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UNDP to assist Bulawayo avert challenges

Bulawayo mayor David Coltart appealed for assistance from UNDP at a meeting held last week.

THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has promised to assist the Bulawayo City Council and residents to avert numerous challenges they face, among them the critical water crisis rocking the city.

Bulawayo mayor David Coltart appealed for assistance from UNDP at a meeting held last week.

Coltart said there was an urgent need to resolve the critical water crisis the city is facing, among other challenges.

The challenges were highlighted during a panel discussion titled: Strengthening UNDP and Government of Zimbabwe Partnerships held in uMzingwane, Matabeleland South.

During his presentation, Coltart said the city’s current water level was at 35%.

“We are facing a critical water crisis in the city and so our first priority is to address the water crisis, we propose short-term measures to improve the capacity of the water that we have there already, around 35%,” Coltart said.

He also said the city was facing a problem with litter.

“The second priority is sanitation, we have eight sewage ponds, and they are working at an average of 20% capacity. We have a dreadful litter problem. We're working very hard to get a waste management system set up and the rehabilitation of our sewage ponds sitting widely,” he said.

Coltart said most of the large factories in the city had closed and were being used as churches or warehouses.

“The direct consequence of that is a massive transfer of people from the formal sector to the informal sector; let me say in particular that women are the most affected by this.

“We recently had a survey done, and it established that 64% of informal traders and vendors in our city are women. And many of them are single women, mothers, having to bear the brunt of the deindustrialisation of our city,” said Coltart.

In response, UNDP Zimbabwe resident representative Ayodele Odusola extended a hand of partnership in solving the challenges.

“There is need of transforming or migrating people from the informal to the formal market by creating good homes in communities; good homes that will be attractive enough for our entrepreneurs to work in, with electricity, water, toilets, even the law and order system to be in place,” Odusola said.

“You can count on us as a partner of choice because our mandate here is to work with the people at the head of Zimbabwe to achieve the national development aspiration.”

Odusola revealed that the UNDP had completed two dams, including Wanezi Dam in Insiza district, while targeting seven more by December this year.

The dam was constructed with the aim of mitigating the effects of El Nino as well as an adaptation strategy for the communities.


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