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Published on: 15/06/2017

Woman in charge of asset management in Nicaragua

In this podcast Catarina Fonseca and Jeroen Westerbeek talk with Kim Lemme and Brenda Achiro Muthemba from Water For People about asset management.

People usually associate asset management with money, but in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector it means maintenance to optimise performance of systems in the most cost-effective way. In urban areas asset management of water and sanitation infrastructure is a standard concept, but in rural areas this is often not the case due to limited financial and human capacity. Local governments in most rural areas do not know what water and sanitation systems are in place and what the status is.

Asset management is critical for:

  • Local government
  • Effectively prioritising which systems need work/repairs
  • Moving from reactionary repairs to proactive activities

As Kim Lemme explains, Water For People has developed several tools to help with maintenance. One is called FLOW which involves data collection on rural water systems with the help of mobile phones. The other is AtWhatCost, a cash flow tool which has been developed with the help of IRC. It is used among others for calculating tariffs based on the full life-cycle costs of a system.

These tools are very useful also in conversations with governments as they help visualise the situation on the ground. They provide the evidence and can be used in planning and budget allocation. Brenda Achiro Muthemba works for Water For People in Uganda in several districts where they use these tools, for instance for cost analysis to calculate a suitable tariff that people have to pay for water.

Kim LemmeKim Lemme is Global Advisor on sustainability of rural sanitation services at Water For People. Sustainability includes the suite of sustainability measurement tools and rolling them out in field programmes to have consistent data across Water For People’s 9 country programmes. In addition, Kim manages a few pilot innovations with work around water point operational maintenance, management structures and understanding financial flows within a municipality or district.


Brenda ABrenda Achiro Muthembachiro Muthemba is Programme Manager at Water For People Uganda. Among other things she is responsible for programme planning and budgeting, monitoring and communication and supporting programme teams in implementation. Brenda is involved in activities in 6 districts of operation including Kamwenge, Kampala, Soroti, Lira, Kitgum and Masaka.


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