Archive for March, 2013

March 27, 2013

Africa: More Funding Needed for Water and Sanitation

George Mhango, Tunis in Tunisia
March 27, 2013

Over 150 delegates including, ministers, CSO leaders and experts in water and sanitation have converged in the Tunisian capital Tunis for the meeting to launch the Regional Coordination Committee of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI).

RWSSI was launched in 2003 by the African Development Bank with an overall goal of universal access to water supply and sanitation services for the rural populations by 2025 with an immediate target of 80 percent coverage by 2015.

Delegates at the conference going on at Ramada Plaza in Tunis heard from various dignitaries including Bai Mass Taal, the Executive Secretary for African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW).

Taal noted that AMCOW had adopted RWSSI in recognition of the need to focus on this under-prioritized subsector.

Mr. Bai Mass Raal (R) speaking during the meeting. By Fredrick Mugira

Mr. Bai Mass Raal (R) speaking during the meeting. By Fredrick Mugira

While presenting the Terms of References for Regional Coordination Committee, Osward Mulenga Chanda, the Manager for Water and Sanitation Department at AfDB noted that, “an additional investment of US$ 8.1 billion is required to provide basic water supply services for 155 million people and sanitation for 226 million people to meet the MDG targets in rural areas of Africa.”

He said although, since the launch of the RWSSI in 2003, access to water in rural set-ups has increased with unconvincing percentages.

“These figures are far below the MDG targets of 70 percent for water supply and sanitation at 62 percent. Only, about 16 African countries are on target on water, while 10 of the countries are likely to meet the sanitation target,” he said.

Delegates from various African countries highlighted the fact that financing and other contributions from governments and communities to the WASH subsector are increasing but can be improved.

They stressed the need for governments to ensure good governance, coordination and resource allocation to achieve universal access to water supply and sanitation services for the rural populations by 2025.

While, Malawians to the meeting hailed the-to-be launched RCC, their major concern was on low investments and sustainability of water and sanitation programmes by the government.

Emma Mbalame, Ministry of Water and Irrigation, deputy director of water services said while the government was trying to provide water to rural communities there is need for more fund allocation to the sector.

Clear reference from the Malawi side was on the appalling state of water boards in cities and at regional level which no longer provide water on daily basis to people.

Said Ruth Nganga from the Water Services Trust in Kenya: “The committee should ensure that governments consider sanitation, because some may be interested in water provision as has been the norm in other countries forgetting that sanitation is of essence in the MDG.”

Participants during the meeting in Tunis. By Fredrick Mugira

Participants during the meeting in Tunis. By Fredrick Mugira

Other delegates called for reconsideration of operations such that the north, south and west and east should have committees before harmonizing operations of the regional committee.

AfDB which has funded the meeting has since expressed total commitment to help countries provide water supply and sanitation services to rural countries if governments apply for funding from the bank’s trust fund.

March 22, 2013

“Water Security”: Experts Propose a UN Definition on Which Much Depends

WaterSan Perspective
March 22, 2013

Amid changing weather and water patterns worldwide and forecasts of more severe transformations to come, calls have been growing for the UN Security Council to include water issues on its agenda.

And there’s rising international support for adopting “universal water security” as one of the Sustainable Development Goals — a set of mid-term global objectives to succeed the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, agreed by world leaders in 2000 for achievement by 2015.

MDGs

MDGs

But what does “water security” mean? The absence of a definition undermines progress in international forums. Marking World Water Day today at UN Headquarters in New York, a common working definition was published, forged by UN and international experts from around the world.

UN-Water, the United Nations’ inter-agency coordination mechanism for all water-related issues, says water security should be defined as:

“The capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of and acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability.”

Released within an analytical brief by a special UN-Water Task Force on Water Security, (available from March 22 at http://bit.ly/ZXWmF5), this working definition will facilitate critical work, its authors say.

Most immediately, it will be considered by a group of 30 member states, headed by Hungary and Kenya, tasked with drafting the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. That report, anticipated around mid-year, is then expected to be taken up at the annual UN General Assembly next September.

