By Tabora Bojang
The vice president Dr. Isatou Touray yesterday presided over the launch of D1.884 billion project to support the provision of sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation in rural and peri urban regions of The Gambia.
The “Climate Smart Rural Water Supply and Development project” a multi donor-funded project principally financed by the African Development Bank Group will be implemented in 140 rural and 4 peri urban communities across the five regions of the country.
VP Touray said the objective of this ‘life changing project’ is to improve the socio economic conditions of rural and peri urban populations, increase access to safe and sustainable water supply, access to improved sanitation services and facilities and improve hygiene practices in the country.
She said the implementation of the project would provide opportunities to adopt climate change mitigation and adaptation measures and vastly contribute to the attainment of key building blocks of the National Development Plan and the need to improve sanitation.
Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources James Gomez who was represented by the Minister of Health Dr. Ahmadou Samateh, said the project will directly benefit an estimated 200,000 rural and peri-urban Gambians, particularly women and children who are expected to live healthier lives and trek lesser distances to fetch water as well as address open defecation.
“An additional 300,000 people will benefit from the interventions in improved solid and liquid waste management in addition to the betterment of the rapidly deteriorating aquatic environment”
The minister disclosed that public and private sector institutions, including schools, health units, markets and small& micro-enterprises would also benefit.
According to him, the project would also create about 1550 jobs and provide aquatic resources management training for 500 individuals and enterprises.
“Another 400,000 urban and peri urban residents in Kanifing Municipal and Brikama Area Councils will be indirect beneficiaries of the improved environmental sanitation resulting from the interventions in waste management.”
The Gambia’s rural population constitutes about 60% of the national population, while about 1.2 million people have access to water supply only about 790,000 people have access to safe sanitation and the rest resort to unsafe sources for water supply.
The acting country manager of the African Development Bank Group based in Senegal Adam Amoumoun, hailed the excellent relations between the Bank and The Gambia government dating back to 1974.
The Bank is also co-financing the OMVG energy project that seeks to increase electricity access in the Gambia.
He disclosed that the Bank approved over 70 operations in the Gambia with a cumulative amount of $413 million, while pledging their continuous support for government’s pursued programmes.