A Water Aid official has observed that Zambia would not attain the Millennium Development Goal to halve the population of people who have no access to basic sanitation in the country if efforts towards this goal remained slow.
Water Aid country Representative Maheshi Mishra said there was therefore need to urgently address sanitary conditions under which thousands of Zambians were living.
Mr. Mishra was speaking during the commemoration of the world water day which
officially fell on 22nd March but was held yesterday in Chipembele ward of Monze district in Southern province.
He said it was evident that without safe water, sanitation and improved hygiene practices among Zambians, poverty reduction efforts would continue being undermined thereby impeding efforts towards the attainment of the MDGs.
Mr. Mishra said that MDGs relating to sanitation would only be achieved in Zambia if extraordinary efforts to reverse the current situation were applied.
He said that Water Aid had been supporting district efforts to realise the MDG relating to water supply and sanitation.
Mr. Mishra said since last year, his organisation invested more than K1 billion in delivering water supply and sanitation in needy areas around the country.
He said that there was still a lot that needed to be done in Monze and other areas of the country to improve sanitation.
He said that with commitment shown by the leadership in Monze, the district had the potential to become a model for the whole country.
He said Water Aid and its partners have demonstrated their effort to reverse the problem of providing clean water and sanitation as a basic human right.
Mr. Mishra said intensive efforts and targeted investment would enable the country to rapidly scale up sanitation.
He said that if efforts shown at the district level by Water Aid partners such as Monze District Council, Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) and others were to continue, sanitation coverage would be enhance in the district in the next four years.
He said Chipembele ward was an example of how government, non-governmental organisations, local authorities, traditional leaders and local communities could work together to ensure that rural communities acquired access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.
Mr. Mishra expressed gratitude that a number of villages in Chipembele ward
in Monze district had attained almost 100 per cent basic sanitation requirements.
He said that this meant that each household had a latrine, a hand washing facility close to the latrine, a bath shelter, a dish rack, refuse pit and a clean homestead surrounding.
The Water Aid country representative further called upon the leadership in Monze district
to formulate a district wide water and sanitation plan with a clear focus on addressing sanitation gaps by having a goal aimed at bringing sanitation coverage rate at par with coverage rate for water supply.
He said that there was need to also involve traditional leaders to motivate communities on the importance of sanitation.
Mr. Mishra said formation of the district sanitation task force to spear head the scaling up of sanitation the district by involving various stakeholders that had properly defined coordinating mechanisms would be another strategy.
And Monze District Commissioner Joyce Nondo said at the same function that government’s commitment towards improving sanitation in both urban and rural areas had been unwavering in the district.
Mrs. Nondo said that efforts to this effect could be seen from the progress made
by the water sector in the district.
She thanked Water Aid World Bank and UNICEF for their efforts towards achieving a satisfactory water and sanitation development in Monze district.