EAC officials visit sanitation project sites
East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 4th October 2021: East African Community officials led by the Deputy Secretary General Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, have started an inspection tour of sites where the EAC in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is implementing a project on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
The project that aims at strengthening the capacity of Partner States to prevent and address infectious diseases in the region is expected to reach more than 1 million people with health and hygiene promotion initiatives. Around 19 handwashing facilities will be installed at selected sites by the time the project is completed in January 2022.
The tour is done before WASH facilities are constructed to ensure proper location, sustainability and adequacy. The officials are visiting the proposed project sites at border areas in the six Partner States of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda.
The first round of visits started at Namanga on the Kenya/Tanzania border, followed by Mutukula on the Tanzania/Uganda border. Others were Nemba/Gasenyi on the border of Burundi and Rwanda, Kobero on the Burundi/Tanzania border; Rubavu and Musanze districts in Rwanda.
The delegations that included representatives of the EAC, IOM and government officials who are the national focal points for the project, held meetings with area political and government leaders and officials from the various government agencies at the respective border posts.
Funds for the Programme totaling EUR 1.5 million have been provided by the German Government through the Support to Pandemic Preparedness (PanPrep) Project, which is implemented through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
On 7th September 2021, a mission led by the EAC Director of Productive Sectors, Dr Jean Baptiste Havugimana and Dr Qasim Sufi, IOM Chief of Mission in Tanzania, was met at the Kenya/Tanzania Namanga One Stop Border Post by the chair of the Joint Border Management Committee, Joseph Moywaywa.
They discussed issues related to the implementation of the project during a meeting that included other officials from EAC, IOM, WASH project national focal points and other Joint Border Management Committee representatives. They then conducted a tour of the area to identify the most suitable location for the installation of handwashing facilities.
The team settled on the front entrance of the OSBP main building as the most ideal location for the handwashing facilities. This location was chosen because it would ensure maximum utility as it is accessible to both passengers and truck drivers.
At Mutukula One Stop Border Post, the team comprising EAC, IOC representatives and other project stakeholders was received by the border authorities in both Tanzania and Uganda sides on 10th September 2021. The Mayor, David Mujaasi received the team for Uganda side. The team visited the proposed site for the handwashing facility at the entrance from Tanzania to Uganda. They agreed that the site was ideal for the purpose. Similar visits to Gasenyi/Nemba and Kobero points of entry took place on 10th and 13th September 2021 respectively.
Handwashing facilities already exist at Grande Barriere, Petite Barrierre, Bungangari market, Muhoza and Cyuve. However, the team led by DSG Bazivamo saw the need for more facilities at locations that guarantee access for more people, children and people with disability.
“Despite considerable efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic some gaps still need to be addressed, such as inadequate or non-existing Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) infrastructure and lack of facilities for children and disabled populations. Others are absence of billboards to convey messages to communities and the need for more health promotion and awareness activities,” said the DSG. Bazivamo.
He emphasized the importance of the project that adds on to existing efforts and is suited to fill in the identified gaps. This, he said, will enable safe movement across borders and improve trade as well as migration within the region. He urged local authorities to take ownership of the project to ensure timely delivery without compromise of quality.
Welcoming the EAC and IOM delegation in Rubavu District, the Governor of Western Province, François Habitegeko said the project was in line with efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic through WASH facilities in his province. Grande Barriere, Petite Barrierre, Bungangari market sites are in Rubavu District, where the team visited on 13th September 2021.
In Musanze, the delegation visited the Muhoza and Cyuve sectors on 14th September 2021. The Governor of the Northern Province, Dancilla Nyirarugero, gave a short presentation on efforts to fight COVID-19 that also include WASH initiatives. She mentioned other initiatives as having volunteers to mobilize community members to monitor COVID-19 preventive behaviors and home-based care provided by neighbors of those with no relatives to support them.
The IOM Deputy Chief of Mission, Erika De Bona Fofana, thanked EAC for selecting IOM as implementing partner. She affirmed IOM’s commitment to ensure a successful implementation of the project. Similar visits will be conducted to the remaining sites.