August 24, 2016

Ethiopia: Data Farming – How Ethiopian Farmers Harvest Data to Help Their Crops

UPGro
August 24, 2016

What’s the weather doing? It’s a question that obsesses many but for many Ethiopians it is question that makes the difference between plenty and destitution. Ethiopia is a rich and diverse country that is home to around 100 million people, 88 different languages and imbued with long, diverse history. Its highlands are seasonally wet and fertile and its lowland deserts are among the most parched places on Earth.

Dangila woreda, or district, is a hilly area in the north west of the country with a population of around 160,000 people spread across an area of about 900 km2. Although the area receives rainfall at around 1,600mm a year, over 90% of this falls between May and October. For farmers, who depend on livestock and rainfed crops, understanding and predicting these rains is crucial to their livelihoods. Traditional strategies, which have served for millennia, are coming under threat from new pressures of shifting climate patterns, land degradation and population growth.

Exactly what is happening now and what is likely to happen in the future is uncertain due to the lack of rainfall, river flow and groundwater level data. Throughout much of Sub-Saharan Africa, under-investment by governments has led to a widespread decline in environmental monitoring, and this in turn makes water resources management harder and harder.

Community River monitoring in Dangila woreda, Ethopia (D. Walker, Newcastle University)

Community River monitoring in Dangila woreda, Ethopia (D. Walker, Newcastle University)

But what if those who stood to gain most from better understanding and management of water resources were those leading the data collection? Can communities reliably collect accurate weather, river and groundwater data? This is the question that is being investigated by researchers, led by Newcastle University in the UK through an UPGro-supported project called AMGRAF ).

In a new paper in the Journal of Hydrology , David Walker and his colleagues explain why they think citizen science has a future in rural Ethiopia and beyond:

“The benefits of community involvement in science are being slowly recognised across many fields, in large part because it helps build public understanding of science, ownership and pride in the results, and this can benefit both individuals and local planning processes,” said Walker. “Because there are so few formal monitoring stations and such large areas that need to be understood and managed, we need to think differently about how data collection can be done.”

The community-based monitoring programme was started in February 2014 and residents of an area called Dangesheta were involved in the siting new rain and river gauges, and identifying wells that were suitable to be monitored. Five wells are manually dipped every two days, with a deep meter to measure the depth from the ground surface and the water level in the well; a rain gauge was installed in the smallholding of a resident who then took measurements every day at 9am; two river gauge boards were installed in the Kilti and Brante rivers and were monitored daily at 6am and 6pm.

Every month, the volunteers would then give their hard copy records to the Dangila woreda government office, who then typed them into an Excel spreadsheet and emailed to the research team.

But is this data any good? For David and his colleagues, this was a critical question that could make or break the whole approach. The challenges of data validation are substantial, and there are generally two types of error:
Sampling errors come from the variability of rainfall, river flow and groundwater level over time and over area. The sampling error increases with rainfall and decreases with increased gauge density. A challenge in tropical areas, such as Ethiopia, is much of the rain is high-intensity thunderstorms, which can be quite short in duration and small in size, and therefore easy to miss, or only partially record, if the density of monitoring stations is low.

Observational errors are the second type, and can come from a number of things: wind turbulence, splashing around the gauge, evaporation can affect how much is in the rain gauge, and then the observer might not read the gauge accurately or make a mistake or unclear notation, when writing the measurement down.

“Tracking down errors is tricky, but it can be done, mainly through statistical comparison with established monitoring stations and with each other,” said Walker. “What we found was that the community collected data is more reliable than that gathered through remote sensing instruments from satellites.”

It is hoped that this promising approach can attract further support and be used more widely, but what are the secrets, and challenges, to making community monitoring work?

“People are at the heart of this process and selection of volunteers is crucial to avoid problems with data falsification or vandalism,” concluded Walker. “Feedback is absolutely vital and through workshops and meetings the data can be presented and analysed with the community so that they can make decisions on how best use the available rainfall, river flows, and groundwater to provide secure sources of water for their farms and their homes.”

August 24, 2016

Africa Groundwater Atlas: “X” Marks the Spot, But Where’s The Map?

