UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the President of the United Nations General Assembly, joined the UN-Water Chair and heads of 10 United Nations entities, Member States representatives and stakeholders from … Read more
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Coordinated action to tackle the complexity and magnitude of the water and sanitation challenges is urgently needed. The UN-Water 2030 Strategy represents a collective way forward to address the water … Read more
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Official launch of the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework will take place during the 2020 High-level Political Forum, in a Special Event on Thursday 9 July 2020 at 08:00-09:30 EDT. … Read more
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Opinion Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water and President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) The coronavirus has stopped the world in its tracks and while the pandemic … Read more
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The SMART Centre in Njombe, Tanzania, has recently started a new round of trainings funded through SKAT/ZH2O. The topics of the training include horticulture, aquaculture and training in the production of SMARTechs such as Rope pumps and manual drilling. See the newsitem on the website of the SMART Centre for an impression of the activities.
With the support of The Coca-Cola Foundation’s Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) has been working with Kenyan city authorities to enable more than 600,000 urban residents across five cities to improve access to clean water, safe sanitation and improved hygiene.
Improving water supply
Through new pipeline extensions, residents in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu can now connect to the water supply. Nancy Adhiambo, a fishmonger in Nairobi, says, “To be able to sell the fish I must first prepare them. I use water from the prepaid water dispensers to clean them. It is very helpful for business.”
WSUP also worked with private water operators to improve the quality of service for residents in marginalised communities. “I was trained on business development, human resources, financial and customer management,” says Vincent Omondi, a water entrepreneur in Kisumu.
Upgrading sanitation services
In Nairobi’s under-served community of Kaptagat, WSUP worked with the city utility Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company to extend the sewer network, upgrade pit latrines to pour flush toilets, and build demand for the new service.
Alice Nduta was one of the first to get a sewer connection in the community. Before, she had to use a room as a septic tank, and had to pay twice a month to have the room cleaned out. “The whole community is now cleaner and there is no bad odour in the area mainly because other plot owners have also connected their toilets to the sewer line.”
Empowering women and girls
Ensuring that facilities meet the needs of women and girls is a vital part of building inclusive services. In Naivasha, WSUP worked with Life Bloom Services International to develop a sanitary pads sales and distribution business. Many of the sales agents are former sex workers, giving these women an opportunity to improve their lives through the Life Bloom social business.
As a result of the programme, utilities in four cities now have an improved ability to serve the poorest communities. For WSUP, this achievement represents significant progress towards our overall goal of supporting water and sanitation providers in Kenya to provide universal access across cities in the country.
Relief goods for 500 vulnerable and poor households affected by COVID-19 restrictions were handed over to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly.
On May 18, 2020 in Kumasi, IRC Ghana in partnership with the Latter-day Saint Charities in Ghana presented USD 25,000 worth of COVID-19 relief items to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA). The relief items are for onward distribution to 500 households in selected vulnerable communities of the Ashanti Region who have been most impacted socially and economically by the COVID-19 mitigation measures imposed by the Government of Ghana.
In a joint presentation to KMA, Abubakari Wumbei of IRC Ghana recalled that in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Ghana announced a series of measures for Ghana’s enhanced response to the pandemic, which included the imposition of a three-week partial lockdown in Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi. The directive, according to him affected social and economic life of people and incomes severely, especially for vulnerable and poor households with limited resources to support their their families with food and other essentials.
Mr. Wumbei acknowledged that the Government through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the National Disaster Management Organisation and affected Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) embarked on measures to mitigate the effects of the lockdown on vulnerable populations, but the effort - including food rationing, was inadequate due to the large numbers within the affected cities.
“As a partner that works with Government and other development partners at the national and sub-national levels, IRC Ghana joined hands with the Latter-day Saint Charities in Ghana to work through KMA in supporting 500 affected vulnerable and poor households (approximately 2,500 people) in the Kumasi Metropolitan area with USD 25,000 worth of relief items: 500 bags of rice (25kg), 104 boxes of canned fish, 83 boxes of vegetable cooking oil, 32 boxes with bars of soap, 35 cartons of carbolic soap and 104 boxes with cans of tomatoes,” Mr. Wumbei added.
He further noted that the COVID-19 experience has reaffirmed the relevance of WASH in the development paradigm and most of all the strong link between WASH and health that requires urgent attention of particularly Government; and that IRC will continue to build alliances to support Government to strengthen WASH systems for COVID-19 emergency response and beyond.
