Zimbabwes National Action Committe on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene has developed a sanitation and hygiene strategy to accelerate access to sanitation and hygiene for the MDGSs
Ireen Mangoro of the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development (IWSD) says "the strategy puts in place key measures for sustained sanitation and hygeine service delivery in Zimbabwe in an effort to eliminate open defecation."
The strategy covering the period July 2011 to June 2015 is cast within the scope of the Zimbabwe government's MDGs and targets.
lt is intended for policy makers, implementers and development partners in the WASH sector and addresses the existing challenges that have impeded progress and in some cases contributed to significant reversal of sector gains.
The IWSD says that the strategy provides a framework for a sustainable sanitation and hygiene delivery system, minimum sanitation and hygiene standards, demand creation based on community management approaches for sustained elimination of open defecation and financing options for sustained service delivery.
IWSD says that for many years effecting safe sanitation in Zimbabwe was achieved through standardized technologies namely full water borne systems in urban areas and the ventilated improved latrine in rural areas.
The institute reports that while some measure of cost recovery was achieved for urban sanitation systems, until the national economic collapse, rural sanitation was heavily subidized by both government and donor supported programmes.
However, the sanitation sub-sector has been on the decline as evidenced by the decline from 54 per cent in 1990 to 30 per cent. It is reported that sanitation and hygiene issues have not received adequate attention in the WASH sector in Zimbabwe.
"Issues of hygiene education were not given priority in terms of financial allocations and implementation, " says an IWSD report.
Areas of major concern with regard to the continued decline in sanitation and hygiene in Zimbabwe include institutional capacity, capacity development, equity and inclusion, financing and subsidies, informal settlements, research and development, monitoring and evaluation, information and knowledge management, gender and other cross-cutting issues, sustainability, mitigation and adaptation including internal displacements.