UPGro
August 24, 2016

Africa Groundwater Atlas overview

Africa Groundwater Atlas overview

Drilling for water is a fraught business in Africa – like being a pirate without a treasure map. In many areas, the rock is old – some of the oldest on our planet.

This cracked, shattered stone that is blasted by desert heat or soaked in tropical rains with often only a thin covering of rust-stained soil, can hold substantial amounts of water, but a driller needs to know where to look and the skill to develop a water source that will last. A metre or two can make the difference between a dry hole and a well that could supply a village or a farm for a lifetime.

The good news is that in many parts of Africa, there is more groundwater available close to most areas where it is needed and the potential to store more with land use or technology changes. Currently, groundwater is an underused natural resource in much of Africa – where water insecurity is rife and drought is currently threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in southern and eastern Africa.

For once, there may even be a rare silver lining to climate change – as it appears that in some environments groundwater recharge happens more readily when rainfall intensity is high . Thus understanding and managing Africa’s aquifers should be central to poverty alleviation and climate resilience strategies.

A challenge up until now has been the lack of easily available groundwater information:
“When you drill a borehole in the UK, there are incredibly detailed maps and borehole logs [registered with the British Geological Survey (BGS)] to help you decide where to drill,” said Sean Furey, a water and sanitation specialist at Skat told The Guardian . “Even in countries where a similar organisation exists, that sort of data isn’t available because NGOs, the private sector or even governments who commission boreholes aren’t aware that they need to submit their drilling logs.”

In May, the Africa Groundwater Atlas was launched and is a major step forward in addressing this information gap.

The British Geological Survey has developed the Atlas in partnership with the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) Burdon Groundwater Network for Developing Countries, and with more than 50 collaborating groundwater experts across Africa.

For each of 51 African countries, the Africa Groundwater Atlas provides new overview geology and hydrogeology maps and summaries of the key geological environments and aquifers in each country.

There are sections on groundwater status, use and management, including groundwater monitoring, with up to date information on the national organisations involved in groundwater development and management. There is supporting material on geographical setting, climate, surface water, soil and land cover, with accompanying maps; and finally, there are references and links to more detailed information for those wishing to find out more.

Accompanying pages highlight important issues related to African groundwater, such as recharge, groundwater development techniques and transboundary aquifers; with links to sources of further information.

Also available is the Africa Groundwater Literature Archive, which enables users to search (geographically and by keyword) and freely access thousands of articles, reports and other documents about African groundwater.

The Africa Groundwater Atlas is still being developed. Some of the pages still have limited information, and for many others there may be more details to be added or updates to be made – and there is still a need for country-level collection of borehole logs. However, if you are working in Africa on rural or urban water supply, water resources, environmental protection, agriculture, mining or forestry, you should bookmark the Atlas in your web browser today.

We can’t tell you if X marks the spot of the hidden treasure you are looking for – but at least now you have a map.

August 23, 2016

Nigeria: WaterAid Nigeria Launches New 5 Year Country Programme Strategy to Support Universal Access to WASH Services for Nigeria By 2030

Aaron Kaah Yancho
August 23, 2016

The WaterAid Nigeria has launched its 2016 – 2021 country programme strategy – laying the foundation for the fifteen year path to achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene for everyone everywhere in Nigeria by 2030.

Over the next five years, the organisation will focus on increasing citizens’ access to quality, equitable and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services built on a strong sector and engaged communities.

Globally, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target for drinking water was met five years ahead of the 2015 schedule. However, billions of people – at least 1 in 3 – still live without a decent toilet.

Despite documented progress of people having improved access to water in Nigeria, the country failed to meet the MDG targets for both water and sanitation and consequently, nearly 45,000 children under the age of five in Nigeria still die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by the nation’s poor levels of access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Unclean water and a lack of basic sanitation are undermining efforts to end extreme poverty and disease in Africa.

Unclean water and a lack of basic sanitation are undermining efforts to end extreme poverty and disease in Africa.

Although the 2015 WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) shows an increase in water coverage for Nigeria from 40% in 1990 to 69% in 2015, the percentage of the population without access to sanitation is falling – from 38% in 1990 to just 29% in 2015.

