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How AfDB support changed lives in Zambia.

In 2000, there were just over 1m people living in Zambia's Central province. Social facilities were extremely limited, which made it unfeasible to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 target in terms of health, education and water. Given the Central Province's urgent needs, in 2003 the Zambian government and the AfDB initiated a substantial intervention to improve the situation by providing adequate and sustainable water supply and improved sanitation serving around 2,000 communities.

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AfDB Assistance

The AfDB provided funding totalling $19.7m towards the cost of the project and the Zambian government made an additional contribution of $2.9m. The communities covered by the project benefited from the provision of 2,920 new and 670 rehabilitated boreholes and hand-built wells. The project also provided sanitation support to more than 16,500 families to build and rehabilitate their own household toilets. More than 210 schools and health centres received support for the construction of sanitation facilities.

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Through the intervention, schools developed and implemented a sanitation awareness campaign, which entailed the promotion of water supply and sanitation services in the project area. The intervention was centred on community ownership and management, and participating communities were empowered to fully participate in the decision-making and implementation processes aimed at providing their own sustainable water supply and sanitation services.

The project area suffered from significant desertification due to deforestation and other human activities. The project therefore aimed to increase water catchments and forest reserves. This was done by reducing the rate of deforestation and replanting trees. The establishment of horticultural projects, community tree nurseries, beekeeping and small-scale businesses provided additional opportunities for income generation whilst improving the environment.

Results

The Bank's Central Province Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (2003-2006) successfully provided health and hygiene education to about 1m people and benefited close to 600,000 people by providing water supply and sanitation services in five districts of the province.

This major intervention has contributed considerably towards improving access to water and sanitation as well as promoting changes in hygiene behaviour. It has enabled the country to move closer towards attaining its national goals and reaffirming Zambia's commitment to meet the MDGs.

Furthermore, as a result of the initiative, in 2005 Zambia was included in the second group of countries earmarked for support under the Bank's Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI). Accordingly, Zambia has developed a Strategic Investment Programme for the rural water supply and sanitation sub-sector in the country. The project has impacted positively not just in terms of infrastructure provision but also in promoting community ownership and sustainable delivery of water and sanitation services. It has brought to the fore clear benefits derived by communities as their livelihoods are improved in a participatory manner through the provision of basic services and by addressing priority health needs.

It is expected that spending by households on medication for preventable diseases will be reduced as will the time and effort spent in fetching water. For example, women who are responsible for providing water to households or other sites have benefited by not having to go far to do so and therefore the time formerly used for fetching water can now be put to productive work.

This is what beneficiaries have to say about the project: "The project was very effective in addressing the lack of access to potable water. It also showed us the importance of good hygiene, safe sanitation and the prevention of malaria and HIV/Aids. We have learnt for ourselves how we, as communities, can own and use these facilities on a sustainable basis. Furthermore, we can now see the link between water supply, sanitation, hygiene education, and catchment protection within an environmental management context and how we can address these issues in an integrated approach".
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Comment:How AfDB support changed lives in Zambia.
Publication:African Business
Geographic Code:6ZAMB
Date:May 1, 2009
Words:633
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