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Clean water project launched

‘Mantoetse Maama

MASERU — The government of Lesotho in conjunction with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on Thursday launched an ambitious project that seeks to provide clean water and sanitation services to people in rural areas.

The project is part of the water sector projects that are being supported by the United States development agency.

At present only 52 percent of Lesotho’s rural population has access to functioning water systems with 34 percent having access to improved sanitation facilities.

This is however certain to change after the MCC said it would fund the construction of 250 water supply systems and up to 30 000 ventilated improved pit latrines in all the 10 districts of the country.

Speaking at a ceremony to launch the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Systems at Ha Makebe on Thursday, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili paid tribute to the US government saying the project marked “yet another milestone in our development co-operation with the American government”.

He said the government would work hard to ensure the funds provided for the project would be used to “benefit the people of Lesotho by changing their lives through economic growth”.

Mosisili said the water project will lift a huge burden from the shoulders of rural women who sometimes have to walk long distances to fetch water.

“Water collection in many villages is a gruesome activity and a huge burden on women and our young girls. They often have to queue up for long hours waiting for the water sources to collect enough water. 

“In many villages, having water in the house means walking long distances to fetch it.  It is activities like these that rob our young girls of the precious time for their school work and for some physical activities which are good for stimulating their brains,” Mosisili said.

The prime minister said the provision of reliable potable water was one of the basis for achieving the Vision 2020 goals and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“Expansion and rehabilitation of rural water supply and sanitation facilities, coupled with public health and hygiene awareness training for rural communities, support the goals of Lesotho’s poverty reduction strategy,” he said.

The MDGs are developmental goals agreed to by United Nations members to reduce poverty, reduce child mortality rates, fight Aids and pursue economic development by 2015.

US ambassador to Lesotho, Michele Bond, said the project will help at least 150 000 people get access to clean drinking water.

“Clean, accessible drinking water and sanitation facilities are one of the primary pillars of Millennium Development Goal Number Seven, which states: “Ensure environmental sustainability.” 

“By undertaking this rural water and sanitation project, the Kingdom of Lesotho is making significant progress toward achieving this important goal,” Bond said.

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