Improving Village-level Financial, Management and Technical Capacity

Sessions at the 2017 Alaska Forum on the Environment | Dena'ina Convention Center
Thursday, February 9, 2017

During past USARC workshops on research needs in remote Arctic villages, the need for capacity-building as it relates to the operation of water and sanitation utilities and renewable energy projects in remote, rural villages was a recurring theme. Within a community, capacity is needed to envision, fund, organize, and execute projects such as a renewable energy project or utility. Capacity in rural Alaska also increases the odds of project success. In Alaska, village-level capacity is highly variable and depends on strong community leadership and the experience and training of skilled individuals.

Three sessions hosted by USARC at the 2017 Alaska Forum on the Environment were aimed at understanding the current methods of assessing and improving village-level capacity in order to improve the success rate of water and sanitation and renewable energy projects in remote Alaskan villages. These sessions included:

Session objectives were to:

For the purpose of these sessions, we defined capacity as:

Capacity (general): Specific ability of an entity (person or organization) or resource, measured in quantity and level of quality, over an extended period.

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Capacity Definition1: Refers to the capabilities required of a public water system in order to achieve and maintain compliance with the drinking water rules. It has three elements: technical, managerial and financial capacity.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has a similar definition as shown in the image below2


Short and long term planing


Session Documents

>> Agenda for all three sessions

>> Capacity Workshop readout - in development


PRESENTATIONS

Session 1 – Setting the stage

» Setting the stage and defining terms - by C. Rosa

» Overview of past capacity assessment and improvement efforts:

» Case Studies


Session 2 – Assessment of village-level capacity: current approaches

» Alaska Village Electrical Cooperative capacity assessment approach - by F. Button

» Fuel Oil Loan Capacity assessment approach - by J. Sullivan

» Operation and Maintenance Best Practices Scoring List - by C. Bohan


Session 3 – Capacity Improvement efforts and Development of a Holistic Community Capacity Improvement Plan

» Capacity building programs: Pinga App and ANEEE - by P. Foster Wilder

» First Alaska Institute leadership development programs - by L. Medicine Crow. This final presentation did not include a slide presentation but focused on the FAI’s philosophy that capacity is not just about training good employees but rather about the collective wellbeing of the community and the importance of leadership and community connectedness. For more information on FAI’s capacity building programs click here.






1 Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. 2000. REPORT OF FINDINGS ON IMPROVING THE TECHNICAL, MANAGERIAL AND FINANCIAL CAPACITY OF ALASKA’S PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS.

2 https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/learn-about-small-drinking-water-systems