Initiative for a Water Supply and Sanitation Programme for the Unserved in Developing Countries
Lack of access to safe water sup ply inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene practices are among the leading causes ot illness, death and malnutrition in developing countries. The consequence of this deprivation of basic needs is catastrophic to human and economic development globally In rural Africa alone, 40,000 million hours are lost each year on water collection from distant sources. In economic terms, this is estimated to cost the continent at least US$2,000 million per year - time which could be invested in food production and other economic activities or health and social development.
In spite of the major advances made since the 1980s in providing water and sanitation services to 1,200 million and 770 million people respectively (including the application of cost-eftective technologies, promotion of strategic planning. adoption of participatory approaches and collaboration among agencies and governments) the challenge for the future is daunting. Furthermore, of the average yearly investment of US$13,000 million in the water and sanitation sector over the past 15 years, only about one quarter was spent on low-cost technologies and approaches to serve the rural poor and deprived, low-income urban populations.
By the year 2000 it is estimated that approximately 2.200 million and 2,900 million people will require water and sanitation services respectively Fully three quarters of these will reside in poor rural communities and in deprived, low-income urban areas (the majority of whom will be under 18 years of age). thus inhibiting their rights to social and economic development. It is clear that to continue with "business as usual", the application of current policies, strategies, funding levels and implementation rates. we will not even keep pace with the population growth rate.
In view of this immense global challenge, over 150 participants comprising senior government officials, representatives of external support agencies. non-government and private sector organisations and leading professionals from nearly 40 countries met at Mangochi. Malawi from 77-21 March 1997 to consider the application of policies and strategies that will help to resolve the issues faced by the water and sanitation sector The Man gochi Workshop, hosted by the Government of Malawi and UNICEF and held un~er the auspices of the Handpump Technology Network (HTN). recognised that the supply of safe drinking water and sanitation services to all is not a distant dream, but will remain an elusive goal, especially in Africa, without changing the present arrangements and approaches.
In particular, the Mangochi Workshop perceives a need for governments to move away from the cost-prohibitive solutions that solve the needs of a few to the adoption of solutions using proven, cost-effective technologies and approaches (such as handpumps, spring protection, dug wells and upgrading of traditional water sources and sanitation services) that offer hope to all. It identified that for many of the world's poor, these simple, environmentally friendly solutions remain the only, or if not, the most cost-effective option - both in rural and rapidly deteriorating urban environments
The Mangochi Workshop identified an urgent need for effective collaboration between governments, external support agencies, non-government organisations, the private sector and user communities. It also recognised that sustainability of standardised, handpump-based and other low-cost water and sanitation systems and approaches can be enhanced by the creation of effective political will and legal environments, promotion of decentralised decision-making processes, mobilisation of the private sector and by adopting demand-driven, community-based empowerment approaches. The Mangochi Workshop recognised that the HTN, whose mandate was reaffirmed and future role was expanded during the workshop, can play a key role - both as a nodal point for information exchange and as a facilitator of best practice throughout the world.
Although low-cost water supply and sanitation technologies are well proven, and examples of successful implementation strategies prevail, progress in many developing countries remains slow and setbacks continue. Experiences from around the world point to an urgent need for a partnership-based approach, including the creation of an effective framework for co-ordination of efforts and closer collaboration on a global scale.
The Mangochi Workshop reminds national governments of their roles and responsibilities for enabling the provision of safe water supply and sanitation services within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The development of rational water supply and sanitation policies, together with the introduction of supporting legal, financial and institutional structures is seen as a necessary precursor to success.
Cognisant of the comparative advantage it derives from its global presence, the Mangochi Workshop calls upon UNICEF to work in close collaboration with the World Bank. UNDP the Collaborative Council, the UN System-wide Special Initiative on Africa, as well as other UN agencies, governments, external support agencies, non-government organisations and the private sector to take a leading role in meeting one of the compelling challenges to sustainable development in the early 21st Century
The Handpump Technology Network
HTN is open to all organisations and individuals who are active in the field of handpump development and/or promotion, and to agencies implementing rural water supply and sanitation projects. Around 200 individuals or organisations are members of HTN, including multilateral and bilateral agencies, governmental organisations, NGOs, private sector handpump manufacturers, R&D groups, inspection agencies and individuals. Membership in the network is free.
The current focus of the network is on promoting the sustainability of handpump technologies, in terms of both hardware and software issues. HTN places particular emphasis on implementation guidelines that are institutionally sound, technically realistic and responsive to the needs of users.
Apart from organising the Mangochi Workshop, HTN's recent activities have also included publication and dissemination of international specifications for public domain handpumps (including Afridev, India Mark Il/Ill. Malda and Yaku-MAYA-TARA).
For further information concerning HTN please contact:
Mr Erich Baumann
CH-9000 St Gallen
Tel. + (41)71 2285454
Fax: + (41)71 2285455
Programme supported by SKAT - Swiss Centre for Development Cooperation in Technology and Management