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USAID West Africa Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Program (USAID WA-WASH) to launch its activities in West Africa

USAID West Africa Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Program (USAID WA-WASH) launched its activities Monday July 16, 2012 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The launching ceremony was presided by the US Ambassador to Burkina Faso, His Excellency Mr. Thomas Dougherty. Among the guests of this important event, were Mr. Abdoulaye Combari, the burkinabè Junior Minister in charge of Agriculture, Mr. Constant Ouédraogo, the Head of the Cabinet of the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, members of the diplomatic corps, parliamentarians and many other guests, including representatives of various organizations, partners, NGOs, academic institutions, private sector, US projects, governors of regions, and mayors.

The USAID WA-WASH Program is funded by the US Agency for International Development for a cost of $29 million of which $24 million are dedicated to WASH activities; $1 million to Food Security, and $4 million to Climate Change. The primary goal of this four year (2011-2015) Program is to increase sustainable access to safe water and sanitation and improve hygiene in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Niger. It is implemented under the leadership of the Global Water for Sustainability (GLOWS), at Florida International University in partnership with ten other institutions, which are: BPD, CARE, FIU, IRC, IWA, RAIN, Skat Foundation, UNESCO-IHE, WaterAid and Winrock International.

In his remarks, Dr. Lakhdar Boukerrou, Regional Director of USAID WA-WASH thanked the guests and presented the Program. He stated that insufficient and inadequate access to water and sanitation services has enormous health, economic and social consequences on populations’ living condition, notably the poor. Besides problems related to water sanitation and hygiene, the four beneficiary countries, are also experiencing food shortages. Accentuated by Climate change, the region is experiencing floods and persistent droughts which impact the environment and the live hood of many.

For those reasons, USAID WA-WASH Program will put at the disposal of populations innovative technologies at low costs and financing mechanisms based on micro-savings and micro-credits initiatives in order to equip rural households with adequate water supply systems and enhance the promotion of Multiple Use Service of water.

The US Ambassador, Thomas Dougherty, stressed that the US government recognizes the crucial importance of access to water, sanitation and hygiene. In that respect, President Barrack Obama is engaged to concentrate an important share of American aid to the development of Africa in the fields of public health, food security, and the reduction of the impacts of climate change. The American diplomat, noted “we are proud to work in partnership with Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Niger”.

The two representatives of the Burkinabe Government mentioned the pertinence of USAID WA-WASH Program activities.  They confirmed that the objectives of the Program are in line with the concerns of the Burkinabe Government regarding the access to water, sanitation and hygiene, and the adaptation to climate change. They also stressed that the Program comes at the time when food security is becoming a major issue in the region. On behalf of the Government of Burkina Faso and the people of the beneficiary countries, Mr. Abdoulaye Combari, Junior Ministry in Charge of Agriculture thanked USAID and the American people for the inestimable support.