“In the past few decades, definitions of security have moved beyond a limited focus on military risks and conflicts,” says Michel Jarraud, Chair of UN-Water and Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

“Security has now come to mean human security and its achievement through development. Water fits within this broader definition of security — embracing political, health, economic, personal, food, energy, environmental and other concerns — and acts as a central link between them.”

“Common understanding has central importance in international discussions and water security can’t continue to have a variety of meanings,” says Zafar Adeel, co-chair of the UN-Water Task Force on Water Security and Director of the United Nations University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

“A shared and working definition is needed to get everyone on the same page. Only then can we collectively start to write a coherent response to the challenges.”

“Access to safe water and sanitation is now a fundamental human right. But water management also requires realistic ways of recovering delivery costs. An agreed definition of water security is vitally important in that context.”

Many observers have identified water as an “urgent security issue,” a group that last year included both former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the InterAction Council, an association of 37 former heads of state and government co-chaired by the Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien, former Prime Minister of Canada, and H.E. Dr. Franz Vranitzky, former Chancellor of Austria.

According to Mr. Chrétien: “Nothing is more fundamental to life than water. Few issues, therefore, have the potential to create friction more than the management of water shared across international borders, especially now with serious scarcity problems in prospect.”

In its analytical brief, UN-Water echoed its support for including water security on the UN Security Council agenda.

The brief also calls for:

* Recognition of the need to include water security in the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals;

* A supportive policy environment including innovative financial mechanisms to achieve water security;

* Increases in capacity development on a wide range of needs, from human to financial, institutional, technological and service provisioning.

In 2011, the UN Security Council recognized the serious implications of climate change, with water being the medium through which climate change will have the most effects.

By formally including water security on its agenda, the Council would recognize the direct impact of water on human security issues: either as a trigger, a potential target, or a contributing factor.

Such recognition would acknowledge that water insecurity poses serious risk and that water security could contribute to achieving increased regional peace and security in the long term.

The analytical brief notes examples of the impact of disasters and conflicts on water resources and related ecosystems.

In 2011, for example, driven largely by water and food shortages linked to drought in the Horn of Africa, almost 185,000 Somalis fled to neighbouring countries.

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

In Sudan, violence broke out in March 2012 in the Jamam refugee camp where large numbers of people faced serious water scarcity. And in South Sudan, entire communities were forced to leave due to scarce water resources as a result of conflict in 2012.

Disasters and conflicts can also affect the physical infrastructure needed to access water, sanitation and hygiene services (water services infrastructure, treatment plants, drainage systems, dams, irrigation channels, etc.), reducing levels of water security.

Water insecurity, therefore, leads to cascading political, social, economic and environmental consequences, the brief says.

March 22, 2013

Japan and the Republic of Moldova win 2013 edition of UN-Water ‘Water for Life’ Best Practices Award

Category 1 has been awarded to a project focusing on groundwater management using the system of nature from Kumamoto city in Japan and Category 2 has been awarded to a project focusing on safe water and sanitation for all in the Republic of Moldova.

WaterSan Perspective
March 22, 2013

The prize has been awarded during the official ceremony of World Water Day 2013 taking place in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The purpose of this UN-Water Award is to promote efforts to fulfill international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015 through the recognition of outstanding best practices that can ensure the long-term sustainable management of water resources and contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed goals and targets.

2013 Best Practices Award  focused on Water Cooperation

2013 Best Practices Award focused on Water Cooperation

The prize is awarded yearly in two categories: Category 1 is awarded to best water management practices, and Category 2 is awarded to best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practices. Every year, special emphasis is being put on the theme selected for World Water Day. In 2013, special focus has been given to the topic “Water cooperation”.

The Secretariat, ensured by the UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC), received a total of 46 applications for this year’s edition: 34 for category 1 and 12 for category 2. Geographical distribution of applications is as follows: Africa 9%, Asia 31%, Europe 13%, Latin America and the Caribbean 41%, Northern America 4%, and Oceania 2%.

Category 1, best water management practice, has been awarded to a project implemented in the city of Kumamoto in Japan. Kumamoto City is located in the centre of Kyushu, the southern major island of Japan.

