Zambia has one of the fastest growing populations in the world.
Nearly half the population live in urban areas and this is expected to grow. Most low-income families in major towns and cities still rely on privately-owned boreholes, where water is expensive and often contaminated with raw sewage.
Access to improved sanitation in the capital city Lusaka has fallen over the last 15 years, and nearly half the population has no access at all. At least 65% of people live in low-income communities, also known as peri-urban areas, which usually lack sewers. This means they need to use on-site sanitation services such as pit latrines and septic tanks instead, which can contaminate nearby water supplies. This has a huge impact on the lowest-income urban communities which are regularly struck in times of cholera outbreaks.
What are we doing to help?
We work in Zambia with water companies, service providers and governing bodies to improve access to safe water and sanitation for urban communities.
Where we work in Zambia
In Lusaka we’re increasing the capacity of the city’s water utility, the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC), to manage water and sanitation services for low-income residents. Through this, water supply networks have been extended in many low-income communities including Chainda, Chazanga, Bauleni, Linda, Kanyama, Mtendere East and Msisi. We’ve achieved this by supporting the transformation of LWSC’s business model to include the community-based management of water supplies in each district.
In Kanyama and Chazanga in particular, we’ve provided technical assistance to LWSC to develop business models that are designed to be managed by community-based water trusts, and are economically and environmentally sustainable. With LWSC providing the overall management, these community-based models are promoting the uptake of services in low-income communities.
The toilet facilities provided with funding from USAID are educational as they will teach pupils how to use such facilities, since most pupils do not have them in their homes. The facilities will also show the children that there is another side of life.
Key activities in Zambia
Our goal is to mobilise more resources that will benefit residents in the lowest-income urban areas. This includes public and private investment and improving the targeting and effectiveness of large-scale investment by international organisations. We’re currently working with LWSC on the Lusaka Sanitation Programme, a US $180 million investment financed by the World Bank and the African Development Bank. This is one of the first steps towards implementing the Lusaka Sanitation Master Plan which aims to provide city-wide sanitation services by 2035.
Our work already shows that financially viable approaches, for example our partnership to improve the collection and treatment of waste from pit latrines, can be scaled up and incorporated into major investment programmes that benefit large numbers of low-income residents in the city.
Improving the capacity of utilities
While our work in Zambia is currently concentrated in Lusaka, we also work in towns in the Copperbelt Province and plan to expand to Livingstone in the south of the country. In every urban area we’ve worked in we’ve developed strong relationships with the local utilities, including Lusaka, Mulonga Kafubu, Nkana and Southern. We work with them to build local capacity, improve business models and ensure the lower-income urban populations are targeted for improved services.
Improving sanitation service delivery to low-income customers
We’re working with LWSC and community-based water trusts to improve the delivery of sanitation services. This includes assessing the series of activities needed to manage faecal sludge, also known as the ‘sanitation chain’. We’re testing models which, when proved viable, can be scaled up to deliver safe sanitation to the lowest-income districts in Lusaka.
Through this partnership we’ve been able to implement innovations and approaches making LWSC a pace-setter in service provision to the peri-urban areas.
To find out how you can support our work in Zambia, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +44 (0)20 7822 1867.