By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA –
Government and the United States(US) based Millenuin Challenge Corporation have has launched an innovation grant programme worth US$10 million aimed at improving water and sanitation systems in Lusaka.
The project will also look into the improvement of the drainage and other related systems.
This project will solicit proposals from the private sector and support the best approaches to improve service delivery for clean water, sanitation and drainage.
The project funded under the innovation grant programme, will complement the existing Millennium Challenge Compact’s US$355 million Lusaka Water Supply, Sanitation and Drainage project investment whose implementation activities commenced last year in November.
Speaking at the launch of the innovation grant programme in Lusaka yesterday, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba said the programme provides opportunities for business partnerships, particularly from the private sector.
Mr Yamba said it was expected that the output of this component would contribute to improved outcomes of the Lusaka Water Supply,Sanitation and Drainage project.
This will increase and sustain access to quality water, sanitation and drainage services and improve water use, sanitation and hygiene practices.
“The problem of solid waste, poor sanitation,waste water management are enormous.The City of Lusaka produces over 250,000 tonnes of solid waste on a monthly basis and a significant percentage of it usually finds itself in places it should not be like sewer pipes and drainages” he said.
Mr Yamba said: “The Government has prioritised its citizens as the main driver for growth of the Zambian economy and this initiative is a case in point.
“We are placing Lusaka residents as indispensable co-participants in the development of their own living conditions.”
Speaking at the same function, senior advisor to the chief executive officer of Millennium Challenge Corporation Cassandra Butts said, innovation initiatives such as this one are expected to improve access to clean water and sanitation and improve overall community hygiene.
Ms Butts who is visiting from Washington said: “We strongly encourage women’s groups to participate in the development of innovative and sustainable approaches to improve service delivery the Millennium Challenge Compact’s Innovation grant programme.
“In particular,it is our hope that the private sector will present innovative projects that will improve women’s, children and other vulnerable groups access to clean water and sanitation serviced.”
The innovation programme will offer the private sector including civil society and Non Governmental organisations, Universities, research institutions and foundations in Zambia and around the globe an opportunity to participate in well targeted water utility improvement programmes.