The city is blessed with abundant groundwater in the volcanic aquifer created by Mt. Aso. Thanks to this, the drinking water for its 730,000 citizens is totally supplied by groundwater.

The city has been undertaking various efforts to maintain their abundant, pure and crystal-clean groundwater so as to pass down this precious resource to their future generations.

In cooperation with neighbouring municipalities, Kumamoto City government has managed artificial groundwater recharge system using abandoned paddies and protected watershed forests. By protecting the natural systems and conserving Kumamoto’s high-quality groundwater, the city can provide its citizens with high quality “mineral water from the tap”.

The achieved system of creating groundwater in Kumamoto can be considered to be a combined work of the “natural system” of Mt. Aso and the “local human activity”.

Category 2, best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practice, has been awarded to the project “Water and sanitation for all” from the Republic of Moldova.

The Republic of Moldova remains one the poorest countries in Europe. According to recent studies, in 2006, only 15% of the rural population in the Republic of Moldova had a house connection for drinking water, and only 55% of the population living in rural areas had access to basic sanitation.

The Moldovan National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) calculated the social and economic impact of water pollution in the country and reached the conclusion that the cost to the economy was in the range of 5% – 10% of GDP. The rural citizens in the Republic of Moldova rely on small-scale water supply systems or on shallow wells which are often contaminated with micro-organism and nitrates.

Latrines are the primary form of sanitation used, which is a significant source of environmental pollution. In addition, animal waste is often not adequately stored and treated, resulting in the cross contamination of water bodies.

The Safe Water and Sanitation for all in Moldova initiative aimed at improving the situation in rural Moldova by mobilizing citizens and the authorities to realize and respect the right to access safe water and sanitation through the sustainable management of local resources.

Such implementation included maintaining clean water sources to improve human health, which also helps to maintain the environmental integrity of aquatic ecosystems, and thus contributes to protecting biological diversity.

UN Water Award2

The impact of the activities is visible on community’s behaviour: no more solid waste is dumped near the public or private wells and spring cleaning of wells is once again a tradition in the communities where awareness was raised during the project.

Finalist candidates in category 1 include the 2nd ranked project “Living Lakes”, which focuses on the exchange of experience and knowledge regarding the sustainable management of lakes and wetlands, and the 3rd ranked project TNDRIP “Farmer Participatory Capacity Building Program for Drip Irrigation Management” which trained 1,000 farmers from across 100 villages in drip irrigation in Tamil Nadu, India, from 2009 to 2012.

In category 2, finalist candidates include the 2nd ranked initiative “Democratisation of Water Management: Promoting community collaborative water management between government officers and villagers” implemented in Tamil Nadu, India, and aimed at improving water service delivery and achieving sustainable and equitable water supply by changing the perspectives and behaviors of government officers in the water sector and facilitating a collaborative relationship between these officers and the communities they served, and the 3rd ranked project “Health Village: WASH Monitoring Perspective” aimed at reducing poverty in different villages in Bangladesh through community empowerment, increased access to and use of safe water and sanitation services and improved hygiene practices for women and marginalized people.

March 22, 2013

World Water Day 2013 – Cooperation for Peace, Prosperity and Sustainable Development

The fulfillment of basic human needs, the environment, socio-economic development and poverty reduction are all dependent on water. Cooperating around this precious resource is key for security, poverty eradication, social equity and gender equality.

WaterSan Perspective
March 22, 2013

“Water is central to the well-being of people and the planet,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his video message for the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013. “We must work together to protect and carefully manage this fragile, finite resource.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Every action involving water management and use requires effective cooperation between multiple actors, whether at the local or the international scale.

In recognition of this reality, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 to be the International Year of Water Cooperation, following a proposal from a group of Member States led by Tajikistan. World Water Day, celebrated on 22 March, is dedicated to the same theme this year.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

UNESCO, in collaboration with UNECE and UN DESA, is leading activities for both the Year and the Day on behalf of UN-Water.

Today, over 780 million people do not have access to improved sources of drinking water and 2.5 billion people are without improved sanitation.

Population growth associated with changing consumption patterns, especially in cities, is driving an increase in water demand. Our lifestyles are more water-hungry.

