Netherlands increases support to African water/sanitation sector

THE Netherlands government has increased financial support to some African countries in the water and sanitation sector, following concerns that some of them may not attain the Millennium development goals (MDGS).

Netherlands ministry of foreign affairs senior advisor for water and sanitation, Dick Van Ginhouen, says US $ 150 million has so far been staked by his government to help accelerate efforts towards attainment of the MDGs in the water and sanitation sector.

Speaking in Choma at a stakeholders meeting for the Netherlands government review mission for water, sanitation and hygiene education at Crystal lodge, Ginhouen said the money would be channeled through UNICEF for programme implementation in identified African countries.

“We have put in place a 6 years programme in Africa through UNICEF covering Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia, Comoros, Rwanda and Sudan focusing on increasing access to safe drinking water and sanitation,” he said.

The meeting was also attended by chiefs Macha of Choma, Nkambo of Masaiti and chieftainess Shimukanami of Lufwanyama district.

With only eight years to go, he said the Dutch government is concerned over the progress of most countries towards the attainment of the MDGs.

Ginhouen said it was for this reason that respective governments and support agencies need to give extra support towards programmes aimed at achieving the MDGs.

“Governments and support agencies need to give an extra push, failure to which we won’t make it,” he said. “As for the Netherlands government, we are going to commit more support.”

He expressed happiness at progress in Zambia in the provision of water and sanitation.

“We have seen during our visit that there has been so much progress in Zambia. However, it will be interesting to note if the country will meet the MDGs considering that we only have 7 to 8 years,” he said.

The Netherlands government delegation also visited areas in chief Singani’s area where there has been tremendous progress in latrine construction as well as improved school sanitation.

And UNICEF expert on sanitation, Dr Peter Harvey told ZANIS in Choma that achievement of the MDGs would be highly dependent on the commitment of various donors and government to release needed funds for project implementation.

Dr Harvey said if donors like UNICEF, DANIDA, JICA, African development Bank and the Irish Aid fulfilled their financial commitment, more progress will be achieved in Zambia in meeting the set targets in water.

He however expressed concern at the tendering process through the ministry of local government which had been moving at a slow pace thereby affecting project implementation.

“The tendering process undertaken through the ministry of local government has in the past been too slow but we are hopeful that things will improve so that we keep the process moving,” said Dr Harvey.

He said if the programme on Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) being implemented by UNICEF was adopted as a national programme, a lot of progress in increasing sanitation coverage would be achieved across the country.

CLTS which was first piloted in Choma district has so spread to Kazungula, Mazabuka and some copperbelt rural districts.

Speaking earlier CLTS national coordinator Leonard Mukosha told the Dutch government delegation since the introduction of the programme in Choma, more than 120,000 people had gained access to sanitation in less than a year.

He said the district had recorded a sharp increase in sanitation coverage from 23 percent to 95 percent.

Mukosha said out of the 817 village, 551 of them had so far become open defecation free as each household had construction latrines and were observing good hygiene practices.

He said the mass mobilization of the rural populace was due to the CLTS approach which embraced the crucial role of traditional and civic leaders in project implementation.

Source – http://www.lusakatimes.com/?p=18293

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