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Sh300 for sanitation projects countrywide

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18 – The Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF) on Friday released contracts worth over Sh300 million in aid of 30 water projects and four sanitation projects across the country, with the Rift Valley region getting the highest allocation.

The provision which comes under the 3rd call for proposals is expected to benefit 170,000 Kenyans living in informal settlements countrywide.

The Fund\’s chairman Charles Nzioka said that the first two calls for proposals -made between 2009 and 2010- saw close to half a million Kenyans access safe water and sanitation facilities.

"Today we are going to sign 30 water projects and four sanitation/sewerage projects but people don\’t like getting into sewerage which is a challenge. We need to have more of these projects," he said.

Prof Nzioka further challenged the beneficiaries of the allocation to ensure that they implemented their projects on time.  He argued that the projects would only be beneficial if they were implemented fully.

"Sometimes the challenge is not writing a good proposal; the challenge is implementing.  Some of the best proposals are written by very lazy people but they have ideas. I mean there are people who can conceptually come up with very good ideas," he said.

WSTF Chief Executive Officer, Jacqueline Musyoki, added that the fourth call for proposals would be made in April. She asked water service providers, who had been successful in securing allocations in the previous calls but whose projects were pending, to complete them before then.

Each provider who qualifies for the allocation gets a six month time line to undertake his project.

"That\’s why I\’m saying it\’s only a water kiosk so the providers should be able to implement their projects faster and they should not say that they were unable to implement them in six months. They can only get more money if they play their part," she said.

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The projects are financed by the European Union (EU) whose contribution stands at Sh1 billion and the Government of Germany who have allocated Sh550 million. The German government has also set aside Sh1.2 billion for the next phase.

Sanne Williams who was representing the EU asked water service providers, who had so far received allocations, to manage their water points. She also lauded the progress that had been achieved so far.

"Without the water companies and the Trust Fund nothing would happen in this field. The living conditions in most of the areas we target are not the best but what we are doing will improve the lives of many Kenyans," she said.

The German government was represented by Florian Rabe who singled out Rift Valley and Tanathi as the best performing regions.

Ms Musyoki further said the concept would help Kenya meet her Millennium Development Goals. The Fund hopes to have helped two million Kenyans access safe water and sanitation facilities by the year 2013.

She however added that securing land for the projects remained a big challenge.

"You know every little space is occupied and getting back that land or securing another piece of land is not easy," she explained.

To access the allocation, water service providers from across the country write proposals on water and sanitation projects they intend to undertake in informal settlements. The monies are released once the proposals are approved.

The first call was a pilot, and nine projects around the Lake Victoria basin were undertaken. The total cost was approximately Sh66 million and about 150,000 people benefited. The second call saw 36 projects across the country undertaken at a cost of approximately Sh250 million.

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