Around 150,000 Zambians and refugees to benefit from improved water, sanitation and hygiene services with 136m Kwacha funding from Federal Republic of Germany through UNICEF

28 June 2019
A bronze plaque is unveiled with a water tower and solar panels behind.
The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Representatives of UNICEF and UNHCR unveil a plaque during the launch of the KFW-UNICEF WASH programme for refugees and host communities in Zambia.

MANTAPALA, Zambia, 28 June 2019 – The Federal Republic of Germany through the KfW Development Bank has agreed a new 10 million euro (136 million kwacha) water, sanitation and hygiene programme with UNICEF Zambia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (MWDSEP), for refugees, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Zambian host communities.

The two-year project will benefit an estimated 105,000 people in Zambian host communities and 45,000 refugees in five provinces of Zambia: North Western, Western, Northern, Luapula and Lusaka. It was launched on 25 June 2019 with the commissioning of a solar-powered water system and water storage tanks in Mantapala Refugee Settlement, with the presence of the Commissioner for Refugees, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Representatives of both UNICEF and UNHCR.

“This funding is crucial because it will increase access to water and minimise the burden currently being faced due to inadequate coverage of water, sanitation and hygiene services within the refugee settlements and hosting areas,” said Hon. Dr. Dennis Wanchinga, MP, Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection. “This programme takes the right approach in targeting Zambian host communities as well as refugees so that everyone can benefit from improved water and sanitation.”

The programme aims to reduce incidences of water-borne diseases caused by a lack of adequate water supply and sanitation facilities and reduce the burden of water collection on women and girls.

“Zambia has a long tradition of welcoming refugees into the country on a political as well as civil level,” said His Excellency, Mr Achim Burkart, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany. “I am particularly impressed with the support offered by the host communities. Through this 10 million EUR (136 million ZMK) water and sanitation project as well as its humanitarian aid, Germany is committed to support refugees in the settlement as well as the local population in host communities.”

The project will be implemented through UNICEF Zambia in collaboration with the MWDSEP and working closely with the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, NGOs and private sector contractors.

“The really important part of this programme is that it includes the host community, who stand in the frontline to receive refugees from DR Congo,” said the Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Abdon L. Mawere. “This approach will contribute to social cohesion and peaceful co-existence. Our cooperating partners are assisting us in a very big way to help us continue to be a place of shelter for those in need.”

“Improved water, sanitation and hygiene services will lead to tangible benefits not just for the health of young children, for whom diarrheal diseases are one of the main cause of malnutrition, childhood illnesses and death, but also improve school performance, gender equality and sustainable development,” said UNICEF Zambia Representative, Ms. Noala Skinner. “This significant investment from the Government of Germany will have a big impact on improving the lives of vulnerable children in refugee hosting locations in Zambia.”

The UNHCR Representative to Zambia, Ms. Pierrine Aylara, said: “UNHCR appreciate the great donation and values the legendary generosity of the people of Germany for supporting refugee programmes across the world including in Zambia.”

Working closely with UNHCR, the interventions will focus on communities in and around Maheba Settlement (Kalumbila), Mayukwayukwa Settlement (Kaoma), Kenani Transit Centre (Nchelenge), Mantapala Settlement (Nchelenge) and Lusaka (Makeni Transit Centre) and reception centres at the border entry points including Chienge (Luapula Province), and Kaputa, Nsumbu and Mpulungu in Northern Province.

The programme is in line with the special initiative “Tackling the root causes of displacement, reintegrating refugees” of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the Zambian Seventh National Development Plan, the DRC Regional Refugee Response Plan, the Government of Zambia’s Vision 2030, the National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (NRWSSP) 2016-2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Currently, there are 79,688 refugees in Zambia of various nationalities. These statistics include some 23,705 former refugees from Angola and Rwanda whose refugee status ceased in 2012 and 2013, and who have been granted social integration in Zambia, as well as 46,402 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who have found international protection in Zambia for decades. The statistics for the DRC refugees include over 20,000 people – 51 per cent women and girls and 58 per cent children, who have arrived in Zambia since August 2017 following deterioration in the security situation in the DRC.

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