The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has, in collaboration with the Zambian government, embarked on a US$19.6 million project meant to improve the quality of water and sanitation in four provinces in the country.
The project, dubbed ‘Expanding Water and Sanitation, is expected to service about 500,000 people in 12 districts of Northern, Muchinga, Southern and Western provinces.
USAID Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) Southern Province Lead and Service Coordinator for the project, Victor Muyeba, disclosed this during a project inception meeting with the provincial WASHE committee in Choma.
Mr Muyeba also revealed that Kalomo and Kazungula are the districts in Southern Province that will benefit from the project.
The project includes the drilling of new boreholes as well as rehabilitation of non-functional water points.
He disclosed that according to the WASH baseline assessment reports for the two districts, 92.3 percent of schools in Kalomo and 91.7 percent of those in Kazungula have limited access to sanitation.
He further disclosed that Kalomo has 27.5 percent while Kazungula has 34.5 percent of access to water sources such as open wells, which he said are not protected from contamination.
“The sanitation situation in both districts requires urgent attention. Our biggest concern is also on the unimproved water sources because we want to ensure that people at least, have access to water,” Mr Muyeba stated.
He explained that under the project, 60 toilets will be constructed in public institutions such as schools and health centres in Kalomo and Kazungula districts.
Speaking at the same event, Southern Province Deputy Permanent Secretary, Yolanta Malunga, said the provincial administration is happy to partner with USAID in the project that will increase access to water and sanitation services.
Mrs Malunga disclosed that according to the revised national rural supply and sanitation programme, 30 percent of the country’s water sources are non-functional.
She added that the project will therefore promote accountability which will in turn lead to increased access to reliable water supply and sanitation services.
“I urge all stakeholders in the province to support this project in order for our people to benefit. Our learners in schools and mothers in maternity wards need access to quality water and sanitation services,” she said.
Mrs Malunga expressed gratitude to USAID for the support and further expressed hope that the project will be rolled out to other districts to benefit more people in the province.
Meanwhile, Southern Province Local Government Officer, Charlston Hamulyata, called for stronger coordination among local WASH structures in order to harmonise the implementation with projects under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
He said this will ensure that President Hakainde Hichilema’s directive to have all public institutions accessing clean water and proper hygiene by 2024 is realised.
“It is our responsibility as P-WASH to influence the ward development committees so that we can tap into the CDF projects and finance them,” Mr Hamulyata proposed.