Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene




Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

UNICEF Zimbabwe/2011
© UNICEF/Pirozzi/2007

Key Issues

This is the sector with the most disparities. Although, nationally, 73 per cent of the population has access to safe water and 60 per cent to improved sanitation facilities, more than 60 per cent of the rural water supply infrastructure is in disrepair and 40 per cent of Zimbabweans in rural areas practise open defecation. The poor are also less likely to have access to water and have a toilet.

Urban water services have also deteriorated and, as a result, the country recently suffered one of the worst cholera outbreaks recorded in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, diarrhoea has become
much more prevalent than before and is now one of the five main childhood killers in Zimbabwe.

Key Goal

Increase availability and access to quality water and sanitation services nationally with special focus on the most disadvantaged districts and communities.


The programme aims to:

  • Increase availability and access to quality water and sanitation facilities in urban areas;
  • Repair and rehabilitate the national rural water infrastructure;
  • Launch a national demand-led total sanitation programme and rural water programme focusing on community water point management and private sector implementation;
  • Support policy and development of effective cost-recovery mechanisms including pro-poor tariff structures, a revised national water policy and effective coordination mechanisms through the National Action Committee (NAC) for water and sanitation.

WASH - Achievements

  • UNICEF manages a USD 30 million programme to improve access to safe water and sanitation for 500,000 inhabitants in 14 small towns in Zimbabwe;
  • UNICEF’s urban water supply interventions are largely through the Emergency Rehabilitation and Risk Reduction Programme, with the goal of reducing the risk of cholera and other water and sanitation related diseases.
  • UNICEF’s urban water interventions include rehabilitation of water and sewage systems, institutional capacity development to facilitate sustainability, and stakeholder coordination to ensure optimal and cost effective use of resources;
  • Rehabilitation of sanitation infrastructure in three urban centers - Masvingo (pop. 100,000) for a sewage treatment plant and sewage pumping station, Plumtree (pop.30,000) for waste stabilization ponds and a sewage pumping station, and Zvishavane (pop.60,000) for pipeline and a pumping station;
  • The rural WASH programme focuses on drilling new boreholes and rehabilitating broken down boreholes in 33 rural districts. The objective is to reduce by 25% the proportion of people without access to safe water and sanitation through rehabilitating 7,300 dysfunctional boreholes, drill 1,500 boreholes in 10,000 communities, and construct 15,000 latrines in 1,500 rural schools. As a result, 2.3m people living in 33 cholera-prone and low access districts will be provided with year round access to safe water and sanitation.





Fact sheet: Small Towns' Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programme

(PDF documents require Acrobat Reader to view.)

Fact sheet: Rural WASH

(PDF documents require Acrobat Reader to view.)

 Email this article

unite for children