Low Funding Towards WASH Takes Centre Stage at WASH Innovation Fair
UNICEF says low government funding towards water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities is limiting provision of safe water, especially in rural areas.
Speaking at the opening of WASH Innovation Fair championed by Water and Sanitation Network-WESNET, UNICEF Chief of WASH in Malawi Mougabe Koslengar said many people in rural areas suffer from waterborne diseases because they have no access to safe water as they get minimal funding to construct or rehabilitate water and sanitation facilities.
Koslengar said the fair will give an opportunity to stakeholders to ponder on possibilities of increasing response to WASH in Malawi.
He said there is need for stakeholders to discuss measures that will help in responding to cholera especially now that the country is reeling from effects of Cyclone Freddy and the raging epidemic that has claimed over 1500 lives this far.
“Innovation is not only about technology but also how a sector is priotised. Water and Sanitation sector is one of key sector that need to be looked into. This sector needs to be priotised in terms of resources, human resources and funding in general. The stakeholders here will discuss about it. Cholera is within Malawi and WASH needs more support to e to counter the disease,” said Koslengar.
Meanwhile, Director of Sanitation in the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Dr. Modesta Kanjaye says the fair will give room for innovators to showcase the innovations and best practices that can help in building resilience in the WASH sector in Malawi.
Dr Kanjaye says it is very unfortunate that Malawi largely depend on imported technologies in order for the country to produce goods and services yet there is potential to innovate and adapt to appropriate technologies that suit its context.
“Lack in technology in WASH is a major setback and it is negatively affecting our productivity and service delivery to the citizens of Malawi.
For example, the WASH sector, according to the Joint Monitoring Program of 2021 (JMP 2021), Malawi’s WASH service coverage is at 70%, 27% and 8% for water, sanitation and hygiene, respectively,” said Dr Kanjaye.
WESNET Executive Director Willies Chanozga Mwandira said the fair will provide platform for stakeholders in WASH to showcase some of the best practices, technologies and innovations that can help in bridging the technological and practice gaps that have been existing in the sector
Mwandira says WASH services are a priority now in the country now that Malawi is reeling from effects of Cyclone Freddy and cholera which has hit the nation for over a year now.
“Cyclone Freddy has shown us that we indeed need to do more when it comes to our WASH infrastructure. This Innovation Fair gives us an opportunity to see and appreciate some of the technologies that if given a chance for up scaling, can help Malawi in the near future to withstand disasters like cyclones. With the cholera outbreak still amidst us, this fair also serves as a reminder that Malawi is capable of eliminating this water borne disease if the best practices are indeed followed and if those in the know solutions to the existing problems, disseminate what they know could help us as a nation,” says Mwandira.
The WASH fair is being held under the theme Promoting climate resilient and sustainable technologies and innovations for improved WASH service delivery in Malawi – Moving together with the MW2063.
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