Senegal on Track to Meet Water Related Development Goals
While the African continent has an abundant amount of water resources, it remains the second driest continent in the world after Australia. Fourteen African nations are already experiencing water scarcity. But Senegal has managed to successfully cultivate water. Between 1996 and 2003, water production has increased by 18 percent with 81,000 new household connections and 400 standpipes thanks to the efforts of the Millennium Water and Sanitation Program in Senegal. Gail Walker has the story:
NARR: Mouhamed Fadel Ndaw is the coordinator of the Millennium Water and Sanitation Program in Senegal. He says even before the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals, or the MDGs in the year 2000, he coordinated two main water sanitation projects which were financed by UNDP and the United Nations Capital Development Fund to support access to water for rural Senegalese women…
NDAW: And within the framework of the MDGs from 2004, the teams of the UNDP Millenium village project and the Senegalese Pepam, which is the governmental program I’m coordinating, which is financed partially by the African development bank, these two teams from UNDP and from the government of Senegal collaborated closely to provide water and sanitation to 62 villages in the rural community of Leona, which is situated 200 kilometers north from Dakar, which is the capital of Senegal. And this successful experience led to the achievement in 2009 of 100% of water access to the 30,000 inhabitants of this rural area.
WALKER: Ndaw says through the program 82% of rural households should have access to safe drinking water by 2015; up from 64% in 2004.
NDAW: From the beginning of the program, so in 2004 to 2009, the Pepam enabled to provide safe water access to 1.3 million additional people in rural areas. So, the access rate climbed from 64% to 74% in five years. So if we maintain this trend I think Senegal is likely to meet the rural water related MDGs by 2015.
WALKER: Senegal, located on the western coast of Africa, has deep aquifers. Ndawi says accessing that ground water using motorized pumps provides water for thousands of residents.
NDAW: With one motorized borehole, we provide water to all villages located in a radius of five kilometers with an overall population estimated at 5,000 inhabitants per system. So this is the system which is agreed by all actors in Senegal to provide water in rural areas.
WALKER: One aspect of the project the Program coordinator is especially proud of is the ability to free women and young girls of what he calls the curse of fetching water from remote areas located miles away.
NDAW: So they are losing time and efforts for this duty. Freed from this task, I think that women can spend more time in educating their children, increasing their income in other activities such as market gardening and participating for the development of the villages. You know that also it is well known that attendance of girls at school is sharply increased when water is available near the household.
WALKER: Ndaw says providing access to water will help to address all eight of the Millennium Development Goals.
NDAW: Because if you provide enough water you will fight poverty. You will also enable children and girls, as I said, to go to school. So you will also help one of the MDGs related to attendance of girls in school, etc. So, I think that it is very important that the water MDG is met because this will help to meet also all the other MDGs.
WALKER: Ndaw is confident that Senegal will meet its water-related Millennium Development Goals. Next September the United Nations will host a high level meeting on the MDGs in New York to determine global progress on the development initiatives and what it will take to achieve them by 2015.
Producer: Gail Walker