The United States and Côte d’Ivoire Launch “MuniWASH” Program to Improve Access to Potable Water and Sanitation
On December 8, 2020, Ivoirian interim Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization Vagondo Diomandé and U.S. Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire Richard Bell launched the Municipal Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene activity (MuniWASH), a U.S. government-funded regional assistance program to improve access to potable water and sanitation services to residents of Côte d’Ivoire and Benin. MuniWASH activities, funded through the United States Agency for International Development Agency (USAID), will benefit residents of eight Ivoirian cities in support of Côte d’Ivoire’s goal of reaching 100 percent water and sanitation coverage by 2030. Minister of Cleanliness and Sanitation Anne Désirée Ouloto, Minister of Hydraulics Laurent Tchagba, and USAID Country Representative Dr. Nancy Lowenthal also attended the launch event in Abidjan, with USAID West Africa Regional Mission Director Daniel Moore attending virtually.
MuniWASH is a five-year, $13 million USAID regional assistance program with approximately $7 million anticipated for activities in Côte d’Ivoire. The project will provide technical assistance to eight Ivoirian municipalities – Abengourou, Abobo, Bouaké, Gagnoa, San Pedro, Soubré, Yamoussoukro, and Yopougon – to develop water, sanitation, and hygiene services that more sustainably meet the essential needs of poor and underserved populations living in urban and peri-urban areas. At the launch ceremony, the mayor of each of the eight benefiting cities signed a Memorandum of Understanding with implementing partner TetraTech outlining the terms of the project.
According to Ambassador Bell, MuniWASH demonstrates the U.S. political consensus that the most precious asset of any country is its people. “MuniWASH supports Côte d’Ivoire’s ambitious program to expand water access to all Ivoirians over the next ten years,” Bell stated. “The United States will continue to support Ivoirian efforts that strengthen systems and promote good governance and partnership between our two countries.”
“This project demonstrates the cooperation between the Ivoirian State, municipalities, and development partners. It is part of the social policy of the government, which declared 2020 to be the year of promoting access to basic social services for the population,” declared Minister Vagondo Diomandé, who is also Minister of Security and Civil Protection.
According to the World Health Organization’s 2019 Report on the Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene, 20 percent of Ivoirians lack reliable access to potable water and 65 percent of Ivoirians lack access to adequate sanitation services.