Following the success of the first phase of the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative, the European Investment Bank has provided a grant of EUR 50,000 to UN-HABITAT to help extend the programme to larger towns in the Lake Victoria region.
President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania plants a tree commemorating the official inauguration f a UN-HABITAT water supply project for Muleba town
The collaboration between UN-HABITAT and the European Investment Bank follows the renewed mandate given to UN-HABITAT by Governments of the five East African Community states.
At a ministerial meeting held in Entebbe, Uganda in April 2009, ministers of water from the five countries, together with their finance counterparts, called upon the European Investment Bank to consider financing an expanded Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative through concessional loans and grants to the five national governments.
Based on the endorsement of the third phase of the programme by the East African Community member states, the grant from the European Investment Bank to UN-HABITAT will support a project formulation study by a firm of consultants engaged by the Bank and supervised by UN- HABITAT, in close collaboration with the partner governments.
The Governments of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are considering expanding the Initiative to include Kisumu, Kampala and Mwanza respectively, with the focus being on low income areas of these towns.
The first phase of the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation initiative is nearing completion in seven small towns around the Lake, with activities scheduled to begin shortly in an additional three towns. Formulation of the second phase, which will extend the programme to another 15 small towns, is under preparation with the help of the African Development Bank which is expected to commit over USD 150 million in follow-up investments.
Technical assistance provided to the project towns by UN-HABITAT in the development of strategic business plans, preparation and implementation of performance improvement plans, water demand management, billing and revenue collection, customer care and block mapping have contributed to improved capacity to deliver effective and efficient water supply services on a sustainable and commercially viable basis.
Participating utilities have all registered major improvements in their key performance indicators, with some utilities reporting revenue increases of up to 60 percent, and reductions in unaccounted for water of over 20 percent.
The Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative has also demonstrated a model solid waste management system for small urban centres in the seven towns. Equipment has already been delivered and is operational in three pilot towns, while a capacity-enhancement programme in solid waste management has been launched in the seven towns, focusing on promoting community-based approaches to waste recycling as an economic activity.
A sanitation micro-credit revolving fund scheme targeting female headed low-income households has also been launched in nine towns under the Lake Victoria Initiative, with the aim of providing affordable sanitation for 9,000 households as a viable approach to expanding access to sanitation for the poor.
The projects have already achieved significant results by mobilizing community savings, training local community groups and local artisans in building low-cost toilets, as well as by strengthening partnerships between the local authorities, NGOs, community groups and micro-finance institutions.
Community participation has been institutionalized through the establishment of Multi-Stakeholder Forums. The active participation of the forums in project activities has enhanced project delivery with pilot projects in the ten initial towns having provided over 170,000 persons with access to safe drinking water and another 65,000 with access to improved sanitation.