News / Africa

Switzerland Gives $6 Million for Water, Sanitation in Zimbabwe

Woman carries water collected from a broken main water supply pipe in Kambuzuma, Harare (2009 photo)Woman carries water collected from a broken main water supply pipe in Kambuzuma, Harare (2009 photo)
x
Woman carries water collected from a broken main water supply pipe in Kambuzuma, Harare (2009 photo)
Woman carries water collected from a broken main water supply pipe in Kambuzuma, Harare (2009 photo)
In Zimbabwe, the Swiss government has given $6 million to the U.N. Children's Fund to improve the country’s water and sanitation. The African country still has significant numbers of people sharing water sources with animals, and an even greater number who do not have access to a working bathroom.

In Zimbabwe’s capital, luxury cars of all models are seen in the streets.  But just outside the capital, there is poverty.  It gets worse in the rural areas where some people go their entire life without a decent water supply and have to mostly defecate in the open.

Zimbabwe water minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo sums up the situation in his country.

“Rural water supply and sanitation challenges are well documented.  We hope to reduce and ultimately eliminate the dehumanizing situation where rural dwellers have to share water sources with animals,” Nkomo said.

But he did not give a time frame for that improvement.

Nkomo spoke after Switzerland gave $6 million to UNICEF to improve Zimbabwe's rural water supply and sanitation.  But given that 75 percent of Zimbabwe’s rural population does not have access to clean water, that money may just be a figurative drop in the ocean.  

After its independence from Britain in 1980, Zimbabwe’s social-services sector became the envy of most developing countries.  But it did not last, notes Swiss ambassador to Zimbabwe Luciano Lavizzari.

“Unfortunately, all these successes dramatically collapsed within a decade and Zimbabwe became a case study of a nation that has reversed its gains in the water sector.  Currently we have a very poor situation, particularly in the country: 2.1-million people do not have access to improved drinking water sources ... and I have been told that one-third of the population practices open defecation.  This is of course a very difficult situation.” Lavizzari said.

The U.N. Children's Fund says the Swiss contribution will help about a half-million Zimbabweans get access to safe water and sanitation.

The UNICEF acting head in Zimbabwe, Marc Rubin, says this is important given Zimbabwe's vulnerability to waterborne diseases.

“In this country, we know too well the cost of not plugging access gaps in water and sanitation.  The 2008 cholera outbreak resulted in 98,000 cases and over 4,000 deaths.  Even more insidious is the price Zimbabwe pays as a result of diarrhea; over 3,000 deaths are attributed to the disease every year, making it one of the top 10 diseases affecting under-five [year-old] children," Marc said.

The UNICEF boss suggests Zimbabwe increase investment toward building a safe water supply and sanitation.  But without help from the international community, it is unclear where the country's cash-strapped government could find the money.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs