By Nawa Mutumweno – The Department for International Development (DfID) of the United Kingdom is supporting the UNICEF sanitation and hygiene programme in Zambia to the tune of 19 million pounds (ZMK152 billion) over a four-year period.
According to the Head of the DfID office in Zambia, Mike Hammond, poor sanitation and hygiene currently presents a massive health burden, especially to children under five and women.
With UK aid, Zambia should be able to meet the MDG target of halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to basic sanitation. The DfID assistance will enable 3 million people in rural areas, including 500 000 school children, to access improved sanitation.
And UNICEF representative in Zambia Dr. Iyorlumun Uhaa observed that with the support, the UN agency will be able to work with Government to accelerate progress towards meeting the MDG on sanitation, which will contribute significantly to saving the lives of millions of Zambian children from deadly water-borne diseases.
The funds will enable UNICEF to support the construction of latrines in 1 000 schools, strengthen the private sector to help households improve their existing latrines and introduce a national campaign to promote good hygiene practices at community level.
They will also be used to scale-up Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), an innovative approach which seeks to help local communities build simple, low-cost latrines rather than using communal open spaces.