With the world population expected to grow from a little over 7 billion today to 8 billion by 2025, water withdrawals should increase by 50 percent in developing countries and by 18 percent in developed countries.

Water for irrigation and food production constitutes one of the greatest pressures on freshwater resources.

An estimated 148 states share a basin with one or several countries, which is a potential source of conflict, as actions upstream have impacts on downstream countries. The Danube, for example, is shared by 19 countries, and the Nile River by 11.

Water over-extraction, diversion, pollution, scarcity and the neglect of existing agreements are often at the roots of water tensions.

“Governments must commit to finding inclusive and cooperative solutions to water challenges,” said Ms Irina Bokova in her messages on the occasion of World Water Day. “For this, we must take decisions that involve all relevant actors, from investors to users,” she continued.

A new UN-Water analytical brief on water security released today on the occasion of World Water Day underlines that numerous examples from across the globe demonstrate that shared waters provide opportunities for cooperation across nations and support political dialogue on broader issues such as regional economic integration, environmental conservation, and sustainable development.

Cooperation mechanisms can vary in terms of decision-making structures, levels of participation, and rules and regulations, but the principle remains the same: when water resources are cooperatively shared and managed, peace, prosperity and sustainable development are more likely to be achieved.

Cooperation can help overcome inequity and prevent conflicts, and thus contribute to poverty eradication, socio-economic development and improve living conditions and educational chances, especially of women and children.

Once again, UN-Water has awarded two projects that contribute to the fulfilment of international commitments made on water and water-related issues this year.

A water Kiosk in Ndirande Malawi. In places without access to clean water, children and women walk long distances, use dirty water from ponds and rivers or they are charged large amounts of money by water sellers.

A water Kiosk in Ndirande Malawi. In places without access to clean water, children and women walk long distances, use dirty water from ponds and rivers or they are charged large amounts of money by water sellers.

The UN-Water “Water for Life” Best Practices Award was given to a project implemented in the city of Kumamoto in Japan for the conservation of groundwater resources and to the “Safe Water and Sanitation for All” initiative in the Republic of Moldova, aimed at improving coverage in rural areas of the country.

The Rio+20 outcome document identifies water as a key area for achieving sustainable development. “The International Year of Water Cooperation is in fact providing excellent opportunities for engagement and dialogue in the UN System and among Member States on all water-related issues in the context of the Rio+20 outcomes and moving towards 2015,” said Mr Michel Jarraud in his keynote at the World Water Day celebrations in The Hague, The Netherlands.

World Water Day and the International Year of Water Cooperation certainly give us the opportunity to reflect on the benefits of cooperation and promote increased cooperation at all levels for the management and use of water resources as a way to achieve sustainable development.

March 22, 2013

Global Sanitation Fund helps 1.4 million people gain improved sanitation

WaterSan Perspective
March 22, 2013

The Global Sanitation Fund Progress Report 2012, a new report from the UN-based Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), details programmatic results, reporting methodology and financial data from Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) programmes in Africa and Asia.

In 10 countries – Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal Tanzania and Uganda – Global Sanitation Fund Sub-grantees have implemented sanitation and hygiene awareness-raising and promotion activities resulting in:

1.4 million people with improved toilets.
More than 1 million people in nearly 4,000 communities now live in open defecation free environments.
Almost 10,000 communities have participated in demand-creation activities.
3.8 million people have heard about the importance of good hygiene through community activities and communications campaigns.

Global Sanitation Fund Logo

Global Sanitation Fund Logo

The Global Sanitation Fund is a unique financing mechanism for sanitation programmes and is leading a drive to improve toilets for an initial target of 16.3 million people over five years.

The Global Sanitation Fund, a United Nations Trust Fund, was established by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council in 2008 to inject finances into countries with high needs for sanitation. The new report reveals that 2012 was the most vigorous year of implementation to date, with more than 100 organizations and thousands of individuals involved in the work.

The Global Sanitation Fund’s model of financing action to achieve improved sanitation focuses on improved latrines through behaviour change (hygiene education, raising awareness and demand-creation) and sanitation marketing. The programme does not support subsidized hardware or construction of latrines. When communities stop defecating in the open and use toilets as part of a long term improvement in hygiene practices, the benefits are widespread.