This wholly unacceptable situation causes untold suffering, affecting human and sustainable development, particularly in the lives of women – who carry the burden of fetching water and caring for sick children; and for girls – who may be forced to miss school because of the absence of toilets there, thus limiting their exposure to education and consequently, opportunities to make choices that could help them overcome lives of poverty.

The 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) give hope for tackling the WASH crisis in Nigeria as the country is signed up to achieving these Global Goals. WaterAid Nigeria launches its new strategy with a commitment to seizing this historic opportunity to tackle the underlying causes of poverty and inequality and to accelerate transformational change through a shared vision of universal access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

Speaking on the new strategy, WaterAid Nigeria Country Director, Dr. Michael Ojo said:
“Our new strategy is an ambitious and challenging one but we look forward to an exciting journey that will impact positively on child health, education, livelihoods, the environment and addressing poverty and inequalities. Our strategic objectives target strengthening systems to reduce WASH sector blockages; empowering citizens to demand their rights and participate in WASH decision-making and strengthening partnerships to influence the WASH sector and increase access to sustainable WASH services. We will continue to work with the government, colleagues in the development sector and through our partners, to ensure universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all in Nigeria by 2030.”

WaterAid International’s Chief Executive, Barbara Frost, who is on a working visit to the country, added that: “WaterAid Nigeria’s 2016-2021 Strategy is a monumental and impressive roadmap to changing the course of history and reaching those who are poorest and most vulnerable in Nigeria with safe water, sanitation and hygiene. These life-saving and essential services are fundamental to both human and national development and delivering on them will transform the lives of millions of Nigerians. Achieving universal access for all in Nigeria is possible with the right political commitment, funding, collaborations and innovative thinking.”

Mariame Dem, Head of Region, WaterAid West Africa said, “WaterAid Nigeria has a crucial role to play in achieving universal access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all Nigerians by 2030. Getting it right in Nigeria will make a huge impact on improving WASH access rates not just for the region but for Africa as a whole. Nigeria must live up to its status as the giant of Africa and leverage on the enormous potential and opportunities within the country to make some real progress for all Nigerians in this area.”

Since its inception in Nigeria in 1995, WaterAid Nigeria has grown from a small organisation located in one state to an attractive national brand. Innovative and internationally tested programme delivery approaches have contributed to quality programming both on the demand and supply sides of WASH services at national, state and local government levels. Millions of Nigerians have benefitted directly from our provision of WASH infrastructure in communities. Still many more, from access to WASH facilities provided indirectly through our collaboration and assistance to government and other stakeholders.

August 16, 2016

Nigeria: President Buhari Urges International Communities to Save Lake Chad from Extinction

Mohammad Ibrahim
August 16, 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has urged rich countries to do something urgent to save the Lake Chad from extinction, arising from effects of climate change.

Receiving the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, in Abuja, President Buhari warned that failure to regenerate the Lake Chad will lead to another round of migration by people living in the areas.

The President, who led seven ministers to an interactive meeting with the UNESCO chief, said Nigeria and the other countries of the Lake Chad Basin lacked the billions of dollars required to channel water from the Congo Basin into the lake to check its rapid depletion.

Senior Special Assistance to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu disclosed this in a statement.

“Those living in the Lake Chad region have suffered untold hardship and displacement because of the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists.

‘‘If there is no farming and fishing, they will dare the desert to migrate.

“Unless the developed countries make concerted efforts to complete the feasibility study, mobilize resources and technology to start the water transfer from the Congo Basin, the Lake Chad will dry up.

‘‘The people will go somewhere and they will create problems for those countries,” the President told the visiting UN official.

President Buhari commended UNESCO’s support to Nigeria particularly on the ongoing rehabilitation work in the North East and reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

He said the pathetic situation of IDPs requires immediate and urgent response from international organisations such as UNSECO to provide infrastructure, health and education for the people in the area.

The UNESCO Director-General, Mrs. Bokova, who commenced a week-long visit to West and Central Africa on August 6, said she was in Nigeria to strengthen the organization’s programme in the areas of science and technology, gender and youth development, culture, water resources development, health and environment.

