The Story of the Impact Guidebook

The story began in 1997 when GTZ [1] and Jerusalem Water Undertaking (JWU) in the Palestinian Territories started the organization development process. The time, effort and enthusiasm that JWU employees applied are unforgettable. Sometimes, we spent days working on one topic, discussing until we all agreed. Sometimes there was controversy but it usually led to a better result.

With GTZ support, we compiled our ideas and examples into Jerusalem Water Undertaking: A Challenging Experience in Organization Development – A Guidebook which GTZ and JWU published in 2003. Since then, the Guidebook has been intensively used in Palestine, neighboring countries, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America (Spanish version available) to assist policy makers in the process of water sector reform and to guide senior staff in the process of commercialization of water utilities.

In 2009, some chapters of the Guidebook were transformed into the new e-learning format. The two GIZ human capacity development programs “MENA WANT”[2] and “WAVE” offered “basic” and “advanced” e-courses on organizational development in water and wastewater utilities to senior and mid-management staff of water utilities, regulators and other water sector actors.Since the original guidebook was published in 2003, thinking has evolved about how to build and sustain strong organizations. Capacity Development is now the term used to describe what it takes to do this. More and more, people are coming to believe that Capacity Development is an important part of improving organizations and water sector performance.

GIZ decided in 2010, to update and amend the original guidebook accordingly. The new guidebook was renamed to become “The Water Impact Guidebook” to illustrate that we want to achieve an IMPACT through capacity development in the water sector.Amongst other updates, the chapters on legal, political, institutional and policy framework in which water and wastewater utilities provide their services to people were substantially amended, and the chapters on good practices in technical and commercial management of utilities were considerably enlarged. At the same time, the authorship became more international with water specialists and trainers across the Near East, Maghreb and eastern and southern Africa, and international water experts who assisted in the peer review. This process creates ownership, fosters commitment and is an act of enablement – or capacity development – on its own with immediate benefits to all trainers, resource persons and eventually the participants of ongoing GIZ training activities in the water sector.