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Improved access to clean water, sanitation can change lives – MCC

IMPROVED access to clean water and sanitation has the potential to change lives and create opportunities for people across Lusaka, says a Millennium Challenge Corporation official.

A delegation from the US government’s MCC, led by principal deputy vice-president of Compact Operations (Africa Division) Kyeh Kim, visited Lusaka this week to discuss progress on MCC investments to reduce poverty and promote economic growth in Zambia.

MCC is an independent US government agency working to reduce global poverty through economic growth.

According to a statement issued by MCC Zambia director of Communications and Outreach Dr John Kunda, the US$355 million MCC compact with the Zambian government aims to advance reform of the nation’s water sector.

“Improved access to clean water and sanitation has the potential to change lives and create opportunities for people across Lusaka,”

Kim said, according to the statement.

“Strengthening this critical infrastructure helps to establish a foundation for continued growth and progress in Zambia.”

Kim is in Zambia to assess progress of the implementation of the Lusaka Water Supply Sanitation and Drainage (LWSSD) project, which is among initiatives she toured  in the company of water development and sanitation minister Lloyd Kaziya.

Funded by MCC and implemented through the Millennium Challenge Account-Zambia (MCA-Zambia), the LWSSD is rehabilitating and expanding Lusaka’s water and sanitation network in coordination with the Lusaka Water and Sewage Company (LWSC) and the Lusaka City Council (LCC).

Kim visited several LWSSD project sites, including Mtendere, where water supply lines and sanitation lines are being laid to provide piped water and sewer services to more than 20,000 households in the area.

The delegation toured an existing water kiosk where residents currently wait for long hours to access clean water.

The project aims to make clean water more accessible and reduce the time spent transporting the commodity.

The delegation also visited the 750,000 cubic litre reservoir recently constructed in Kwamwena residential area.

The reservoir will connect residents to a water network for the first time.

Kim also inspected the Kaunda Square Waste Stabilisation ponds and the Mazyopa drain – both scheduled for completion this December.

The Kaunda Square ponds would provide increased access to sanitation for over 156,000 households in Lusaka – an almost nine-fold increase from the ponds’ original design capacity of 18,000 beneficiaries.

“I am pleased to see the progress at the sites we visited,”

Kim said.

“MCC is grateful to have a strong partnership with the government of the Republic of Zambia as we work together to implement this important investment. While great progress has been made, we are nearing the final year of the compact and there is still much to do to ensure successful completion and sustainability of these efforts.”

In addition to visiting project sites, the MCC delegation met with senior government officials, including finance minister Felix Mutati, local government minister Vincent Mwale and Kaziya.

Kim was accompanied by MCC White House liaison Adrienne Spero and MCC congressional affairs associate director Dan Petrie.

This compact also supports implementation of a variety of institutional capacity building activities, including improving asset management at LWSC and supporting social inclusion and gender mainstreaming at LWSC and LCC.

In an effort to improve the environment and alleviate the burden of clogged drains, which the city faces every rainy season, the government and LCC have agreed to establish an autonomous solid waste management unit to improve garbage collection.

Using a country-led approach reflecting countries’ own priorities, MCC provides five-year grants (known as compacts) to countries that meet rigorous standards for good governance.

The Zambia Compact is currently in the fourth year of the five-year agreement./Ne

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