A latrine in rural Uganda.  The world remains behind in providing universal access to safe and hygienic toilets.

A latrine in rural Uganda. The world remains behind in providing universal access to safe and hygienic toilets.

A number of early lessons learned are analysed in The Global Sanitation Fund Progress Report 2012 in order to strengthen future country-driven programmes. For example some Sub-grantee organizations lacked capacity in sanitation, hygiene and demand creation. Therefore during 2012 support was given to training Sub-grantee staff on the large-scale (multi-state or nation-wide) behaviour-change approach which is the hallmark of a typical GSF programme.

GSF operates in developing countries with existing sanitation policies, but funding shortfalls. Civil society and national governments form a national Programme Coordinating Mechanism providing strategic oversight on the GSF programme to ensure that it is in line with national sanitation policy and international standards. GSF then appoints an Executing Agency which acts as a programme manager and grant recipient. The Executing Agency selects, supervises and supports Sub-grantees who implement the programmes. Country Programme Monitors, independently appointed by GSF, verify and report on the work of the Executing Agencies to WSSCC.

By investing in the integration of sanitation programmes within national programming, this streamlining of process is vital to avoid duplication of resources and to ensure efficient monitoring and evaluation of programmes. Thus, the GSF is a viable delivery model for achieving results at scale within national policy frameworks.

There are 2.5 billion people, close to 40 percent of the world’s population who do not have access to basic sanitation. The Global Sanitation Fund is an efficient and cost-effective opportunity for contributors to help large numbers of poor people attain safe sanitation services and adopt good hygiene practices.

The Millennium Development Goal target on sanitation is one of the most off-track. Yet good sanitation has proven to be a highly cost-effective in terms of economic development, health and education.

Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya

Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya

Country ownership is the cornerstone of Global Sanitation Fund programmes and local responses vary according to local needs. Here are some highlights from diverse country programmes:
In Madagascar GSF Sub-Grantee organizations are currently working on the ground in 14 of Madagascar’s 22 regions. The GSF programme will continue to foster sector collaboration to have an impact on sanitation at a national scale.
GSF-supported interventions in Malawi have enabled more than 125,000 people to access improved toilets by the end of 2012, that’s up from 52,000 at the end of 2011.
In Nepal, the GSF-supported programme has enabled more than 440 communities to be declared open defecation free in the target districts.
As a result of GSF continued expansion into districts and blocks within its target area in India, the number of people living within areas where the GSF-supported programme is working has increased from 4 million to 6 million in the last 12 months.

The numbers of people and communities reached present one view of The Global Sanitation Fund’s impact to date, but the programme’s ‘footprint’ is much larger, as the GSF is showing early signs of helping change attitudes and influence policy within the sanitation sector in ways which lie beyond the formal indicator categories. The strategic oversight role of each country’s Programme Coordinating Committee (PCM) harnesses the skills and insights of a multi-stakeholder group for effective development.

In Madagascar the PCM helped lobby the Government of Madagascar to create a Department of Sanitation within the Ministry of Water. Sanitation can sit in sub-departments of ministries so it is helpful when governments make it easier for sanitation professionals to take part in budgetary decision-making and strategic policy making, especially concerning health issues.
In Tanzania the GSF is financing part of the National Sanitation Campaign which the African Development Bank is also funding. This is an example of how PCMs can be helpful in identifying sector funding gaps and integrating financing into the national sanitation programming leading to additional government resources being invested in sanitation as results become apparent.

In The Global Sanitation Fund Progress Report 2012, WSSCC gratefully acknowledges the donors that make the GSF work possible: the Governments of Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. By the end of 2012, US$ 65 million have been committed to programmes in ten countries.

Six additional Global Sanitation Fund country programmes will be launched in 2013 starting with Burkina Faso and Togo followed by Bangladesh, Benin, Kenya and Pakistan.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

March 22, 2013

Governments Can Make Water and Sanitation for All Africans a Reality by 2030 says WaterAid

WaterSan Perspective
March 22, 2013

WaterAid –an international charity that transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation is calling on international leaders to support an ambitious target of providing access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all Africans by 2030.

