Britain is due to extend 69.5bn/- in assistance meant to help boost water supply and improve sanitation and hygiene services in Tanzania’s rural areas in the next four years.
The support, to be made available by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), is expected to complement the government’s efforts to implement its rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene programmes.
DFID, the UK government’s department responsible for promoting development and the reduction of poverty, said in a press statement issued in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the UK’s support will provide over 650,000 people in rural areas with clean and safe water while over 160,000 others will have access to improved latrines.
Statistics shows that nearly half of Tanzania’s population of over 40 million, the vast majority living in rural areas, have yet to access clean water.
Part of the assistance will go into the construction of community water points like taps and wells, mainly in villages, which should promote a change in behaviour leading to better sanitation and hygiene practices and therefore supporting the war on diseases.
Funds will also be directed into improving the monitoring of water supply to ensure people have constant access to potable water.
Tanzania is reported to have made some progress in improving public access to clean and safe water, but lack of reliable supply has seen many people spending much of their income on purchases of the item or walking long distances to get it.
Access to sanitation facilities is even lower, with millions of people still relying on poor quality sanitation facilities in areas with poor drainage and notorious for a number of communicable diseases.
Britain has also pledged assistance to the tune of 4.9bn/-, to be extended through civil society organisations and meant to enable members of the public to participate in water programmes devised and implemented by the government.
This is expected to accord ordinary citizens the chance to participate in the planning, management and monitoring of the programmes, thus helping water schemes run more efficiently and smoothly.
According to DFID, the support highlights the UK government’s commitment to continue helping Tanzania speed up progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals particularly as relate to water and sanitation.
The assistance is in addition to what the UK is already providing to Tanzania through General Budget Support (GBS).
A portion of the UK’s GBS contribution is spent on the water sector, and it is estimated to provide over 70,000 people with access to clean water over the next four years.
The press statement quoted Marshall Elliot, Head of DFID in Tanzania, as saying access to water is very important since it has a big impact on people’s lives, including health, education and incomes.
He said when people have access to clean drinking water, they fall sick less, which means they are able to work and provide more for their families.
“Children learn better if their schools have proper toilets with enough water, and UK is committed to helping Tanzania provide this basic service for its people and make an impact on poverty reduction,” he noted.
Briefing journalists in Dar es Salaam at late last week’s launch of the national Water Week, Water deputy minister Gerson Lwenge said the government was determined to see water supply in the city rising appreciably as earlier promised.
The Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (Dawasa) is implementing a 25-year plan meant to meet demand for water in Dar es Salaam and Coast regions.