AfDB approves US $22-million grant to break “triangle of thirst” in West Kordofan, Sudan

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) on Wednesday, September 9 committed a grant of US $22-million to finance water and sanitation facilities in the West Kordofan State of Sudan and a country-wide Institutional Capacity Development Program.

More than 130,000 people (69,000 women) in the rural areas of West Kordofan State are targeted beneficiaries. Water supply points will also benefit approximately 730,000 heads of livestock. 

The Water Sector Reforms and Institutional Capacity Development Program targets all 18 states of the Republic of the Sudan and will kick off in January 2016 for implementation spanning a four and a half years. It will focus on building a resilient and sustainable water and sanitation sector that meets the needs of all users or beneficiaries in Sudan, and in particular West Kordofan State. In this regard, the program is expected to enhance peace-building, improve livelihoods and build resilience against climate variability and change in the country.

Women and youth in the program areas will benefit from the provision of livelihood interventions. The AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, who chaired the Board meeting in which the grant was approved, said that “up to 30% of girls stop going to school, essentially to help their families with water chores. This has to stop.” 

Water and sanitation access in West Kordofan State, currently estimated at 60% and 23%, respectively, are far below national averages of 71% and 35%. Per capital average water consumption stands at about 10 liters per day; with the population in some northern parts of the state surviving on less than three liters a day.

The AfDB will finance the program with a grant of US $21.06 million from its Transition Support Facility (TSF) and a US $0.90-million Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative Trust Fund (RWSSI-TF) grant. 

According to Mohamed El Azizi, Director of the AfDB Water and Sanitation Department, “The overarching aim of the program is to provide improved water supply and sanitation facilities for the region’s resilience and stability. It will focus on gaining in efficiency of the water and sanitation sector and on capacity development for federal and state staff and beneficiary communities”. 

The AfDB Board commended the program for its focus on climate change resilience, gender and inclusivity while advising the team to pay particular attention to coordination and sustainability. AfDB President Adesina called for the “swift implementation of the program to serve the people who are suffering on the ground”. The program is in line with the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy to promote inclusive growth, achieve social stability and help the country to acquire human and institutional capacity required to transition from fragility and build resilience in the face of increasing climate risks.