The agency’s call comes today March, 22 on the 20th anniversary of World Water Day as over 50,000 people take part in more than 30 mass walking events across Africa to call on their governments to keep their promises on access to clean water and safe sanitation.

WaterAid logo

WaterAid logo

They are joining more than 350,000 people worldwide who are participating in World Walks for Water and Sanitation between Saturday 16 and Saturday 23 March.

Writing in a new report published by WaterAid today, President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia said:
“Addressing the global water and sanitation crisis is not about charity, but opportunity. According to the World Health Organisation, every $1 invested in water and sanitation produces an average of $4 in increased productivity. It enables sustainable and equitable economic growth. In short, it will not be possible to make progress in eradicating poverty, reducing inequality and securing sustainable economic development in the future without improving access.”

WaterAid’s report ‘Everyone Everywhere’ launched today by President Johnson Sirleaf at a UN event on water in the Hague, in the Netherlands, sets out a vision for making safe water and sanitation available to all and reviews the progress that has been made to date in tackling water and sanitation poverty.

The report finds that, lack of progress in improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene is acting as a brake on progress in economic and human development particularly in child health, nutrition and education.

Pupils collecting water in Uganda. In every society, water , health and education are closely inter-related

Pupils collecting water in Uganda. In every society, water , health and education are closely inter-related

WaterAid cites World Health Organisation figures that show the economic gains that Africa could make through everyone on the continent having access to water and sanitation.

Africa could gain $33 billion every year from everyone having access to water and sanitation. Of this $4.5 billion would come from reduced healthcare costs; $7.2 billion could be gained from reduced mortality; $2 billion from less time taken off from work; and a staggering $19.5 billion in general time saved.

The benefits for Africa in lives saved from everyone having access to water and sanitation on the continent are also significant. It is estimated by the Institute of Health Metrics that around 550,000 people die of diarrhoea diseases every year in Sub-Saharan Africa(3), 88% of whom, according to the World Health Organisation, can be attributed to a lack of water, sanitation and hygiene(4) that equates to 480,000 deaths due to a lack of these services on the continent.

Nelson Gomonda, WaterAid Pan-Africa Programme Manager said: “Nothing could better demonstrate that our continent has truly begun to realise its potential and is coming true on its promise of progress and development, than achieving the fundamental goal of every African having safe drinking water.”

“330 million Africans today live without access to clean water, so the road to travel is long, but we can for the first time see the end in sight. With more than 1,000 African children under the age of five dying every day from diseases brought about from a lack of water and sanitation, Africans will not accept failure. We have to reach this target.”

“More than 50,000 Africans are taking part in walks to show that that these services are a priority that we want and need. Africans understand how a lack of water and sanitation affects their health, economic productivity, their children’s education, women’s rights – across every spectrum of development, water and sanitation plays its part. This is why progress on these basic services will have such important consequences for our continent and people.”

wwfwas logo 2013

wwfwas logo 2013

Currently in Sub-Sahara Africa, 334 million people (39% of the population) lack access to clean drinking water, while under 600 million (70%) lack access to sanitation(5).

To tackle this problem now, WaterAid is calling on international leaders to: Recognise the need for the framework that replaces the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 to reflect the contribution of water, sanitation and hygiene to other areas of poverty reduction, including health, education, gender equality, economic growth and sustainability; for the UN to set a new global target to achieve universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030; Identify ways of accelerating future rates of progress on sanitation if the goal of universal access is to be met by 2030.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

March 19, 2013

Uganda: Access to Safe Water; More of a Myth than a Reality

Hope Mafaranga
March 19, 2013

As the world marks World Water Day this week, several countries in Africa are still far from achieving the millennium development goal 7 C despite efforts in place.

This goal calls for halving, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

One of such countries is Uganda, where areas in the western, eastern and Northern Uganda continue to cry foul over not only poor water sources but also the long distances women and children travel to fetch water.

A young girl in Kabale district of Uganda returns home after collecting water from a shallow well

A young girl in Kabale district of Uganda returns home after collecting water from a shallow well

A world health organization report in 2012 showed that an estimated 780 million still lacked safe drinking water in 2010 underlining the fact that target C of the millennium goal 7 is far from being achieved.

