Improving water supply and sanitation
Title: Broad-scale supply of drinking water and sanitation in the Dem-ocratic Republic of the Congo
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Lead executing agency: Government of Kasaï Oriental Province
Overall term: 2019 to 2021
Just half of the people living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) have access to drinking water. Less than one quarter of the population have access to basic sanitation facilities, meaning that most people have neither access to latrines nor the opportunity to wash their hands. This makes DR Congo one of the world’s bottom three countries in terms of access to drinking water and sanitation. This situation is compounded by strong population growth. Moreover, uncontrolled urbani-sation is leading to huge health problems. Infectious diseases such as cholera often spread epidemi-cally. Both the political situation and the humanitarian situation in the country are extremely tense. For 20 years now, DR Congo has been experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises worldwide. More than 77 per cent of the population live in absolute poverty, meaning that they have less than 1.90 US dollars available to them per day.
According to the Congolese Government’s national drinking water policy, the provincial regions are responsible for the water supply. The governments in the provinces are not yet able to deal with this task. Moreover, there is a lack of well-trained managers and skilled professionals in the water and sanitation sector who can reliably perform management and technical tasks. REGIDESO SA is the main private urban operator of drinking water facilities in the country. Due to a lack of efficiency, it is not yet able to ensure the necessary supply for the population without cooperation with other stake-holders.
The availability of hygienically safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation facilities for urban households in poor areas has improved.
Various stakeholders are involved in the project. It trains and advises employees of the water supplier on technical and organisational issues, placing particular emphasis on a more efficient operating structure and improved operational management. To supplement this, it plans to establish decentralised structures in the provinces and communities, and make existing structures more efficient. In this respect, the project operates in the regions of Bandundu, Equateur and Kasaï. It is supporting the structures in performing their tasks to ensure, steer and monitor the drinking water supply and sanitation facilities. Both the quantity and quality of the drinking water provided need to increase so that people have access to safe drinking water at all times at a fair price.
The project is holding individual training courses for the stakeholders and advising them on organisation and process design. Steps are also being taken to sensitise them towards the active participation of women in decision-making processes. All measures have the aim of improving planning, steering and management processes.
The work is based on a human resources development study that was drawn up in a previous project. This study provided the impetus at REGIDESO SA for the adaptation of its structural and procedural organisation that is currently under way.
- Drinking water quality and hygienic safety have also improved thanks to the technical advisory services.
- The responsibilities in the provinces and regions have been reorganised based on the national drinking water policy. For this purpose, implementation regulations have been developed for the decentralisation of responsibility in the area of drinking water and sanitation facilities.
- An estimated 2.2 million people are benefiting from an overall improvement in the health situation resulting from improved drinking water supply and sanitation.