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UK to Invest 8.5m pounds in water sector

October 28, 2016 By Emmanuel Okyne (Intern)

British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Guy Warrington, yesterday disclosed that the United Kingdom government would invest 8.5 million pounds in the water sector, which is equivalent to USD$10.4 million.

He made the above disclosure at the launch of a borehole and toilet facility at the Brama community in Newton, outside Freetown, stating that more than 150,000 people would benefit from improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) under the government of Sierra Leone, through UNICEF, with funds from UK aid.

Mr. Warrington said the project was in line with the President’s Recovery Priorities, adding that it would improve on vital sanitation and hygiene practices in eight target districts.

He said a total of 504 water points would be constructed and rehabilitated in schools, communities and health facilities, noting that the goal was to reduce the number of deaths from water borne diseases, including cholera and diarrhea.

“In Sierra Leone, 63 percent of households have access to safe drinking water sources, 13 percent have access to improved sanitation facilities, while only 22.9 percent of primary schools have access to functional safe drinking water sources at school premises. In rural areas, only 48 percent have access to improved sanitation facilities,” he said.

He maintained that poor hygiene and sanitation have direct linkage to three leading causes of under-five mortality – malaria, respiratory and diarrhea diseases – and that handwashing during pre-Ebola period was less prevalent, with not more than 20 percent adherents, but improved greatly during the Ebola response period.

Deputy Country Representative of UNICEF, Sandra Latouff, said the project would benefit 348 pupils in the Rural Education Committee Schools (REC), targeting a further 180 primary schools in the priority areas.

Madam Latouff appealed to teachers and pupils to take good care of the facilities as that would improve their lives, noting that they should take ownership of the project, which is part of the President’s 6-9 months recovery plan.

Minister of Water Resources, Momodu Maligi, said the project would target vulnerable communities and ensure sustainable access to basic sanitation that would save lives.

He cautioned community people to make good use of the facilities, adding that the resources used to implement such project was British tax payers’ money.

Country Director, Living Water International Sierra Leone, Hastings Banda, said the day was a remarkable one for community members, adding that his organisation had rehabilitated over 250 wells since they began operations in 2008.

He said since 2015, they had been working with UNICEF to implement the President’s Recovery Priorities projects.

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