Belgium commits to end water access woes in Kigoma

Thursday December 10 2020
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Regional Commissioner, Thobias Andengenye (centre) with Belgian Head of Cooperation, Jasmien De Winnie (second from left) at the inaugural ceremony of the construction phase of WASKIRP which is being funded through Enabel-Belgian Development Agency.

The government of Tanzania and development partners are cooperating to improve water supply service delivery in all parts of the country.

In Kigoma region, the Belgian government is pledging its commitment to ensure that more people have access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation services to contribute to the social and economic development of the country.

The Belgian support is being made through Enabel, Belgian Development agency which, in partnership with the Ministry of Water, is implementing Water Supply and Sanitation Kigoma Regional Program (WASKIRP).

Since the reigning government took the office, it has incessantly encouraged timely and effective implementation of development projects to stave majority citizens off a challenge of the access to social services.

Bearing in mind the urgency of having timely executed projects, recently the Regional Commissioner for Kigoma, Thobias Andengenye dictated a great haste on implementation of water supply projects across the region.

The Regional Commissioner spoke this during the inauguration of the construction phase of WASKIRP which is being funded through Enabel - Belgian Development Agency.

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Dignitaries at the event included the Head of Cooperation who is also the Deputy Belgian Ambassador to Tanzania, Jasmien De Winnie. Other officials included the Resident Representative of the Belgian Development Agency, Koen Goekint, Kigoma Regional Administrative Secretary, Rashid Mchatta, and other members of the program’s bilateral committee from the Office of the President-Tamisemi, and the Ministry of Water.

Speaking to Citizen, the Belgian Deputy Ambassador and Head of Cooperation, said that access to clean and safe drinking water is a fundamental right for citizens. Poor water supply services have profound effects on public health, gender equality, environment and economic activities.

“Through our cooperation with the government of Tanzania, we support infrastructure construction in an effort to improve the access to safe drinking water. We upgrade water production capacity, pro-mote water supply networks and improve water quality. As a result, we are contributing to reducing the burden laid on women and girls who usually walk long distances to fetch water,” Jasmien said.

“No productive activity can be done without water. You can’t even offer medical services or engage in agriculture if there is no water”, claimed the Belgian Deputy Ambassador. She further said that lack of clean and safe water is a public health and economic risk, as there are many water borne diseases such as diarrhea and typhoid which substantially impact on people’s ability to work to feed themselves and contribute to building the nation.

“For all that to turn out well, safe drinking water is a must and the Belgian government is committed to working with the Ministry of Water to improve services,” in water supply”, Jasmien said.

The Belgian government signed a Specific Agreement with the government of Tanzania in July 2017 to implement the water supply program in Kigoma region up to July 2022. Implementation however delayed to start as the program was taken back to a drawing board owing to changes in the premise upon which the original program was designed.

The Rural Water Supply Project Advisor for the Belgian Development Agency, Amos Chigwenembe says that the re-designing of the program was necessary although this meant deferring construction of the water schemes, contrary to the expectations of communities.

He argued that the situation in the targeted communities was challenging as most targeted water sources had seriously dwindled. He said that designing water supply schemes around sources which were evidently insufficient and could not last, was professionally atrocious.

After reconstructing the pro-gram and its budget, the project is now on course and Enabel is upbeat that despite the delay, all the targeted schemes will be constructed and completed by the end of the set execution period.

The inaugural event which took place in Mkongoro village in Kigoma district, was preceded by the inauguration of the construction of an intake on Nyete River and a treatment plant at Mkongoro gravity-fed piped water supply scheme. Mkongoro GFS is among six schemes whose construction is being funded by Belgium.

The Belgian financial contribution is currently at 8 mil-lion euros. Belgium is however pledging additional 4 million euros to ensure that the schemes are constructed to design and serve more than 200,000 people that the program had initially targeted. Construction of water supply schemes has begun in the districts of Kigoma, Buhigwe and Uvinza where the program has engaged contractors for the works. Construction in these districts is expected to be completed by May 2021.

In Kakonko district, through RUWASA Force Account, the program is supporting construction of 2 water storage tanks of 500 cubic meters each, as it prepares to engage a con-tractor for a scheme that will serve Kakonko town and 4 villages surrounding the town.

In Kasulu District, the water program has drilled production boreholes which will supply water to Kidyama village and parts of Kasulu Town. Speaking of these water supply projects, Ruwasa Manager for Kigoma region, Eng. Mathias Mwenda said that he is confident that these projects will enhance water service delivery in most villages in Kigoma.

“We estimate that when completed, these projects will serve up to 265,000 people in the targeted communities across around 21 villages in the 5 Kigoma districts. This will amputate challenges related to access to water services in Kigoma region,” explained Eng. Mwenda.

Besides construction of water supply systems, the program is establishing and building the capacity of Community-Based Water Supply Organizations (CBWSOs) so that they can sustainably manage the water schemes in their jurisdiction when they are fully handed over to the communities after construction.

It is also providing institutional support and providing capacity enhancement pro-grams to RUWASA to ensure that the agency takes up its rightful role in supporting the CBWSOs and improving rural water supply as a whole in Kigoma region.

The program further targets to improve sanitation and domestic water management so that drinking water is transported and kept safe for human consumption from the improved sources to the point of use, in the homes.