Thursday, 1 July 2010

54,000 latrines a year to achieve the sanitation MDG in Burkina Faso!

Inna Guenda
WaterAid Burkina Faso

Inna took part in the coordination of the World's Longest Toilet Queue campaign in Burkina Faso - getting more than 8000 in line for sanitation and water! Here she shares results the outstanding of the campaign as the government launches a huge response initiative to the sanitation crisis...

On June 29, the Head of State in Burkina Faso launched the National Campaign of Advocacy and Mobilization for Access to Adequate Sanitation, a new initiative get the country’s response to the sanitation crisis back on track.

The initiative will take a multi-faceted approach – aiming to raise awareness, ensure adequate policy implementation and get the highest quality of latrine installed into homes. As the Minister in charge of water and sanitation reiterated, it is now the responsibility of anyone building a home to ensure good sanitation is present, meaning one house, one latrine. 324 000 latrines will be installed by 2015 throughout the country, meaning around 54,000 new latrines each year. This will improve on the shockingly low 13% coverage of sanitation in the country.

The opening ceremony enjoyed the presence of the highest authorities from across the country, including the Prime Minister and President. This is a very important detail – it shows that the issue of sanitation is at the heart of the government agenda and this new high level of commitment will help to address the once neglected issue of sanitation.

The Head of State said sanitation impacts many other sectors such as health, education and development and that he sees the new campaign as a method of reinforcing policy commitments, developing social mobilization and creating wider public support for sanitation for all.

Speaking on behalf of technical and financial partners in Water and sanitation, the European Union Representative said that "considering the growth of the population, the access to sanitation actually decreases each year." He welcomed the campaign and promised that donors will continue to support government efforts in sanitation sector.

The Minister in charge of water and sanitation announced that the government will increase its budget dedicated to sanitation to 2.5 billion CFA francs each year from 2011.

Civil society organisations said the campaign shows real evidence that the government is aware that sanitation is a cross-cutting issue and that its response to the crisis needs to be scaled up. Civil society in Burkina Faso has undertaken many actions to lobby for a greater government response, including the World’s Longest Toilet Queue in March on World Water Day, where 8000 people queued to make a stand for sanitation and water for all.

The World’s Longest Toilet Queue enjoyed a minister in attendance and also pushed the government to send a representative to the world’s first High-Level Meeting for Water and Sanitation in Washington DC in April, where firm commitments and actions were taken on the global crisis.

I see this new campaign from the government as a big achievement but we will undertake advocacy actions to follow up on government commitments and we encourage civil society organisations across the country to join us in these endeavours.

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