Second phase of Lake Victoria projects kicks off next monthThe second phase of the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative will kick off next month, it has been announced.

A meeting of the Regional Policy Steering Committee met in Nairobi on 29th-30th June 2011 and agreed that all conditions for the release of funds from the African Development Bank should be completed by July 6th and that implementation activities should commence in August.2011. 

The second phase of the programme covers 15 secondary towns namely: Ngozi, Muyinga, and Kayanga in Burundi; Keroka, Kericho and Isebania in Kenya; Kayanza, Nyagatare and Nyanza in Rwanda, Geita, Sengerema and Nansio in Tanzania;  Mayuge, Kayabwe-Bukakata and Ntungamo in Uganda. The Regional Policy Steering Committee, which was established to provide policy direction for the program, comprises representatives from the East African Community Secretariat, the five East African Countries, regional organizations and UN-HABITAT.

The objective of the meeting was to review the program status and agree on a time line for the fulfillment of the conditions of effectiveness for the $110 million Grant from the African Development Bank and the actions needed to move the program into the implementation phase. The meeting was attended by representatives of the  five Partner States (Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and Rwanda), Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, UN-HABITAT, Lake Victoria Regional Local Authorities Cooperation and Lake Victoria Basin Commission Secretariat.  

The Director, Human Settlements Financing Division, UN-HABITAT Mr. Albert Diphoorn in his  remarks to the meeting,  emphasized that the success of the program  would demonstrate the commitment and capacity of the African people in implementing projects that could improve their living conditions. He stated that UN-HABITAT will coordinate the capacity building with the implementation of other components of the program.  He expressed the need for urban planning to be included as key activity to ensure that the infrastructure works were well integrated into the long term development of the towns.

Dr. Canisius Kanangire, Executive Secretary, Lake Victoria Basin Commission underscored that the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Phase II is a unique program in view of the partnership and countries involved and it would require a coherent team approach to deliver the results in time and improve the livelihoods of the communities. He thanked AfDB for providing the funding in the form of a Grant and also expressed his appreciation to the Partner States of the EAC for  providing counterpart funding.

Mr. Robert Goodwin, Chief, Lake Victoria Section, Water, Sanitation and Infrastructure Branch, UN-HABITAT, noted that Training and Capacity Building, to be provided by UN-HABITAT  will be done through advisory services, workshops, hands-on training and the twinning of utilities and towns. These activities  will be conducted regionally, nationally, at town level and at community level.  He outlined the roles and responsibilities of UN-HABITAT and reported that the rapid appraisals in the towns have already started. He clarified that the activities will be integrated with the delivery of infrastructure and the approach would be fully participatory.

The meeting concluded by urging all Partner States to ensure that the pre-conditions for the AfDB Grant are met by July 6th, 2011  so that implementation can commence in August. The Members of the Committee agreed that they would work together to make sure that the program is implemented on time and that the benefits of in improving water and sanitation conditions in the 15 towns are fully achieved.