Water and Environment Sanitation (WES) Network members held demonstrations at Parliament on Friday, demanding government to increase funding for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to 10% of the national budget.
The demonstrators delivered a petition to the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources, Energy and Mining and Climate Change.
Speaking with reporters, National Coordinator for WES Network Willies Mwandira said government should continue to increase funding for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene to reach 10% of the national budget and towards 1.5 percent of the GDP.
He further said that they also want government to institute a stand-alone Ministry for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene to ensure requisite sector leadership, institutional capacity and the proper allocation of finances to WASH.
According to Mwandira, WES believes a ministry will also provide mechanism for easily measuring national progress towards Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDG) 4 targets.
He went on to say that as stakeholders and experts in Water and Sanitation Hygiene sector they feel that WASH sector has not been given the kind of prioritization it deserves especially from the government.
“Malawi government should repair all non-functional boreholes fitted with hand-pumps in rural districts using data from districts water development offices as informed by the most recent water points exercise supported by m-Water,” said Mwandira.
He also said that government should allow different players to contribute towards water projects in the country.
In his response, Chairperson for Natural Resources, Energy and Mining and Climate Change Werani Chilenga said that the petition is genuine and it has got issues that the committee fully agrees.
Chilenga added Malawi is lagging behind on issues of water as such there is indeed a need to institute ministry of water to look into the issues instead of running to different ministries.
He also supported the proposal to come up with long term projects for water that can be beneficial.
He then assured the petitioners that the petition will be presented to the Speaker of Parliament to make a decision and if it will be referred to their committee they will provide feedback in the next sitting.