Finance essential for reaching poverty reduction and development objectives

Sept. 4, 2002
Campaigns to encourage hand washing and hygiene practices should be included in an approach to water management and resource allocation, a World Bank official said.

September 4, 2002 -- Starting with basic education, campaigns to encourage hand washing and hygiene practices should be included in a holistic approach to water management and resource allocation, said Jamal Saghir, Director, Energy and Water for the World Bank at a press conference marking Water and Sanitation Day at the WaterDome.

Everyone agrees that financing is a critical element in reaching development objectives. "We need to identify public/private partnerships where we can work together and offer solutions for delivering an optimum service to the poor," he said.

Speaking at the same press conference, Gourisankar Ghosh, executive director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council commented that sanitation had never been discussed previously because it was not an attractive subject.

"In order to put into practice the sanitation targets set by world leaders, we need to provide clean water for 300 000 people every day between now and the year 2015. The number of people to meet the target for sanitation provision is 400 000 per day; these two targets combined will cost an estimated $11 - 13 billion (US). What is often not recognized is the fact that more often than not, the major portion of this development money is mobilized by the communities themselves," said Ghosh.

In this light, it becomes imperative for financial institutions to open their doors to people at a grass roots level to enable them to implement water, sanitation and hygiene projects.

"We need to change the way we look at issues by partnering with people and developing ways of addressing these problems."

Nairobi-based Dr Piers Cross, manager of the Water and Sanitation Programme for Africa, said that poverty rests at the heart of the water debate. "Effective water resource management has a major effect on economic growth and poverty reduction. Participation by the community must be kept at the center of sustainable water supply and sanitation provision process."
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