and Environmental Sanitation Coordination mechanism (WESCOORD) was established in 2001 as a technical arm of Kenya food security Steering group (KFSSG) to tackle the La-Nina related drought of 2000/2001. The drought had severally affected 12 districts in the North of the country. The initial focus was on food distribution, but this rapidly evolved into a multi-sectoral response. WESCOORD was created under the KFSSG to bring together agencies that are active in water and sanitation in areas that are commonly affected by drought and floods. It was also formed with the purpose of achieving a coordinated and integrated approach in the implementation of WASH emergencies responses. WESCOORD has been active in drought-affected areas but less so in areas affected by other emergencies. This year, WESCOORD expanded its scope to 23 priority counties that are prone to various emergencies including: drought and food insecurity, floods, conflict and disease outbreaks.
Overall, the coordination of WASH interventions in Kenya is led by the ministry responsible for water affairs; and the ministry responsible for public health and sanitation, with support from UNICEF. In practical terms, WESCOORD is chaired by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MoWI), and co-chaired by UNICEF. The Ministry of Health (MOH) also takes on a significant role in WESCOORD, chairing key technical working groups in hygiene and sanitation sub-sectors. WESCOORD also brings together the many agencies active in responding to the WASH needs of those people affected by emergencies throughout the country.
Usually, WESCOORD meetings attract between 25 - 50 people depending on whether there is an emergency or not. It is therefore challenging to reach a consensus on strategic WASH issues during the national coordination forums. It was decided that Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) would be formed to guide and advise WESCOORD operations. It was agreed that the SAG meets on a more regular basis than the larger group, and reports to/ support WESCOORD as a whole.