On his part, the President of the Kumasi Bantama Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mr. Samuel Appiah, said the donation was indeed to complement the government’s effort in supporting the needy and vulnerable who were affected by the COVID-19 situation. He said the pandemic had brought untold hardships to many people, especially the vulnerable, and added: “As a church, our aim is to seek the welfare of the poor and the needy, hence this collaborative gesture.”
IRC Ghana and Latter-day Saints teams then joined hands in presenting the detailed list of the relief items to the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Mr. Osei Assibey Antwi.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi, Mr. Osei Assibey Antwi, who received the items thanked the two organisations on behalf of his team and the affected beneficiary households, stating that the support was timely as a lot of people are yearning for food to feed their families due to the COVID-19 restrictions that affected the area.
He commended IRC for the great support over the years, “they were at the forefront of a nationwide MMDA sanitation contest that ended last year where KMA came up tops and was awarded GBP 400,000; and today they are here again, this time with the Latter-day Saint Charities brought on board at a time this support is most needed.”
The MCE said that the collaboration needs to be further strengthened as IRC’s expertise in WASH was crucial in the management of the pandemic since most of the protocols of COVID-19 are water, sanitation and hygiene related.
The Metropolitan Director of Social Welfare and Community Development and the lead person in-charge of the onward distribution of the relief items, Esther Apraku Nyako expressed her excitement and appreciation for the donation. “I'm excited because this is one of the biggest non-governmental donations of food items we have seen so far since the COVID lockdown and we really appreciate it.” She explained that the 500 target beneficiary households include widows, persons with a disability, the aged and those on the livelihood empowerment against poverty (LEAP) programme; and that each household will receive 1 bag of rice (25kg), cooking oil (2 litres), canned fish (5 pieces of 400g), tomato paste (5 pieces of 400g), 1 long bar of soap and 5 pieces of carbolic soap.
Present at the donation ceremony were the KMA team led by the MCE and Metropolitan Coordinating Director, representatives of IRC Ghana and Latter-day Saint Charities, and members of the media.
While the measures to confine the spread of COVID in Europe are showing effect the spread of the virus is increasing in the countries where the SMART Centres are established and where the support local businesses in providing WASH facilities and services. These local businesses and their technologies are an essential tool in the efforts to confine the spread.
The Jacana SMART Centres in Zambia and the CCAP SMART Centre in Malawi have both started a project, which is supported by Wilde Ganzen.
The EERN SMART Centre in Niamey, Niger, focusses on training local (female) leaders in the construction of hand wash stations, local production of mouth masks, water filters and provision of food aid to the most effected families. See a recent news item for pictures.
The SHIPO SMART Centre in Njombe, Tanzania, focusses on the distribution of hand washing facilities to health centres in Mbozi district and the promotion of Face shields, partly made from recycled plastics. See the website for more info.
The projects in Zambia and Malawi are supported by Wilde Ganzen who will double the funds raised. Any support to the projects is appreciated and can be donated through the SMART Centre Foundation or for Zambia directly through their website. Dutch donors can get a tax-refund ANBI.
Other SMART Centres in Kenya and Mozambique are also developing proposals for COVID-related activities and once these are approved we will publish them through the SMART Centre Group website.
At the same time water is increasingly considered as an instrument for international cooperation to support food production, livelihoods, ecosystems, climate change adaption, and sustainable development. As water scarcity is … Read more
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In Kabarole District IRC's support is driven by strengthening WASH in healthcare facilities.
On 21 March 2020, Uganda had its first confirmed case of COVID-19. This was followed two days later by eight more. Prior to that, on 18 March, the President addressed the nation on COVID-19 and outlined the guidelines on preventative measures.
The Government of Uganda has established a number of structures to coordinate various COVID-19 response activities. These include:
The Ministry of Health has published and disseminated key COVID-19 information materials including a fact sheet, a poster and guidelines for prevention of COVID-19 in public places (banks, offices, shopping malls, restaurants, markets). Other ministries including the Ministry of Water and Environment have also issued their guidelines. The Government established a call centre and a COVID-19 Information Portal with a real-time database.
A summary of the national and Kabarole District COVID-19 situation as of 31 May 2020:
Following the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in Uganda, Kabarole District Health Office constituted a District COVID-19 Response Task Team concerned with surveillance, response and mitigation against the spread of the disease. This is headed by the District Health Office and is part of the overall District COVID-19 task force. The task force developed a detailed Preparedness and Response Plan and Budget which was widely shared with all stakeholders in the district, including IRC. This was used to raise financial and material support in the district in addition to funding provided by the Ministry of Health.