August 16, 2016

Nigeria: Kakura Residents Laments Lack of Portable Drinking Water

Mohammad Ibrahim
August 16, 2016

Residents of Kakura community in Chikun Local government Area of Kaduna State northwest are lamenting lack of portable water within their village despite their closeness to the city.

The people drink from a pond covered with dirts particularly during dried season.

A visit by water Journalists Africa reporter to the village with about 1000 inhabitants discovered that the community lacks access to good and clean water to drink.

Woman fetching water to drink from a pond covered with dirt

Woman fetching water to drink from a pond covered with dirt

Lamenting on the issue, the Village head, Ishaya Gwamna said in rainy reason all well in the village get dried off.

” We do suffered a lot during dried season because all wells within the village get dried off. The only borehole provided to us by an NGO in year 2000 has stopped working.

“Now our women fetched water from well but as soon as the rain stop they move to the pond to fetch water,” he said.

Another Community Leader Sunday Kakura said they are not happy drinking from a pond shared by people and cows.

“We have no option but to drink from same pond because we just have to survive. But we need assistance from any individual to provide us with boreholes in the village. We are subsistence farmers and need government intervention in our village,” he said.

The village head Ishaya Gwamna also expressed sadness with regards to lack of portable water for his people.

“We vote during elections because politicians do come to seek for our votes. But they never fulfilled their promises to us.

“We are appealing to philanthropists, other agencies and even the state government to provide us with primary health care center where our women and children can access health care. We equally need drinking water in the community which is a big challenge to us,” he said.

August 3, 2016

Malawi: World Vision Intensifies Borehole Drilling

George Mhango
August 3, 2016

Mary Msampha can now afford to draw water close to her home

Mary Msampha can now afford to draw water close to her home

Mary Msampha used to walk 10 kilometers to and from her house searching for water in Lipiri, Dowa District, Central Region Malawi.

The area is within the control of Traditional Authority (T/A) Kayembe and shares boundary with T/A Chakhaza, another popular chief in the district.

“Our children suffered a lot. Even cooking food was a challenge without water. Secondly, as you know that when you have infants or young children you have to wash their nappies, this was another setback,” says Msampha.

Most of her time was spent on searching for water. Little time was spent on taking care of her family and practicing farming, according to Msampha.

“We sometimes had no option but to travel to a distant place called Kawande to draw water,” recalls Msampha, adding that like other women, they were subjected to long queues and sleepless night as their efforts to draw water.

People in Lipiri, Dowa are both great commercial and subsistence farmers of beans, cotton, maize, groundnuts, soya sorghum and other crops.

Initially, Dowa is an agricultural district which focuses on cotton and groundnut farming, and the main food crops produced in the district are maize, sweet potatoes and pulses.

Even a visit to the area showed that the area has no enough portable water. Perennial rivers from where people can fetch water for home use and dambo farming are also few prompting such challenges women encounter.

Drilling of a hole captured in progress in Lipiri

Drilling of a hole captured in progress in Lipiri

Msampha adds that government funded community based care centres including those of various organizations such as World Vision in Lipiri were affected.

“It was difficult to run a Community Based Care Centre (CBCC) without water because apart from teaching children every operation depends on water. For you to prepare porridge, wash their clothes, one needs water. It was a problem running CBCCs then,” explains Msampha, who also teaches at Lipiri CBCC.

Go there today, such calamities are history. The area has more holes drilled by World Vision. Children and community members, who also used to suffer from waterborne diseases, can now afford a healthier life.

Water is also available in most CBCCs. “We now have the audacity to fetch water from boreholes World Vision drilled in the area. We no longer complain because we even have gardens where we grow vegetables to supplement the diet,” says another mother identified as Naphiri.

World Vision Central Region coordinator Liddah Mtimuni Manyozo says currently, the organisation has intensified the drilling of 43 holes in Lipiri Area Programme.

“To this day 37 holes have been drilled with two dry holes in Lipiri, which has a population of 22, 382. On average,” said Manyozo.

The initiative is meant to deal with water challenges children and others face in homes, schools and habitable place. In fact, in other areas World Vision is drilling solar power driven boreholes.