In western Uganda, people living in hilly areas have no access to piped water while the few water sources are down the hill slope and in the valleys far away from their homes.

Alfred Bikitwoha, a resident of Kashuro Village in Mbarara district western Uganda reveals that his family gets water from a spring over 5 kilometers away.

“We share the spring with other 3 villages. Because of the high number of people and the long distance, we spend 4-5 hours fetching water depending on the number of people you find there,” a visibly tired Bikitwoha revealed adding that his wife gets up as early as 6 am to go to the spring.

About a quarter of Uganda’s population lack access to safe water

About a quarter of Uganda’s population lack access to safe water

As if this is not enough, during the dry spell, this spring runs dry at times complicating lives much more. The situation in Kashuro is similar to what is happening to several other regions of Uganda.

The Mbarara district Assistant Water Engineering Officer, Engineer Joseph Mucunguzi says that the mountainous nature of the area coupled with limited resources is making pumping of water to this area difficult.

In a desperate move, residents have resorted to shrewd but unhealthy ways of keeping water.

James Nuwagaba one of the residents in western Uganda has dug a 40-fit pit to tap water that flows during the rainy season.

This water is what the family uses for all their domestic needs. Those who see Nuwagaba’s style as more advanced collect water off the roofs in jerry cans, pots and sauce pans when it rains.

Some use this water to drink even without preparing it, something that has worsened the burden of water-borne diseases.
Rosette Mutambi – the Executive Director of HEPS Uganda says this is not just a water issue but also leads to local people’s poor health.

“ The issue of health is threat to people’s lives because they suffer from water borne diseases which they should not have if at all they had safe and clean water. As a result, government spends much on drugs more than preventing the diseases,” she says.

She wants government to address this issue urgently.

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

March 19, 2013

AfDB Approves US $73 Million for Irrigation and Road Projects in Malawi

WaterSan Perspective
March 19, 2013

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved grants and loans amounting to US $73 million to finance irrigation and road rehabilitation projects in Malawi.

The grants, amounting to US $39.98 million from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and the African Development Fund (ADF), will be used to finance the Smallholder Irrigation and Value Addition Project (SIVAP).

African Development Bank Logo

African Development Bank Logo

A total of US $39.6 million will come from the GAFSP Multi-Donor Trust Fund, while the ADF will provide a grant of US $0.38 million.

The project aims is to contribute to food security, increased income levels and poverty reduction and the specific objectives are to increase agricultural production and productivity through intensification of irrigation, crop diversification, value addition and capacity building. SIVAP will benefit 11,400 farm families of which more than 50 per cent are headed by women.

A total of about 450,000 people will indirectly benefit from project activities through enhanced crop production, diversification and developing high value-chains.

The project will ensure ownership by the beneficiaries through participation in supervision, monitoring, evaluation, afforestation activities, matching grant arrangement for equipment, and training. The emphasis on expanding irrigation capacity will support Government efforts in achieving the objective of enabling farmers to plant at two crops per year.

The world marks International Water Day on Friday March 22, 2013

The world marks International Water Day on Friday March 22, 2013

The AfDB also provided a concessional loan of US $33.2 million to finance the rehabilitation of the road between Mzuzu and Nkhata Bay. The Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road is one of the major trunk roads prioritized in the government’s Road Sector Programme, as it is part of the road network that links the northern region of the country to the central and southern regions.

The road, once rehabilitated, will support economic growth sectors in the northern region and is expected to benefit an estimated 342,211 people living in the two districts, by improving access to markets, schools, and health centres and other social-economic centres.

In addition to the above, the road is located on the Mtwara Development Corridor and therefore serves international freight traffic from Zambia and Tanzania. It is an important road link, not only for domestic connectivity, but also for regional trade and integration.

The AfDB is committed to supporting the Malawi Government in its efforts to achieve inclusive economic growth and reducing poverty.

The AfDB is confident that these resources will support Government’s efforts towards the achievement of goals and targets of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II), consistent with the Bank’s Country Strategy covering 2013-2017.

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