The west African country with the help of global organizations is making a brave attempt to meet the challenge of meeting the 2030 target of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)
ThE World Bank has approved an ambitious plan worth Euro 206.7 million which will help 1.1 million with improved water supply and 1.3 million people with improved sanitation services. It has been aptly named The Water Supply and Sanitation Programme-for-results (PforR). According to Checik Kante, World Bank Country Manager for Burkina Faso, “Through its innovative design the Programme will leverage private finance for the water supply and sanitation sector, through the built-in incentives it plans to provide for improved sustainability of service delivery, including in terms of operation and maintenance of assets, cost-recovery, and human capital strengthening.” In 2015, before the elections that brought in the new government, the parliament of Burkina Faso passed a constitutional amendment, with Article 18 reading “education, safe water and sanitation, education, training, social security, housing, energy, sport, health leisure, maternity and child protection and artistic and scientific creation are recognised as social and cultural rights under the Constitution which shall aim to uphold them.”
In Burkina Faso in 2017, 9.3 million people out of a population of 18.5 million were still defecating in the open, 70 per cent of hospital beds are occupied by people who suffer from diseases caused by bad sanitation, and 4.8 million women face hazards of relieving themselves in the bush.
To meet this challenge, International Red Cross Burkina Faso I collaboration with the General Directorate of Sanitation of the Ministry for Water and Sanitation has launched the campaign ‘Fasotoilettes’ to mobilize people in the country to join in the movement to build toilets. Burkina Faso singer Sana Bob, who is the artistic ambassador for the campaign, said, “we cannot beg for food, and then beg for toilets. Where is our dignity as Burkinabe citizens?” First Lady Sika Kabore at the launch of the campaign said, “I am deeply disturbed when I think of all the women who will have to wait until nightfall to do what is ultimately natural…As such, I would like to urge you all to show a great wave of solidarity that will go down in the history of our country through the construction of toilets for our friends and family, and everywhere there are people dwelling.”It was found that in 2015, only seven per cent of the rural population, which is more than 60 per cent of the total inhabitants had access to “improved household sanitation” according to a research study published in the journal, Science of the Total Environment. The study quotes World Bank’s Economics of Sanitation Initiative, poor hygiene and sanitation result in 20,000 premature deaths every year. Ecological sanitation or “ecosan” has been adopted in Burkina Faso since 2002, and it is reckoned that 11,000 ecosan household toilets have been constructed. There is no reliable information however as to how many of them are used on a sustained basis. It is accepted the ecosan helps in extracting useful nutrients from excreta and used as inputs in agriculture which would boost food production. One of the devices used in ecosan is a “double vault urine-diverting dry toilet”. It has a “separate washing area next to the toilet that drains separately”.
This west African country is trying to reach the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of improved access to safe water and adequate sanitation service through a multi-pronged and with the help of international organizations like the United Nations International Emergency Fund (Unicef), World Bank, and many donor agencies, governmental as well as non-governmental, to support the efforts.
There is also political commitment in Burkina Faso to improve the water and sanitation situation in the country. President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of the People’s Movement for Progress, who had won the election at the end of 2015, had made a commitment to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 which says: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by 2030. It has been found that in many countries, including Burkina Faso, many countries have been able to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of providing safe drinking ater but could not provide adequate sanitation.
The other challenge that Burkina Faso faces is the rural-urban challenge.
The rapid urbanization poses challenges of its own. Government appears to be in a position to offer better water and sanitation infrastructure in the urban areas, though a large section of poor in the urban slums are deprived of it, the neglect of the rural areas is greater and starker. It has been found that compared to the proportion of urban population that has access to water and sanitation networks, the proportion of rural population with access to these amenities is far less. The population is growing at 3.1 per cent annually, straining the limited water resources in the country despite an annual economic growth of 5.1 per cent.
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