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FEATURE STORY October 24, 2018

Extending water supply and sanitation services to all

Burkina Faso is working toward achieving universal and equitable access to improved water supply and sanitation services. A major injection of IDA18 financing—$300 million—will boost ongoing efforts to improve service delivery and ensure efficient water resources management.

For 40 years, Rasmané Compaoré has lived in the same mud-brick house on the outskirts of Ouagadougou. His family had long been obliged to pay a daily fee to collect water from the communal standpipe a kilometer away.

“At the height of the drought, my children waited in line for water all day in vain, sometimes with several hundred others,” he says. But now in his yard, near the kitchen, stands a shiny brass faucet. At 82 years of age, Compaoré is finally living in a home with running water.

He is one of 50,000 customers who have signed up for a household water connection with Burkina Faso’s National Water and Sanitation Agency. It is part of an ambitious national plan to expand the water distribution network and improve management in urban areas—and it is one of many water and sanitation sector projects supported by the World Bank. Over the past two decades, the World Bank has worked with other development partners and mobilized more than $260 million in IDA and trust fund financing to bring improved water supply and sanitation services to over 1.7 million people in Burkina Faso.

Largest donor-financed operation

In June 2018, the World Bank boosted its support with the largest donor-financed operation in Burkina Faso’s history: the $300 million IDA-funded Water Supply and Sanitation Program for Results. It will benefit 1.1 million people with improved water supply and 1.3 million people with improved sanitation services.

To support more effective management and service delivery, the program will help strengthen the sector’s human capital. It will promote partnerships between government agencies, municipalities, universities, and research centers and support applied research and technical and vocational training, with special focus on opportunities for women.

“This innovative program will leverage finance for the water supply and sanitation sector through the built-in incentives it plans to provide for improved sustainability of service delivery, including operation and maintenance, cost recovery, and human capital strengthening,” explains Cheick Kanté, World Bank Country Manager for Burkina Faso.

Universal and equitable access

The program will contribute to fostering inclusion and shared prosperity in Burkina Faso by bringing water supply and sanitation services to urban and rural areas that are particularly lagging behind in terms of access.

Despite progress, only one in five people nationwide has access to an improved sanitation facility, and three out of four people defecate in the open. Public latrines in rural and urban areas are few and poorly maintained (if at all), leaving students at school, patients in health centers, and public market goers with no designated, sanitary place to relieve themselves.

Over a third of the rural population does not have access to an improved water source—one protected from outside contamination, particularly fecal matter. While the rate improves to over 90 percent in Burkina Faso’s cities, keeping up with rapid urbanization is difficult.

Achieving universal access to improved water supply and sanitation services is a national priority to support Burkina Faso’s continued economy growth—averaging 5.5 percent GDP growth annually—and that of its population—estimated to reach 29 million people by 2030 from the current 18 million.