World Water Day 2024, under the theme "Water for Peace"

UNICEF reiterates its commitment to support the Government of Burundi to ensure that every child has access to resilient, safe, equitable and gender-sensitive water, sanitation and hygiene services.

22 March 2024
 In Gahore, colline Makombe, commune Rumonge, Adidja Minani and Zephérine Buname draw water from a standpipe built by UNICEF with funding from the Government of Japan.
UNICEF Burundi/2023/J.G. Uwamahoro
In Gahore, colline Makombe, commune Rumonge, Adidja Minani and Zephérine Buname draw water from a standpipe built by UNICEF with funding from the Government of Japan.

Bujumbura, 22 March 2024.  In Burundi, access to water and sanitation services still falls short of ambitions to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6, which aims to ‘’Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.’’

According to the results of the WHO-UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP 2022), only 62% of Burundians have basic access to drinking water. At institutional level, around 46% of schools have basic access to water services and 70% of health facilities have basic access to drinking water (JMP 2022). Furthermore, ranked 51st out of 163 countries in the world, Burundi is suffering the effects of climate change, which exposes it to hazards such as flooding, drought and extreme temperatures, and to water shortages that reduce community efforts and have an impact on investment in the sector, water quality and the availability of drinking water services.  

Faced with the worsening effects of climate change and population growth, there is an urgent need for all stakeholders to work together to protect and conserve our most precious resource. When water is scarce or polluted, or when some people have no access to it or unequal access to it, tensions can arise between populations deprived of the service. Water can therefore be a source of peace or conflict.

The theme of this year's World Water Day 2024, "Water for Peace", is a reminder that water is not only a resource to be used and fought over, but also a human right, intrinsic to all aspects of life.

“To improve access to drinking water, hygiene and sanitation and build peace between communities, as envisaged in the Burundi Vision 'Emerging Country in 2040 and Developed Country in 2060', it is crucial to increase budget allocations for this sector," says France Bégin, UNICEF Representative in Burundi. 

In fact, in Burundi's state budget, the amount allocated to water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) for the 2023/2024 financial year is 45 billion Burundi francs (BIF), or 16 million US dollars (USD), compared with 36.4 billion BIF in 2022/2023, or 18 million USD. This represents 1.1% of the total budget, compared with 1.5% in 2022/2023. 

"UNICEF will support the production of evidence-based data and will accompany the Government and other actors in the mobilisation of resources for water, sanitation and hygiene, including from climate financing mechanisms", promises France Bégin, UNICEF Representative in Burundi.  


    UNICEF's work on water, hygiene and sanitation


In 2023, thanks to the support of UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines through the Burundian Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (AHAMR) and REGIDESO, interventions were carried out in the provinces of Bujumbura-Mairie, Bujumbura, Cibitoke and Rumonge. As a result, 89,079 people, including 45,917 women, gained access to basic water services thanks to the construction of four gravity-fed, climate-resistant water supply networks. Four health facilities and 34 schools have been connected to the water network, enabling 19,229 pupils, including 9,259 girls, to benefit. As part of the humanitarian response, UNICEF-Burundi has also supported the provision of sustainable water supply systems, developing water supplies in camps for displaced people and in urban and peri-urban areas of Bujumbura and surrounding rural areas affected by flooding and cholera. 

To strengthen peace and social cohesion around water between the host communities and those displaced by the effects of climate change, capacity-building sessions on good management were organised for 690 members of the local administration and local management committees, including 238 women.

In its new 2024-2027 country programme document, agreed with the Government of Burundi, UNICEF intends to strengthen its support for the implementation of the national strategy for drinking water, sanitation and insurance aimed at giving children and adolescents access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services that are safely managed, climate-resilient, and gender-sensitive.


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