The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will launch a water project early next year, funded by the federal agency to address the challenges faced in water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools.
The project dubbed “WASH” an acronym that stands for “water, sanitation, and hygiene” will cost an estimated $460,000 for implementation once it kicks in in 2019.
The project caters for educational institutions along the Mara River located between Kenya and Tanzania. Approximately 14 schools from both countries established along the river will benefit from the water project. The river in Mara Region lies across the migration path of ungulates in the world-famous Maasai Mara/Serengeti game reserves.
A memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) Executive Secretary Dr. Ali-Said Matano and the heads of beneficiary schools at Goldland Hotel in Tarime Town recently act as a green light to the implementation of the project.
Water, sanitation, and hygiene in East Africa is a worrying situation with an impact on the lives of the citizens. A publication released showed that in Kenya approximately 80 percent of hospital attendance is due to preventable diseases out of which 50 percent are water, sanitation, and hygiene related.
The WASH program, currently operating in over 100 countries worldwide seeks to address children’s rights to an adequate standard of living and the highest attainable standard of health. A publication by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) showed that less than half of schools have adequate water supply and sanitation facilities in Eastern as well as Southern Africa.
The highly-affected and vulnerable population is the girl-child. The girl-child is a top priority as such challenges affect them more than the boy-child. The program will relieve them of the long distances covered to access water. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated, ” Safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are crucial for poverty reduction, crucial for sustainable development, and crucial for achieving any and every one of the Millennium Development Goals.”
Around 2.4 billion people around the world do not use improved sanitation, while a mere 663 million do not have access to improved water sources. The lack of proper sanitation derailed the global economy over $220 billion with Africa accounting for about $19.3 billion, of which about 75 percent came from deaths related to sanitation. The survey was done by Lixil Group Corporation a Japanese manufacturer of building materials and housing equipment, headquartered in Tokyo.
Over 11 million people have now access to basic toilets, and nearly 14 million can access clean water courtesy of the WASH program. The outreach should better more lives, with the implementation as well. The project should curb water-borne diseases and give both boys and girls a chance to focus on their education.