July 27, 2016

Nigeria: WaterAid Nigeria Calls for an End to Malnutrition through Provision of Water and Sanitation Ahead of Rio Olympics

WaterSan Perspective Reporter
July 27, 2016

The race to end malnutrition requires clean water, good sanitation and good hygiene, WaterAid said today, calling for action as world leaders meet in Rio to open the Olympic Games.

WaterAid’s new report, ‘Caught Short’, looks at stunting from malnutrition around the world and the links to low rates of access to clean water and good sanitation.

For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of £4 is returned in increased productivity

For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of £4 is returned in increased productivity

Currently 159 million children in the world are stunted as a result of malnutrition, their cognitive and physical growth damaged irreversibly by their inability to obtain and absorb the nutrients they need.

Some 50% of malnutrition is linked to infections, worm infestations and diarrhoeal illnesses caused by dirty water, poor sanitation and a lack of hygiene including handwashing with soap.

Nigeria ranks second in the world for having the greatest number of children under five suffering from stunted growth – 10.3 million, or 33% of children under five. About 31% of the population in Nigeria do not have access to clean water and 71% do not have access to decent sanitation.

The WaterAid Nigeria’s Country Director, Dr. Michael Ojo says, “The evidence is clear: children’s health and future potential are compromised when they have no choice but to grow up without clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene practices. Even if children survive their dangerous early years, repeated bouts of diarrhoea early in life are likely to leave them stunted, leaving Nigeria, and Africa as a whole, deprived of a new generation of great leaders, thinkers and athletes. World leaders have promised to end malnutrition and deliver water and sanitation to everyone, everywhere by 2030. They must keep their promises – one cannot be met without the other.”

World leaders and prominent current and former Olympians will meet at the Second High Level Summit on Nutrition on 4 August ahead of the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to bring attention to the importance of good nutrition.

The Nutrition for Growth Summit is the biggest global event between now and 2020 to address the devastating burden of undernutrition and it is set to evaluate progress that has been made in addressing undernutrition since 2013 and build on those commitments with the necessary financial support in order to ensure the ambition of the SDGs to end malnutrition in all its forms can be realised.

WaterAid supporter, Zambian athlete and Olympic medallist Samuel Matete says, “In my work promoting sport among children, the difference between children who have clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene at home, and those who don’t, is very clear. What is most upsetting is that typhoid, cholera and malnutrition are preventable, and we have the tools to do this. Water is life, and sanitation is dignity, and we must deliver these to everyone, even the world’s poorest, as part of the race to end malnutrition.”

July 25, 2016

Africa Water Week: Experts Plot Africa’s Path to Overcoming WASH Challenges

WaterSan Perspective Reporter
July 25, 2016

The water and sanitation challenges that confront Africa are not new. What is new however is the growing determination by development actors to stand to the different challenges heads on.

The 6th Africa Water Week in Dar es Salam July 18-22, 2016 provided the right opportunity for researchers, civil society actors, government officials to show how determined the different actors are to find lasting solutions to the age old water and sanitation problems in the continent. It also provided the opportunity to share experiences on different pathways to sound hygiene in water management and success stories that could be replicated in other countries.

According to Pierce Cross, senior advisor USAID, the problems of access to water and sanitation in Africa are stark and cuts across the different countries. He thus called for a comprehensive plan of action to accompany demonstrated political will by different African governments and other actors to improve on the situation.

“Demonstrated political will must be accompanied by concrete action plans to move the water and sanitation commitment forward,” said Piers Cross at a side-event discussion under the theme “The AfricaSan Commitment on Sanitation and Hygiene and the SGDs.

The discussions accordingly aimed at deepening the ownership and monitoring of the commitments by different governments to improve on water, sanitation and hygiene. Experts called for heightened behavior change and the establishment of a community driven culture to ensure better treatment of water for consumption to reduce the risk of contamination and disease.

Exhibitions at the 6th Africa Water Week in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. (Photo Credit: AMCOW/atayibabs)

Exhibitions at the 6th Africa Water Week in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. (Photo Credit: AMCOW/atayibabs)

“ We have frequently advised for better treatment of water before consumption by local communities. The carrying out of frequent water tests to ensure its safety from all types of contaminants is imperative,” says Sophie Hicklings, development consultant in Kenya.

