In the regional context, Zambia is an economically and politically stable country. Zambia became independent from the United Kingdom in 1964. After turbulent decades marked by economic instability and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s, the country has experienced solid average economic growth of over 4 percent since 1990. Between 1990 and 2017, income per capita almost tripled, putting Zambia at the lower end of the middle-income bracket. This economic development is largely based on stable political conditions, sound domestic as well as financial policies and a high demand for copper, the country’s main export.
Nevertheless, the country still faces enormous economic and social challenges. Zambia ranks in the lower third of the Human Development Index (HDI), which is reflected by the fact that 60 percent of the population live below the poverty line. Zambia is one of the countries with the highest income inequality in the world.
Water and Sanitation Situation
Zambia has sufficient water resources to meet its needs compared to local standards. Nonetheless, more than a third of all Zambians do not have safe access to clean water and about half of the population is lacking access to basic sanitary facilities. Especially in fast-growing cities, where the local capacities are insufficient to absorb the rapid influx of people.
Human Development Index (HDI)
Rank 144 (Total 189)
36% without access to clean water
50% without access to sanitary facilities
4.1% (Top 20 of 189 countries)
Neighbourhoods with high density stress are created due to rapid migration to cities. In Zambia they are called compounds. They are characterised by inadequate infrastructure, great poverty, underdeveloped health and education systems as well as an informal economy. Infrastructure for drinking water, sewage, sanitation and drainage is also scarce.
ECONOMIC WATER SCARCITY
Thanks to comparatively large surface and groundwater volumes as well as high rainfall during the rainy season, Zambia has sufficient fresh water resources to meet its needs. However, these resources are not readily accessible due to missing or inadequate infrastructure as well as a lack of know-how and investments.
In the Zambian capital of Lusaka, the population has tripled since 1990 to more than 2.5 million. Many newcomers move to informal urban areas where water and sanitation services are hard to come by. Today, 65% of the population - more than the 10 largest Swiss cities combined - live in compounds. In these areas, the average daily income per capita is less than USD 1.90. Around 60% of the people have no secure access to urban drinking water supplies and even more live without a secure access to basic sanitation.
Population of Lusaka
1.6 million in compounds
60% without access to drinking water
90% without access to sanitary facilities
WfW kiosk in Misisi, Lusaka
Street scene in John Laing, Lusaka
The improvement of the water supply in fast-growing urban areas improves the lives of thousands of people. Our goals are based on this fundamental vision:
Creating and improving safe and affordable access to water for the poorest segments of the population
Sustainable strengthening of the local water sector through targeted measures
Supporting and connecting local actors and structures in a goal-oriented way in order to prevent parallel structures
A step by step approach is needed to reduce the time and distance required for water procurement. As a first step, our partners build public drinking water stations connected to the municipal water supply, so-called water kiosks. As a second step, connections can be installed in houses.
Residents of the project areas are involved in the process from the outset. This creates incentives for a sustainable use of the infrastructure and transfers responsibility to the population and local institutions.
WfW establishes long-term relationships with local partner organisations and provides them with organisational support. They are the main actors in implementation, building on the joint conceptual design of projects.
BUILDING LOCAL CAPACITY
Education in the water sector is promoted on a structural basis. Local capacities are strengthened in order to maintain and expand existing as well as future water supply systems.