DRAP Miji Bora First Learning Exchange – Mombasa, November

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The first peer to peer learning exchange between officials of eThekwini Municipality and the County Government Mombasa took place from 11 – 13th November 2019 in Mombasa, Kenya. These two coastal cities share many similarities and challenges, and both have committed to improving the functioning of their governments and addressing climate change through engaging in a series of learning exchanges. The November exchange focused on sustainable solutions to climate change-related challenges in the Water, Sanitation, Solid Waste, Environment, Transport and Energy sectors and was convened as one of the key activities of the Miji Bora action research project.
The Miji Bora project is funded by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Sciences Association (WIOMSA) within its Cities and Coasts programme. It is a transdisciplinary action research project with the learning exchange team drawn from researchers and city officials from these two cities, and supported by Coastal and Marine Resources Development (COMRED) in Mombasa, Kenya. The aim of the Miji Bora project is to develop and prototype smart and sustainable solutions for a climate resilient County Government Mombasa (CGM). The peer to peer (P2P) learning component of the Miji Bora project seeks to develop and test a framework for P2P learning between cities, critically assessing the efficacy of the CGM experience.
The visit coincided with unusually persistent rainfall in Mombasa. The so-called short rains of October and November were remarked, by many, to resemble the long rains of April to June. This rainfall served to highlight challenges around transport and drainage, which in of itself was useful, but was also an impediment to visiting sites. For example, access to the new landfill site is not possible during persistent rains, and some CGM officials were not able to attend meetings due to not being able to make it to the venues. Despite these challenges, there was a real commitment from, and an interest shown by the CGM officials in the peer learning process, and the meetings exceeded expectations in terms of highlighting topics and projects for the main exchange in Durban early next year.
Many of the challenges relate to capacity and lack of resources; these include an ability to maintain equipment for solid waste processes, for example, the incinerator in the hospital not functioning so medical waste was dumped on an open lot, and the lack of drainage in the County resulting in the extensive flooding in the City. The return exchange will focus on identifying what has worked in the exchange, e.g. informal litter collectors, and developing sustainable solutions that promote job creation and which use a climate change lens to improve existing service delivery challenges.

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