She cautions that even pipe water from public systems can pick up impurities during distribution, thus the need for effective monitoring and control. Experts recommended defluoridation process that will help reduce the possibilities of contracting waterborne diseases. Waterborne diseases experts cautioned are fast killers. According to WHO diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever are common in many countries in Africa, rooted in poor water treatment systems.

Other nasty and almost equally dangerous diseases from water include as salmonella, diarrhoea, Hepatitis A etc.

These diseases, in most cases experts say, erupt in heavily congested, unsanitary squatter areas in urban centres or in rural villages where water is drawn from unconventional places like ponds, rivers etc. The ailments accordingly are caused by pathogenic microorganisms that most commonly are transmitted in contaminated fresh water. Infections commonly results during bathing, washing, drinking or consumption of unclean, infected food.

Reason to Hope

But all is not gloomy as there are considerable efforts on the ground by development organizations working in partnership with governments and local communities to improve on water sanitation.

In a press briefing on the sidelines of the 6th Africa Water Week, July 21, Lydia Zigomo, head of WaterAid, East Africa region pointed out that efforts by WaterAid to improve on education and awareness in local communities were bringing positive results in water hygiene.

“The collective progress of any community depends greatly on the education of its people and WaterAid is leaving no stone unturned in this direction,” Lydia Zigomo said. She said emphasis is laid on education and sensitization because “the more the population receive quality education, the more benefits the communities reap especially in sanitation and good health.” She expressed optimism with better healthcare delivery that is increasingly gathering momentum in many African countries on a global scale in line with the new sustainable development agenda.

The 6th Africa Water Week, organized by African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and other development partners, seeks to lay pathways for Africa’s drive towards achieving the SDG 6, with emphases on water and sanitation

July 25, 2016

Africa Water Week: Integrated Water Resources Management Facilitates Development in Nile Basin Riparian Countries

WaterSan Perspective Reporter
July 25, 2016

Nzoia River within the Nile Basin

Nzoia River within the Nile Basin

A conceptual structure agreed upon by Nile Basin riparian countries for organising policies, strategies and guidelines for sustainable management and development of the Nile River Basin some five years ago has enabled speedy development within the basin region.

Talking to members of the Pan African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC) at the sixth session of the Africa Water Week (AWW6) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, John Rao Nyoro, the Executive Director for the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) said that the Nile Basin Sustainability Framework (NBSF) is now benefiting all the 10 riparian states.

This comes after government officials from other countries attending the AWW6 confessed that developing projects over trans-boundary shared resources was proving to be difficult, given the political landscape, frequent change of governments due to periodic elections in the neigbouring countries, and different prevailing policies.

“While it is not a legal framework, the NBSF which is a suite of policies, strategies, and guidance documents – functions as a guide to national policy and planning process development and seeks to build consensus among countries that share the resource,” Nyaoro told the journalists.

The skeptical leaders at the AWW6 singled out the longstanding dispute between Tanzania and Malawi about Lake Nyasa, in which an agreement for a project on the shared water resource has lasted over 40 years without a deal, and the grand mega power generating project in the Democratic Republic of Congo known as INGA, which has stalled for over 40 years.

“What we did at the Nile Basin was to bring together all the stakeholders, and then we asked them to develop a framework that was going to govern activities along the basin, with reference to existing policies at country levels” said Nyaoro.

As a result, the Nile Council of Ministers approved the NBSF in 2011, which has laid down NBI’s approach to developing guiding principles for water resource management and development across the Nile Basin countries.

“Today, a country like Uganda, which previously imported rice from Kenya may soon start exporting the product to Kenya after it developed its wetlands, and is now farming rice more than before,” said Nyaoro.

He said that the most important thing was to have all the riparian countries benefit from the basin.

