UNESCO-IHE leads public-private initiative to bring sustainable change in Mara river basin, Kenya

Posted on 9 October 2014


The Mau Mara Serengeti Sustainable Water Initiative (MaMaSe) was recently awarded an 8 million Euro grant by the Dutch embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
The four-year project, starting the first of January 2014 will improve water safety and security in the Mara River Basin in support of structural poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth, and conservation of the basin’s forest and rangeland ecosystems.

MaMaSe will pursue this through a broad-based, basin-scale public-private-partnership (PPP) designed to empower people and promote self-reliance.
The Sustainable Water Management Mara (SWMM) Fund has created an extraordinary opportunity for a diverse consortium of International (mainly Dutch) and Kenyan partners to combine their knowledge, expertise, networks, and resources to improve water safety and security in the Mara River Basin (MRB).

The MaMaSe consortium is led by Dutch-based UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, in close cooperation with WWF Kenya, and includes a wide range of experts from government authorities, private sector, knowledge institutes and NGOs from Kenya, the Netherlands and Germany (Deltares, Egerton University, GiZ, HSBC Bank, ITC/TU Twente, Kenya Water Resources Management Authority, Mara farming, Waterschap Brabantse Delta, SNV and Wageningen UR).

This news item was originally published on the website of UNESCO-IHE


The MaMaSe Sustainable Water Initiative is aimed at

  • improving water safety and security in the Mara River Basin
  • supporting structural poverty reduction,
  • empowering the people of the basin and promoting self-reliance
  • sustainable economic growth,
  • conservation of the basin’s world-renowned ecosystems
  • improved water management in the main economic activities of the basin: agriculture, cattle ranching, and wildlife-based tourism


Current status
Project started January 2014  (four year project)

Project plan
The approach includes activities to

  1. update the official Catchment Management Strategy and specific Sub-Catchment management plans for the Mara River Basin, 
  2. strengthen the capacity of water authorities to effectively implement the strategy and plans, 
  3. support the protection and restoration of forest and rangeland ecosystems, 
  4. identify and pilot new and more sustainable forms of economic development,
  5. increase and stabilize the financial resources needed to support the move to sustainable development, and 
  6. learn from our experiences and make this knowledge and the tools to implement it available for wider application in the Mara River Basin and across the region.

Project location

Project partners

  • Deltares
  • Dutch Water Authorities | Unie van Waterschappen
  • Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) - University of Twente
  • IHE Delft | Institute for Water Education
  • SNV Netherlands Development Organisation