ARUSHA, Tanzania, February 17, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Phase two of the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation (LVWATSAN) Programme comes under scrutiny next week as Members of EALA visit the lakeside city of Kisumu to undertake an on-spot assessment exercise. The tour forms part of the oversight function of EALA on the implementation of the various programmes and projects of the EAC.
The on-spot assessment of the second phase of the project is to be carried out by EALA's Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources Committee and takes place on February 19-24, 2012. The assessment visit is called to appraise Members on the opportunities and challenges of the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Project. It further aims to collate information on facilities and infrastructure that are necessary for achieving the project objectives and to establish the impact of the water and sanitation Initiative on the communities around the region as a whole.
During the six day visit, the EALA Members shall also meet with key officials including paying a courtesy call on the Executive Secretary of Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) Dr. Canisius Kanangire. The delegation is also scheduled to meet with the Mayor of Kisumu, His Worship Sam Okello.
The Members will then visit the neighboring towns which are served by the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative to appreciate how the project is serving all the neighboring municipalities. Kericho and Isebania are some of the towns that shall benefit from the visit before the delegation heads to Kampala, Uganda for series of meetings. Members are expected to meet with the Minister for Water and Environment.
The Members shall as part of the Uganda tour also visit Buwama, Kayabwe and Bukakata clusters and wind up their tour by travelling to Mayuge in the Eastern part of Uganda.
This is the second visit by the legislators to the region. It follows the visit in 2009 where an assessment of the implementation of LVEMP II, an EAC project based in LVBC was carried. At that point, Members agreed to return to assess the EAC Water Sanitation, Sewage Project.
According to analysts, rapid urbanization is placing an enormous burden on the secondary towns around Lake Victoria and its associated catchment areas in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. This is becoming a critical issue as all countries strive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for water and sanitation. The formation of the East Africa Community (EAC)/ Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) gives a unique opportunity for these five countries to co-operate and share experiences as positive steps are taken towards extending access to safe water supplies, improved sanitation and hence improving the lake's eco-system.
Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation initiative (LVWATSAN) is one of a number of important Programs which are targeted at the promotion of regional cooperation, partnership-building, institutional and capacity enhancement, and a sense of joint ownership of the resources of the lake basin, all of which are central to the over-arching goal of managing the lake basin as a regional public good.
Phase I of the LVWATSAN program focused on 10 towns within the original EAC partner states of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, with the support of UN-HABITAT. The ten secondary towns included: Kisii, Homa Bay and Bondo in Kenya, Nyendo/Ssenyange, Bugembe and Kyotera in Uganda, Bukoba, Bunda and Muleba in Tanzania, and the border town of Mutukula. With the Republic of Burundi and Rwanda joining of the EAC, the second phase was expanded to cover 15 towns, three from each of the five Partner States.
The activities of the Phase II Program are being undertaken in the following focal towns in the Partner States: Burundi: Ngozi, Muyinga and Kayanza; Kenya: Keroka, Kericho and Isebania; Rwanda: Kayonza, Nyagatare and Nyanza; Tanzania: Geita, Sengerema and Nansio and; in Uganda: Mayuge, Buwama-Kayabwe-Bukakata and Ntungamo. The investment plan preparation for the 15 secondary towns was supported by the African Water Facility (AWF) of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), which has culminated in the support by Fund (AfDB) for the physical implementation of the second phase of LVWATSAN program. The Program that is expected to run up to 2015 is envisaged to be expanded to other towns in the basin in the subsequent phases.
From this assessment, the Committee will take stock of the observations and recommendations to report back to EALA.