CRIDF recently completed the first phase of a transboundary project to improve water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in Kasumbalesa border towns along the Copper Belt Transport Corridor, straddling Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In this first phase – a scoping assessment – CRIDF analysed data provided by the German development agency GIZ in order to provide a gap analysis of the information. To do this, CRIDF assessed the water resource, water supply, sanitation, environmental, institutional, social and economic status of the towns, and the likely cost of proposed project interventions.
The Kasumbalesa Border Post (BP) WASH project is part of the CRIDF II Border Towns Trans-Boundary Water and Sanitation Programme. This programme builds on the CRIDF I Zambia Border Towns Programme which consists of selected projects from the ‘Zambian 12 Border Towns’ programme prioritised by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The Kasumbalesa BP WASH project complements SADC initiatives on the development of transport corridors and one-stop border posts by providing climate resilient infrastructure to guarantee access to safe and sustainable water supply and sanitation services to increasing populations in the border towns.
Key challenges include, but are not limited to: unreliable raw water sourced from boreholes which may be susceptible to faecal and hazardous waste contamination; a water supply mechanism that poses a high risk of waterborne disease outbreak as the area does not have a fully reticulated sewerage network; a water supply that is inadequate for meeting the demands of a rapidly increasing population; and gender inequalities and discrimination of vulnerable groups.
As a transboundary, pro-poor, climate resilient, and gender and social inclusion initiative, the Kasumbalesa BP WASH project encapsulates the objectives of CRIDF. The Facility is therefore well placed to move the project forward in both Kasumbalesa (DRC) and Kasumbalesa (Zambia), starting with the scoping study just completed.
The next stage of the Kasumbalesa project is to undertake detailed assessments during feasibility studies to address the challenges. CRIDF has already initiated this process with site visits to both Zambia and the DRC in November 2018. These visits have enabled the CRIDF team to verify data analysed in the scoping study and to engage with stakeholders such as the DRC water utility (REGIDESO), the Zambia water utility (the Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company), non-governmental organisations and communities (e.g. truck drivers, hospital employees and representatives of Konkola Copper Mines). The completion of these site visits means that CRIDF II activities have now commenced without incident in the DRC – a country that was added to the CRIDF II contract.