Kabarole’s focus is towards risk communication, surveillance, infection prevention and control, transport for frontline health workers, information education communication (IEC) materials and personal protection equipment (PPE). IRC agreed to contribute towards the key areas and participate as a member in the COVID-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) team albeit virtually and on the phone.
IRC Uganda has supported Kabarole District’s efforts in the prevention and mitigation of the virus in the following ways:
Part of the low cost but high impact interventions that will be carried out by IRC to improve WASH in HCFs are based on the 2018 WASH in Healthcare Facilities Assessment Report. Latrines were not only inadequate in HCFs, but existing structures fell below standards of safety, privacy and convenience to the user. They were not washable, had cracked floors and most were nearly full. IRC contracted KAHASA (Kabarole Hand Pump Mechanics Association) to do renovations with a double benefit of improving WASH in HCFs and also further building capacity of the Hand Pump Mechanics Association to provide operation and maintenance of water and sanitation services.
These rather low-cost interventions have had a great impact on Kabarole District’s response to and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. By 31 May 2020:
These interventions have so far provided significant outcomes for Kabarole, marking a progressive response and mitigation against the spread of the virus. All healthcare facilities and healthcare workers in Kabarole have remained active and motivated. All Kabarole markets were able to maintain the standard operating procedures and none were closed by authorities during the lockdown compared to other parts of the country. There has been increased interest of the district in addressing WASH in HCFs. Extension of piped water in Kasenda and Kabende has targeted the HCFs. District decision makers take more note from the Health Team. There is also increased adoption of handwashing practice and gradually entrenching behaviour.
Moving forward, IRC would like to see strengthening of WASH in HCFs in Kabarole District. Therefore, immediate attention will be on advocacy and lobbying for increased interest and investment for WASH in HCFs; capacity development of the District Health Officer and ensuring adequate linkages with other key sectors like the water department.
Organising the availability of IPC materials (chlorine dispenser, sanitisers, handwashing with soap, alcohol-based hand sanitiser) and access to safe clean water with the district water department, utility companies and WASH partner organisations like Amref, PATH, HEWASA and the Infectious Diseases Institute among others. IRC will continue building a more sustainable medical waste management system in Kabarole (contributing to one or two centrally located incinerators and collection systems in the district).
In conclusion, significant lessons can be learned here. Having a strong WASH system prepares organisations, districts and nations to address even these global health challenges. Interventions in WASH in HCFs are ‘no regret’ investments as their impact is far reaching especially as it results in improved healthcare outcomes. And lastly, WASH is pivotal in IPC and primary health care. It is important that we demonstrate this to countries and donors.
IHE Delft hosted the 2020 Capacity Development Symposium from 27 – 29 May. Due to the COVID-19 measures an online platform was created using webinars and poster presentations.
Henk Holtslag and Reinier Veldman both presented on behalf of the SMART Centre Group on SMART Centres. A promising approach to reach SDG6 and water related SDGs in rural areas and Faith and Water – Accelerating WASH knowledge sharing and capacity building through the use of Faith Groups.
Their presentations and webinar recordings can be accessed through the resources page.
The report, entitled Referee! Responsibilities, regulations and regulating for urban sanitation, has four key findings:
As part of this research we spoke to staff from regulators in Kenya, Zambia and Mozambique about the importance of active regulating in promoting access to quality, affordable sanitation.
Safe sanitation is not just about toilets – it’s about the effective systems that underpin strong services. Regulators are a crucial, but often undervalued part of that.
WSUP and ESAWAS have analysed the role of regulators in four countries to assess their importance in the broader system of sanitation services, and understand how their roles are being made more impactful. The report identifies a range of different regulatory instruments and demonstrates how their introduction is leading to improved sanitation services in traditionally under-served urban communities.
The national case studies are as follows:
Bangladesh: national institutional and regulatory framework for un-sewered sanitation
Kenya: standard operating procedures in the city of Kisumu
Kenya: introducing cross-subsidies to finance sanitation
Mozambique: adopting new regulatory responsibilities
Zambia: a new national framework for regulating un-sewered sanitation
Kenya: incentives to encourage utilities to serve the poorest communities
The report also assesses the contribution being made by ESAWAS to drive change through at pan-African level.