Zimbabwe, 14 July 2015 – The town of Bindura has become a shining example of the positive impact of improved access to safe water and sanitation services through the Urban Water and Sanitation Programmes.
With the assistance of funding from the Australian Government, which is managed by UNICEF, Bindura has managed to turn the fortunes of the town around since 2009, when most towns experienced the devastation of the cholera outbreak, the breakdown of infrastructure, and overall mismanagement. Five years later, Bindura has managed to build back better its water sanitation and hygiene services from a large infrastructural level, all the way down to the community level.
“What we have seen today is the culmination of the years of assistance from the Australian Government, through implementing partners,” said Australian Ambassador, Suzanne McCourt. “It is impressive to see the impact of this assistance, and how it has improved access to water and sanitation for the town of Bindura.”
UNICEF with funding from the Australian Government has been implementing the Emergency Rehabilitation and Risk Reduction WASH programme in several locations, including Bindura, since the cholera outbreak of 2008/9.
In February 2013, building this, Australia and UNICEF launched a new USD 30 million program to rehabilitate water and sanitation systems in 14 small towns in Zimbabwe, including Bindura. Over the total intervention period, the small town of Bindura has made tremendous strides in improving the general infrastructure of its water and sewage reticulation systems; upgraded its information technology and communications systems, which has resulted in an improved billing system, and subsequently, an increased flow of revenue into the town; and increased the knowledge of safer hygiene practices among members of the community, resulting in a greater sense of ownership at all levels of the community in ensuring that safer sanitation and hygiene is available to all.
“The impact of the assistance from the Australian Government is not just at an infrastructural level, but also in building the knowledge and the participation of the entire Bindura Community,” said UNICEF Representative, Reza Hossaini. “This is what will sustain the gains you have made.”
Since 2009, the Bindura Municipality Water Treatment Plant capacity has more than doubled from; waste management has increased from 3.6 tonnes a day, to 9.2 tonnes. Due to an provision of ICT equipment and billing software as well as training for staff, the billing system has improved, resulting in increased revenue collection from $1.5 million a year, to $3.2 million; new communication lines have been opened through toll free numbers, website, SMS and a complaints register; and community awareness has improved through active community health clubs and school health clubs.
“We are grateful for the assistance we have received so far from the Government of Australia,” said Bindura Town Clerk, Mr. Shanga Maresera. “A lot still needs to be done to maximize on our capacity to deliver maximum service for the town.”
Bindura is now working towards increasing the town’s capacity to ensure access to all members of the community. In all the 14 small towns that have benefitted from this contribution they have managed to reduce the burden of diahhoreal diseases, and improved the overall productivity of a combined target population of 350,000 which include women, children and the vulnerable.