Establish a MoU with the local government

Clarify expectations and responsibilities of both, the CSO and the local government, regarding your planned project

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) describes an agreement between two or more parties: in this case, the organization that implements the project and the local government (in the case of Kenya this would be the responsible ministry within county government). It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, specifying an intended common line of action. It may be legally binding if specified.

Purpose and link to IQC

The purpose of a MoU is to formally agree on the objectives, roles and ground rules of the partnership between the local government that holds the mandate for service provision and the implementing organization. Establishing a clear agreement can help prevent conflict and reputational harm because expectations discussed, agreed and documented at an early stage leaving less room for misinterpretation. It also increases transparency in the relationship with the public authority and allows holding either party accountable to their commitments.

How to

1.   Define the main objectives of the agreement

The CSO and the local government should jointly clarify the purpose of the MoU and how the cooperation will contribute to enhance water or sanitation service provision or WRM practices. Amongst others the following questions should be answered:

  • Which geographical area does the implementing organization work in?
  • Which sub-sector(s) and what aspect of the sub-sector(s) does the implementing organization focus on (e.g. specific areas of water supply, sanitation, water resources management)?
  • Which technologies are being used? What activities are being implemented?
  • Is the implementing organization responsible for project facilitation or also for service provision?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the MoU partners during project implementation and after ion complete? Who contributes what?

2.   Develop the text for the MoU

Refer to the template for an example for the structure and content of an MoU.

3.   Execute and communicate

The MoU is signed by each party. It should be communicated to the public and wherever possible a copy of the MoU should be made publicly available. Explore if a small signing event can be organized to help bring visibility and awareness about the project and strengthen ownership on the local government.

4.   Review and adapt the MoU

The signatories should review the MoU regularly to monitor its implementation and its comprehensiveness. If need be the MoU should be updated with an addendum to capture any changes in the responsibilities of or the relationship between the parties.


References & Further Readings

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Writing guide for a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
  • MWI and MoH. 2006. Memorandum of Understanding. The Implementation Modality for Water supply, Sanitation & Hygiene Education Activities. Kenya.


Last updated 12 April 2018

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