Zimbabwe on course to achieve SDG6
By Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor
ZIMBABWE is on course to achieving Sustainable Development Goal number 6, which calls for universal access to safe and affordable water, sanitation, hygiene as well as ending open defecation by 2030.
In May this year, representatives of water, sanitation, health, economy and environment ministries from more than 50 countries including Zimbabwe gathered in Jarkata, Indonesia in a landmark meeting where commitments towards achieving SDG6 were made.
This Thursday, the local Sanitation and Water for All team met for a two-day meeting to check on progress made so far with regards to the commitments made in Indonesia.
“As a sector and as a country, we have four commitments that we have tendered to the Sanitation and Water for All Global Partnership and these four commitments evolve around the development and launch of a strategy to eliminate open defecation. This far the Ministry of Health, which is the lead ministry in terms of sanitation and hygiene, has actually kick-started the process to develop a national sanitation and hygiene policy.
“In that fact, a climate-resilient national Sanitation and Hygiene Policy is being crafted and we hope that once this policy is out it will also be accompanied by a National Strategy for the Elimination of Open Defecation. The second one is achieving 80 percent of access to portable water by 2025.
“The ministry which is responsible for water has recently launched the climate-resilient Presidential Rural Development Programme, which is anchored on ensuring that there is water supply especially in our rural communities. This is the start of a long journey and our hope is by 2025, we should basically be able to be on the starting point in terms of reaching our set 2030 SDG targets of ensuring universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all, everywhere, anytime,” said Lovemore Dhoba, governmet’s focal person for the Sanitation and Water for All team.
“I think we have moved quite a bit in terms of the political will element. You will find that through some efforts from the SWA country team, we have actually managed to make sure that issues around water and sanitation are dealt with at the highest level, particularly through parliamentary committees that are relevant and then if we come on to the issues around multi-sector engagement.
“We have the big event which is around the joint sector review, which we have managed to resuscitate through efforts of SWA. If we go into the area of financing, you will find out that as a country we didn’t have any country financing strategy per se, so through the efforts of SWA again the country is at an advanced stage of developing a country WASH financing strategy. So overally, I would say we are on target. We are still almost seven years away in terms of the 10 year strategy, so we have made tremendous progress,” said Sitshengiso Zivhave, the Deputy Director for Water with the DDF.
“In terms of accessing portable water, we are maintaining existing boreholes and drilling new boreholes. Under the Presidential Borehole Programme, we have this year managed to sink almost 200 boreholes. We have also managed to bring back to functionality boreholes that had broken down. We have managed to do almost 4 500 this year alone,” said Bloodwell Tichatama Rusike, Sanitation Water for All country manager.
Apart from sinking boreholes and crafting policies to ensure access to safe driving water, government has also been investing in dam construction which has seen the completion of the Tokwe Mukosi Dam as well as remarkable progress towards the completion of the Gwai Shangani Dam, among other projects.