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Health & Fitness

Good progress in funding of water and sanitation

Water
Water is another quick and simple win for President Uhuru's legacy. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) six champions availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, through equity and equality, with a special focus on women and girls. The secretariat notes that, "Achieving universal access to even basic sanitation service by 2030 would require doubling the current annual rate of progress." It is advocating for more efficient use and management of water resources.

Kenya's Environmental Sanitation and Hygiene policy 2016–2030 lays down a series of objectives in regards to the target. Read alongside global SDG recommendations, it outlines the policy implementation framework.

Though not part of the presidential "legacy" projects, access to clean water could actually be the most visible legacy project to many Kenyans' lives. Not everyone benefits from tarmacked roads or affordable housing, especially for rural dwellers.

According to the 2014 KDHS, water safety, source of water and time to get it displays huge disparities between rural and urban areas, highlighting that unless accelerated action is taken, we may miss the 2030 SDG targets.

Only a paltry 23 percent of rural households had piped water in the homesteads. For urbanites, it is 46 percent. As a traditional African society, women and girls still walk miles to fetch water for families. About 64.2 percent of adult females and 2.7 percent of female children are tasked with fetching water. Four in 10 rural households spent 30 minutes or more in a single water fetching trip. In urban areas, this is 1 in 10. Depending on the size of the household, three trips a day could be spent by females on this task, showing why the clarion for SDG six must be picked by women leaders.

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This years' budgetary allocation to water services is arguably the largest, and hopefully has concrete plans towards rectifying our pitiful statistics in access to water. As reported in billions, Water & Sewerage Infrastructure will take Sh42.6 billion, Water Resource Management - Sh10.9 billion, Forests & Water Tower Conservation -Sh10.9 billion, Wildlife Conservation & Management -(Sh10.8 billion) and Sh8.1billion for Water Storage & Flood Control.

But our water agencies are bedevilled with perennial corruption scandals. From construction of dams, shady contracting of infrastructure projects, inflated procurement, bloated parallel government agencies and archaic implementation strategies in the no less than eight water agencies.

To fix this, women leaders and public health officers appointments to the water agencies as well as citizens' demand for access to safe water for all families is needed. The Presidential Delivery Unit should take it upon itself to let us know how many new households got access to water and where, just like the last mile rural electrification project as well as casting light on corruption in the sector.

Water is another quick and simple win for President Uhuru's legacy.

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