A journey that begun in 2009 has finally bore good fruit. In 2013, NAWASSCO began the lab accreditation process with the accreditation body Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS).
The process was a long and rigorous one that would ensure that NAWASSCO’s laboratory services meets international standards. KENAS is the Sole National Accreditation Body (NAB) mandated to offer accreditation services in Kenya. It is established under the States Corporations Act, Cap 446; vide Legal Notice No. 55 of May 2009. It gives formal attestation that Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) are competent to carry out specific conformity assessment activities.
Laboratory accreditation is a process by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition of technical competence for specific tests/ measurements, based on third party assessment and following international standard. Accreditation is considered as the first essential step for facilitating mutual acceptance of test results and measurement data.
When receiving the accreditation certificate on 2nd October 2013 the Managing Director Eng. John Cheruiyot was happy and elated; “we are delighted to position ourselves properly, this is a big milestone for NAWASSCO, we pride ourselves in being among the best in this country; we are also now able to carry out testing services like any other international body” He also noted that NAWASSCO is the only utility in Rift valley and Western regions that has acquired the ISO/IEC 17025 certification. The competence will now attract more customers for laboratory services and the results will be reliable since they have now met international standards.
According to KENAS, the accreditation granted to a laboratory shall remain valid for a period of 3 years subject to satisfactory periodical (annual) surveillance. Laboratory also has an option to increase the scope of accreditation in terms of specific tests and calibrations. KENAS has established policies and procedures for granting, suspending and withdrawal of accreditation in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025.
NAWASSCO will continue to seek international standards in all its endeavors, the Managing Director noted that the laboratory accreditation gives NAWASSCO the impetus to attain the ISO certification for Quality Management Systems which he hopes will be achieved in February 2014.