“Without the NBSF, there would be no consistent guidance for the sustainable development of new investments and no coherent guidance for the achievement of cooperation in sustainable water management and development,” he said

July 25, 2016

African Water Ministers Adopt Dar es Salaam Roadmap for Achieving Water Security and Sanitation

WaterSan Perspective Reporter
July 25, 2016

Activities at the expansive Julius Nyerere international conference centre in Dar es Salaam hit a crescendo over the weekend as over 30 African water ministers and high-level delegations from 53 African nations adopted a roadmap aimed at achieving sustainable and universal access to safe water and sanitation all over Africa.

The adoption of the roadmap titled “the Dar es Salaam Roadmap for achieving the N’gor Commitments on Water Security and Sanitation in Africa” drew the final curtains on the 10th AMCOW General Assembly and the 6th Africa Water Week which began on Monday the 18th of July 2016 in Tanzania.

With a strategic objective of making considerable progress on water security and sanitation in line with the Agenda 2030 by improving efficiency, transparency and integrity within sector institutions to achieve sustainable services and create a conducive investment climate as well as integrating the agenda for water, sanitation and climate to improve health and nutrition outcomes, the Dar es Salaam roadmap aspires to ensure coherence in policy implementation, increase gender, equity and social inclusion, and transboundary cooperation in Africa.

Officials at the 10th AMCOW General Assembly in Dar es Salaam

Officials at the 10th AMCOW General Assembly in Dar es Salaam

African water ministers believe that by increasing transparency and accountability in the sector, governments across Africa would be able to account for financial contributions, focus on complementing existing initiatives with a view to avoiding overlap and redundancy and ensure a participatory environment for civil society and citizens in policy formulation, sector planning and monitoring.

The roadmap also recognizes the role of innovative financing and budgetary prioritisation for the water sector, sanitation and monitoring. Other aspects of the ministers’ plan of action for the continent’s water resources include provision of drinking water, improved sanitation, hygiene, effective and efficient management of wastewater, transboundary water resources, and strengthening Africa’s capacity to respond climate change.

The 10th General Assembly of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) which was held on the sidelines of the biennal 6th Africa Water Week also witnessed a change of guards as the Water and Irrigation Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E Gerson Lwenge took over the reins of AMCOW presidency from his Senegalese counterpart, H.E Amadou Mansour Faye who held the fort from 2014 – 2016 while Dr. Canisius Kanangire was officially unveiled as the new AMCOW Executive Secretary. Dr Kanangire, who hails from Rwanda, is the immediate Executive Secretary of Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) has over two decades of high level experience in water resources management and he succeeds Mr Bai Mass Taal who leaves AMCOW after 8 years of admirable leadership.

In his acceptance speech, the new AMCOW President expressed delight at AMCOW’s rotational mechanism which led to his emergence and he urged his colleagues to roll up their sleeves for the onerous but achievable task of ensuring the realisation of the SDG-6 in Africa.

“We must build and sustain cooperation among riparian countries in managing transboundary water resources as it is a fact that the more we invest in managing water resources, the more we strengthen AMCOW and the more we advance collectively towards achieving SDG-6,” Engr Lwenge said.

To serve alongside the new AMCOW President are Water resources ministers from Central African Republic, South Sudan, Egypt, Swaziland and Liberia who were elected AMCOW Vice Presidents representing central, east, and north, southern and West African sub regions.

Addressing the General Assembly, Vice President Samia Suluhu of Tanzania urged the august assembly of water ministers from across the continent to “tackle present and future challenges by diversifying our sources of water and be innovative in financing mechanisms taking into account the huge funding requirements for the sector, and the urgency of mobilizing funds to put the right infrastructure and skilled manpower to develop and manage the sector more efficiently.”

Also speaking at Africa’s flagship water event, the commissioner for rural economy and agriculture of the African Union Commission, H.E Rhoda Peace Tumusiime implored Member States to step up efforts to realize the African Agenda 2063 on the ‘Africa we want’ because water is key to reducing poverty in Africa.

“There is need for us to put in place sound policies, legal and regulatory frameworks to support investments from various sources in water, sanitation and hygiene and also promote gender equality and women empowerment,” she added.

Organised by AMCOW in collaboration with the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission alongside regional and international partners, the 6th Africa Water Week represents a political commitment at the highest level for creating platform to discuss and collectively seek solutions to Africa’s water and sanitation challenges.

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