UNICEF and the Government of Zimbabwe commissions $40 million WASH project
By Richard Nyamanhindi
UNICEF and the Government of Zimbabwe have commissioned the US$40 million Plumtree Water Works which was rehabilitated under the Emergency Rehabilitation and Risk Reduction Programme.
The programme funded by the Australian and United Kingdom Governments, is rehabilitating water and sanitation infrastructure, hygiene promotion and capacity building in support of improved cost recovery in 14 small towns and 33 rural districts across five of the ten provinces in the country.
Speaking during a high level Ministerial Visit of Rural Water and Sanitation and Hygiene in Matebelalnd South (Plumtree and Bulilima Rural District Council) Senior Minister of State in the President’s Office, Honourable Simon Khaya Moyo said the improvement of water supply and sanitation services occupies a prominent position in the Social Services and Poverty Eradication Cluster under the Zimbabwe Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset).
The Minister noted how the Zimbabwean Constitution underscores the need by the State and its arms to ensure access to safe, clean and portable water for the citizen and urged local authorities to deploy the bulk of their revenue to critical areas such as the provision of water and sanitation.
“Local authorities must ensure that they meet the needs of the communities they serve especially in the areas of water and sanitation which is a basic human right.”
“Government expects you to ensure that issues to do with service delivery in general and water and sanitation in particular are always on the agenda of council business. That approach will ensure that local authorities are in a position not only to drive implementation of relevant projects and programmes but also track progress and impact of the interventions,” he said.
UNICEF Representative, Reza Hossaini said UNICEF with financial support from the Australian and United Kingdom Governments is supporting at least 20 urban councils, critical rural service centres, and growth points to improve WASH services.
He added that the Government has over the years provided leadership and tirelessly, often under difficult conditions, to provide water and sanitation to communities across Zimbabwe.
“Under the Emergency Response and Risk Reduction Programme, UNICEF with the generous support of the Australian and UK Governments has supported at least 20 urban councils, critical rural service centres and growth points to improve WASH services. An example is the waterworks being commissioned here."
“While these measures have improved water and sanitation, for them to be sustained, we need to see greater investments in operation and maintenance and in cost recovery,” he said.
He said as the country moves towards recovery funding will be required to extend water and sanitation services to un-served urban areas.
Environment, Water and Climate Minister, Honourable Saviour Kasukuwere said Government working with UNICEF and Australian Government has further mobilized US$30 million to follow up with a programme for 14 small towns.
“This small town WASH programme will go further than just rehabilitating critical WASH infrastructure, but will seek to improve operational efficiencies for water distribution, sewerage collections and capacity building in order to make our local authorities viable,” Minister Kasukuwere said.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr. Ignatius Chombo said the Rural WASH programme is targeting 1,72 million people in five provinces .
“To this end, emphasis has been placed on the construction of new boreholes, rehabilitation of non-functional boreholes and supply of piped water to communities. The programme is also targeting to reach 3,300 communities vis-a-vis access to improved sanitation.
“Our expectation is that by 2016, we would have increased access to safe water and sanitation from 61 percent to 80 percent,” he said.