UN-HABITAT extends support of water provision to 15 new cities in Eastern AfricaUN-HABITAT announced Friday it will be expanding its successful Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative to fifteen more cities in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, with support of US$4.2 million from the African Development Bank.

The announcement came during a visit to the sites by key international government representatives to see first-hand the work in Kenya's Kisumu, Bondo and Homa Bay municipalities in the West of the country.

Speaking during the visit, UN Undersecretary General and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Dr Joan Clos said: "With support of our donors and partners, we are excited to be able to expand our invaluable work in water and sanitation provision in this region. The lake provides a livelihood for nearly one-third of the populations of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania combined and the majority of these people are living without adequate water and sanitation. By providing these basic services we are paving the way for improved health and faster development in the region."

Lake Victoria provides livelihoods for around 30 million people in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. It is estimated that more than half of these people live below the poverty line. The rapidly growing urban centres in the Lake Victoria basin are playing an increasingly important role in the economic development of the region. However, the unplanned growth is having a serious impact on the already stressed ecosystem, threatening not only the environment but also the health and livelihoods of those that depend on the lake.

The Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative currently covers eleven cities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The expansion into Phase II will mean that water and sanitation provision is extended to nearly one million. With funds from the African Development Bank, UN-HABITAT will support the project implementation by providing hygiene training in schools and other public institutions and by extending the capacity of facilities upgraded in Phase I of the initiative.